The mobile operating system space has been ruled by the two-headed monster of iOS and Android for years, with Android oftentimes seeming dominant, and iOS nonetheless having a huge market share thanks to the iPhone. And with that in mind, it would appear that WhatsApp will be ending support for several less-than-popular operating systems, including BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7.1.
The good thing, Windows Phone users, is that Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile will still be supported, but if you own a phone running on Windows Phone 7.1, Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, or BlackBerry operating systems, WhatsApp will no longer support those devices by the end of 2016. You won’t be able to use the service either if you’re on an archaic Android phone, as WhatsApp is also cutting support for Android 2.1 and 2.2.
“When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today,” read a statement issued this weekend. “The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia. Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 percent of sales today – were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold at the time. As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use.”
In addition, WhatsApp added that the mobile devices running on the aforementioned operating systems don’t “offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future.”
This may come about as bad news for users from certain emerging markets, where Nokia still has a slightly decent share of the market and many users are using the company’s older platforms. But on a business sense, WhatsApp’s move should come as little surprise, as it wants to focus on the two real mainstays of the mobile OS space.