In a blog post, WhatsApp celebrated its seventh birthday and did a little early spring cleaning at the same time. In addition to announcing that it will end support for BlackBerry devices (all of them, including BlackBerry 10) the company also announced Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1 and 2.2, and Windows Phone 7.1 will also get the axe.
The devices “don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,” the blog posts says. “This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.”
WhatsApp recommends users upgrade to a new device in order to continue using its messaging service.
You might think losing one app isn’t a big deal, but this is WhatsApp we’re talking about here. The Facebook-owned messaging app has more than 900 million users and over 10 billion messages are sent through it every day. BlackBerry isn’t losing some small fry app, it’s losing a behemoth.
The news is the latest kick in the pants for BlackBerry, a company that once commanded about 70% of the smartphone market seven years ago, and now has under 1% according to Garnter’s latest research.
After rebranding itself from Research In Motion (RIM) to BlackBerry in 2013 and failing to launch any compelling BlackBerry devices running BlackBerry 10, the Waterloo-based company is now embracing Android.
The recent BlackBerry Priv, a slider phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard hidden beneath its screen and full support for Android apps, is a step in the right direction. Mashable chief correspondent Lance Ulanoff called the Priv “the best BlackBerry in a decade” in his review.
Although BlackBerry says it will remain committed to BlackBerry 10, the writing is on the wall. Android is the company’s future.
Sure, there’s still 10 months left before WhatsApp shuts it down for these platforms, but do you want to be using a ticking time bomb? If you’re still clinging onto a BlackBerry and use WhatsApp or use one of the aforementioned Nokia, old Android and Windows Phone 7.1 platforms, it might be time to consider upgrading to a new device.
Video: Rill Causey, Noah Throop
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