New York, Feb 29: Popular mobile messaging service WhatsApp will drop support for BlackBerry and Nokia devices by 2017 in order to push the Facebook-owned app’s growth, media reports said on Monday. WhatsApp’s announcement includes all BlackBerry phones, including those running on BlackBerry 10, the company’s latest operating system (OS) that was last shipped on a new phone less than a year and a half ago, the Verge reported.
The OS currently powers BlackBerry’s Android-powered Priv slider phone. Other phones to be hit by the WhatsApp decision include Nokia S40 and the Nokia Symbian S60 as well as the older Android 2.2 and Windows Phone 7.1 operating systems, it added.
“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,” the company wrote in a blog post.
“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,” it added.
The company recommended “upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone before the end of 2016 to continue using WhatsApp”. Nearly one billion people across the world are using the popular app with 42 billion messages being exchanged daily, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on February 2.
Founded by Ukrainian immigrants to America Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009, WhatsApp was acquired by social media giant Facebook for $19 billion in 2014.
“WhatsApp’s community has more than doubled since joining Facebook. We’ve added the ability for you to call loved ones far away. We’ve dropped the subscription fee and made WhatsApp completely free,” 31-year-old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had said in an earlier post.
Despite not being able to charge its hundreds of millions of users the annual fee, WhatsApp said it would not subject its users to advertisements. (IANS)