Instant messaging application WhatsApp over the weekend announced plans to discontinue support for several older and fringe smartphone mobile platforms.
In a blog post titled ‘WhatsApp support for mobile devices’, the instant messaging service said it plans to kill support for its app on the following mobile platforms by the end of 2016: BlackBerry (including BlackBerry 10), Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 and Windows Phone 7.1.
READ: WhatsApp to kill support for BlackBerry, Nokia
WhatsApp said that 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 move comes as Samsung and Apple dominate the global smartphone market which each respectively have a 22.5% and 15.9% share.
READ: Dismay over WhatsApp ditching BlackBerry, Nokia
One Fin24 user, Andre, wrote that BlackBerry 10 users in particular may still be able to use WhatsApp. This is because BlackBerry 10 allows the download of Android apps.
Last year, BlackBerry switched on the Android Amazon store for its BlackBerry 10 users.
“In your article about WhatsApp killing support for Nokia and BlackBerry devices you make no mention of the fact that BlackBerry 10 supports the Android app. I now downloaded the Android version on my BlackBerry Leap and it works perfectly. I see in the comments that a lot of BB10 users are worried so I think you should write another article explaining that they have nothing to worry about. BlackBerry 10 OS is fantastic and I hope that BlackBerry will not abandon it totally but such articles in the media do not help. Rather assist users by informing them they just need to download the Android version.”
Fin24 user Martin expressed concern over WhatsApp discontinuation plans.
“I am retired and use a Nokia Symbian S60 phone, my wife has a Blackberry Z10. We cannot afford to purchase new phones just to use WhatsApp quess we will have to revert to SMS's and multimedia again!”
Fin24 user D said WhatsApp’s move could impact on many South Africans:
“Hi, I don’t use a smartphone and use WhatsApp for affordability as do many south Africans who are not able to afford expensive smartphones and data plans. I know that I can communicate with my family, friends and staff who are all on older phones as well. I think this will affect many South Africans. I will revert to SMS as I will not upgrade and nor will any of my staff. People who can afford upgrades can afford alternatives to WhatsApp – the people who will be hardest hit are those who can’t afford it!“