WhatsApp is stopping support for all Symbian, Nokia S40, BlackBerry phones. Phones running older versions of Windows, Android and iOS operating systems will also not be supported. The shutdown of the service for these devices and platforms will happen at the end of the year, December 2016. 2016 is the year smartphone shipments is predicted to overtake feature phone shipments in India. WhatsApp’s intentions to discontinue service on dying platforms were known since March, now we have a date.
For those holding out on using a smartphone, withdrawal of support of this service will be a harsh blow. WhatsApp is one of the most critical apps on Symbian S60 devices right now, along with maps, music player and email. It is one of the cheapest modes of communication available on these devices. WhatsApp offers end to end encryption on these feature phones as well. After December 2016, users who want to continue to use WhatsApp will be forced to upgrade to a device that supports a newer version of Windows, Android or iOS.
This will be a hard choice to make, especially for those who are using Symbian phones out of choice. Android, iOS and Windows are very complex operating systems compared to Symbian. The complications also mean exposure to more bugs and security concerns, which may be something a minority of users are not willing to compromise with. Faced with these choices, Windows Mobile is possibly the closest to Symbian.
WhatsApp is ending support on these platforms because of the changes in which operating systems are being used by most people. In 2009, when WhatsApp was launched, the dominating operating systems in the market were Symbian and BlackBerry. Since then, the situation has seen a dramatic change, with the emergence of Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. These older platforms are also no longer evolving, and WhatsApp has decided to stop supporting these operating systems as they do not support the features that WhatsApp intends to introduce.
BlackBerry 10 devices also will not be supported. This appears like an insult added to injury. Unlike the Symbian devices, BlackBerry 10 devices are still being made, although the US senate finds it hard to get its hands on one. This might not mean the end of WhatsApp for BlackBerry device users though, because BlackBerry may innovate their product lineup and start offering Android based BlackBerry devices. Unlike Symbian users, BlackBerry users will not have to choose a new company, although they will be getting a new operating system.
The blog post by WhatsApp announcing the end of support for these devices says “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.” WhatsApp has started sending notifications to users announcing the closure from December 2016, All About Symbian reports.
WhatsApp used to be a status app, one where a status would be shown next to the list of contacts. Apple launched push notifications along with the iPhone 3GS, and WhatsApp transformed into an instant messaging app. The users exploded to over 250,000 active users. WhatsApp was at that time, an iOS exclusive app. WhatsApp is now ending support on the very device that made it big.
Android users still on Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 will no longer be able to use WhatsApp. Windows phone users will have to upgrade beyond Windows Phone 7.1 to continue enjoying services. iOS 6 will not be supported, which will affect those Apple users who are holding back from updating the OS.
The devices that WhatsApp will no longer be supported are:
BlackBerry devices, Nokia Asha 201, Nokia Asha 205 Chat Edition, Nokia Asha 206, Nokia Asha 208, Nokia Asha 210, Nokia Asha 300, Nokia Asha 301, Nokia Asha 302, Nokia Asha 303, Nokia Asha 305, Nokia Asha 306, Nokia Asha 308, Nokia Asha 309, Nokia Asha 310, Nokia Asha 311, Nokia Asha 515, Nokia Asha 500, Nokia Asha 501, Nokia Asha 502, Nokia Asha 503, Nokia Asha 230, Nokia C3-00, Nokia C3-01, Nokia X2-01, Nokia X3-02, Nokia X2-00, Nokia X7, Nokia E6, Nokia N8, Nokia C6, Nokia C7, Nokia E7, Nokia 500, Nokia 600, Nokia 603, Nokia 700, Nokia 701, Nokia 808, Nokia 5800, Nokia 5530, Nokia 5230, Nokia 5233, Nokia 5235, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 mini, Nokia X6, Nokia X5-01, Nokia C6, Nokia C5-03, Samsung i8910 Omnia HD, Sony Ericsson Satio, Sony Ericsson Vivaz, Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro, Nokia 5700, Nokia 6110, Nokia 6120, Nokia 6121, Nokia 6124, Nokia 6700, Nokia 6290, Nokia E51, Nokia E63, Nokia E66, Nokia E71, Nokia E90 Communicator, Nokia N76, Nokia N81, Nokia N81 8GB, Nokia N82, Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8GB, Nokia 5320, Nokia 5630, Nokia 5730, Nokia 6210, Nokia 6220, Nokia 6650 fold, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 6720, Nokia 6730, Nokia 6760 Slide, Nokia 6790 Surge, Nokia C5, Nokia E52, Nokia E55, Nokia E72, Nokia E73, Nokia E75, Nokia E5, Nokia N78, Nokia N79, Nokia N85, Nokia N86 8MP, Nokia N96, Samsung GT-i8510, Samsung GT-I7110, Samsung SGH-L870, Samsung SGH-G810 and Samsung SGH-iNNN.