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February 29, 2016

WhatsApp Ends Support for BlackBerry Devices

There are a few pretty reliable ways to judge a company’s performance in the competitive mobile space. The most obvious, of course, is market share, but another very important metric is apps. Without the most popular apps, a mobile platform is pretty much confined to irrelevance—just ask Windows Phone, which has been plagued by criticism from day one for having a lacking app market.

As such, it’s understandable that many are interpreting the news that WhatsApp is ending support for BlackBerry devices—including classic BBOS phones as well as more recent devices sporting BB10—as a death knell for the mobile platform.

The truth is, the situation has been dire for the Canadian smartphone maker for some time now. It currently sits at roughly one percent of a market it once dominated, but the rise of the iPhone and Android devices from Samsung have left little room for other manufacturers, save for the Chinese brands that rose to international prominence last year.

For WhatsApp, this is nothing more than a shrewd and necessary move to save resources by stopping development for all-but-defunct platforms. Aside from BlackBerry and BlackBerry 10, WhatsApp is also ending support for Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Windows Phone 7.1 and Android devices running version 2.2 or earlier. WhatsApp also says these platforms are too limited to handle upcoming features for the mobile messaging app.

“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,” said WhatsApp on its official blog. “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. If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone before the end of 2016 to continue using WhatsApp.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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