WhatsApp – the popular cross-platform mobile messaging app – has announced its intention to withdraw support for a range of mobile devices.
The list of affected handsets were largely older handsets such as the Nokia S40, the Nokia Symbian S60 and older mobile operating systems (OS) like Android 2.1, Android 2.2 and Windows Phone 7.1.
However, also among the list of withdrawn support were all BlackBerry devices, including those running on the current version of the proprietary OS BlackBerry 10.
WhatsApp said all of these devices had played an important part in its growth, but no longer offer the capabilities necessary to accommodate its planned feature updates in the future.
This comes in the wake of WhatsApp hitting two major milestones, as the service has reached seven years of age and now boasts one million regular users. Nearly one in seven of the world's entire population use WhatsApp each month to stay in touch with their friends, family members and loved ones.
The firm reflected on the fact that anniversary dates are also an opportunity to look back on past achievements. When WhatsApp was started in 2009, mobile device usage was very different to what it is today.
BlackBerry and Nokia accounted for around 70 per cent of all smartphones sold at the time and Apple's App Store was in its infancy – barely a few months old. Mobile OS devices that are now dominant – from Apple, Google and Microsoft – had a market share of less than 25 per cent of mobile devices, compared to their current rate of 99.5 per cent.
A statement from WhatsApp said: “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.”
The company also said that while it has reached one billion users, it has not deviated from its mission to help anyone keep in touch with family and friends, regardless of where they are in the world.
“Even as we celebrate this achievement, our focus remains the same. Every day, our team continues to work to improve WhatsApp's speed, reliability, security and simplicity. We're excited to see how far we've come. But now, it's back to work – because we still have another six billion people to get on WhatsApp and a long way left to go.”