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WhatsApp To End Support For BlackBerry, Nokia, and Other Older Operating Systems (whatsapp.com) 188

nerdyalien writes: While everybody is immersed in the Apple vs. FBI case, WhatsApp has posted a blog entry that could potentially alter the mobile landscape as we know it today. By the end of 2016, WhatsApp will no longer support many older mobile operating systems from BlackBerry, Nokia, Android and Windows Phone. Moving forward, WhatsApp will only support the latest and greatest iPhone, Android and Windows Phone platforms. With over 1 billion active users, and the backing of Facebook, is WhatsApp finally reducing the mobile landscape to a three-horse race ?
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WhatsApp To End Support For BlackBerry, Nokia, and Other Older Operating Systems

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  • 3 horse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @11:16AM (#51608155)

    With over 1 billion active users, and the backing of Facebook, is WhatsApp finally reducing the mobile landscape to a three-horse race ?

    Seriously Windows phone is less than 3%. The only thing keeping it in the vicinity of relevant is the money that Microsoft spends marketing it.

    • by bigpat ( 158134 )

      And even BlackBerry has dropped Blackberry OS in favor of their flavor of Android.

    • Re:3 horse? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @12:19PM (#51608603) Homepage
      Seriously Windows phone is less than 3%. The only thing keeping it in the vicinity of relevant is the money that Microsoft spends marketing it.

      I know that I couldn't care less how many other people use Windows Phone. I use it because it's a better product.
      • by bigpat ( 158134 )

        Seriously Windows phone is less than 3%. The only thing keeping it in the vicinity of relevant is the money that Microsoft spends marketing it.

        I know that I couldn't care less how many other people use Windows Phone. I use it because it's a better product.

        Sure, I use Linux because it is a better desktop OS than Windows, but I wouldn't call its less than 2% market share a "horse race" with Windows.

        • Re:3 horse? (Score:4, Funny)

          by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @01:07PM (#51608937) Homepage

          Sure, I use Linux because it is a better desktop OS than Windows, but I wouldn't call its less than 2% market share a "horse race" with Windows.

          In other words, Linux is just as irrelevant on the desktop as Windows is on mobile? Them's fighting words - well nerd rage words - here, I'll get the popcorn.

    • Even if you regard that third horse as barely in the race (which it is, it's already more of a two-horse race as you point out):

      Regarding the question, "is WhatsApp finally reducing the mobile landscape to a three-horse race ?" - No, they aren't. Because that would require it to be more than a three-horse race currently. It isn't. It's barely even more than a two-horse race.

    • Re:3 horse? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <been_out_cruisin ... NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday February 29, 2016 @03:27PM (#51610013) Homepage Journal

      The world is not homogenous. In many areas, Windows Phone's market share is far higher than its global average. A lot of those areas are also areas of very high WhatsApp usage, so it makes sense that the company would want to keep that market.

      When I was in India for a couple weeks last year, I saw more Windows phones than iPhones (according to an admittedly old article [indiatimes.com] - 2013 - iOS has only a 2.3% market share in India, Android has 91%, Windows Phone has 5.4%). Based on what I saw last year, Windows Phone and iOS has probably both made gains there - if you have more recent statistics, it'd be interesting to see them - but Windows Phone more than iOS. Another example where WP market share exceeds its global average (even though, unlike India, it's still only in third place) is Europe last year: 10.1% across UK, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy [neowin.net].

      In the case of Europe, some of that is probably brand loyalty to Nokia, even though they were already owned by Microsoft at that point (although if that were the case, I'd expect northern Europe - especially Finland - to feature in the list). In the case of India, it's simpler: low-end Windows phones are nearly as cheap as low-end Android phones (you can get a Windows phone, new, contract-free, and SIM-unlocked, for $50 even in the US if you know where to look, or a bit less if you don't mind previous-generation hardware) but are much more functional. A Lumia 520 - one of the lowest of the low when it comes to Windows Phone devices - is still supported and can be upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile. This on a handset that launched as a minimum-specs WP8.0 device in 2013 and available on Amazon.com for $40 new. An equivalent Android phone would have been lucky to get the first major OS upgrade (8.0 to 8.1, for Windows Phone), or even be hardware-compatible with the second.

    • With over 1 billion active users, and the backing of Facebook, is WhatsApp finally reducing the mobile landscape to a three-horse race ?

      Seriously Windows phone is less than 3%. The only thing keeping it in the vicinity of relevant is the money that Microsoft spends marketing it.

      While that's true, if Whatsapp supports Windows 10 Mobile, that enables them to have an app for Windows 10 w/ minimal coding changes.

      But I'm fine w/ them dropping Windows Phone support of earlier versions

  • Is the submitter claiming that WhatsApp retroactively killed Blackberry's market share with its decision to end support for the Blackberry platform now?

  • So they've removed their own horse from the race.
    • They have one Android handset and continue to sell devices with BB10 and BBOS. They have customers that continue to demand BBOS and BB10.

      • Existing Blackberry customers will see the Priv for what it is - end of life for BB10.
        • Existing Blackberry customers will see the Priv for what it is - end of life for BB10.

          Consumer yes. But don't underestimate that number of handsets that BlackBerry provides in the military, government, finance and healthcare industries. They have many customers that are only with them because of their secure mobile OS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ed Tice ( 3732157 )
      I'm a huge Blackberry fan and I'm actually excited about a Priv (once I can get one for less than $700 that is) There are two great things about the Blackberry Q devices. The keyboard and the hub. If you haven't ever used Blackberry Hub you don't know what your missing. Kind of like somebody who has never had air conditioning. It used to be that Android security was too weak to build anything actually secure. (Give an app every permission it wants or don't install it). That's no longer the case. Sin
      • by johanw ( 1001493 )

        Like "universal inbox"? Meh, never liked that idea.

        • I'm not sure if you are using the phrase universal inbox generically or referring to the product by that name. A screenshot of the Blackberry Hub is here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] Right now I'm using iPhone and to verify whether or not I have any unhandled action items, I first open the mail app for corporate mail. Then gmail app. Yes I get work emails that way now and again, but not for any good reason. Then the Facebook App. Then SMS/MMS. Then Google Voice. Then regular voice mail. With
  • Another "messaging" app that somehow messages differently than regular text messages? Somehow, I doubt that their target market of dim-witted 10 year old kids is going to decide which phone OS's continue into the future.
    • Re:WhatsApp? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fph il quozientatore ( 971015 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @11:28AM (#51608245) Homepage
      Whatsapp is extremely popular in Europe, where text messages are often billed separately on phone accounts. Most people I know use it, whether they are 10, 30, or 50.
    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Another "messaging" app that somehow messages differently than regular text messages? Somehow, I doubt that their target market of dim-witted 10 year old kids is going to decide which phone OS's continue into the future.

      In a lot of markets (EG South America) WhatsApp is used by the majority of mobile users due to the pricing of text messages vs pure data because most people in the world don't have unlimited text messages in their plans. So I think you need to revise your opinion of the WhatsApp target market to reflect that other people face situations different than your own and as such have different motivations to use things like WhatsApp.

      • by dj245 ( 732906 )

        Another "messaging" app that somehow messages differently than regular text messages? Somehow, I doubt that their target market of dim-witted 10 year old kids is going to decide which phone OS's continue into the future.

        In a lot of markets (EG South America) WhatsApp is used by the majority of mobile users due to the pricing of text messages vs pure data because most people in the world don't have unlimited text messages in their plans. So I think you need to revise your opinion of the WhatsApp target market to reflect that other people face situations different than your own and as such have different motivations to use things like WhatsApp.

        It is also great in locations where there is wifi but no or spotty cell service. I rode around on a mexican-flagged ship for a couple weeks in the Gulf of Mexico. Whatsapp was extremely popular with the crew. The wifi was unreliable and slow, but text and voice messages on WhatsApp went through fine most of the time. It fills a need, so therefore people use it.

        Many of these services are somewhat regional. As another example, Line is very popular in Asia and some other regions, but almost unheard of i

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        The shit-faces such as the GP don't know or care about anyone not in the their little bubble. I use WhatsApp to communicate with family, all of whom live overseas. I have practically unlimited data (20GB/month, never used more than a couple), and unlimited free SMS, but not internationally. WhatsApp is a better messaging app than the native SMS app anyway. I can send images and video without any problems. In contrast, MMS is a pain to set up and it's not always compatible across carriers.

    • Another "messaging" app that somehow messages differently than regular text messages?

      "Regular" text messages suck because they are linked to a cell phone number. Better messaging solutions can work on any platform (including an internet-connected PC or tablet) and do not rely on having to reply on a crappy cell phone keyboard while I sit 10 hours / day in front of a full PC keyboard.

      Whatsapp suck too because it is still linked to a phone number.

      • by johanw ( 1001493 )

        Even better message services don't store the message on a single server ready to harvest for any hacker or 3-letter criminal organisation.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      Hopefully you will choke to death on your smugness.

    • Yes it is different than regular text messages, in that it allows photos, videos, messages longer than 160 characters etc. Oh and voice calling (VoIP). It's basically like iMessage + FaceTime, but not restricted to iOS only. Most people I know use their 'native' messaging (iMessage or Android equivalents) first, but fall back to WhatsApp to message those with a different type of phone.

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @11:29AM (#51608251) Homepage

    WhatsApp doesn't need to do anything. Reality has already reduced mobile to a two-horse race.

  • by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @11:30AM (#51608253) Homepage Journal

    WhatsApp's claim to fame originally was its ability to run on virtually anything, including the J2ME phones popular in the US and Europe in the mid-2000s. Those phones at least were still prevalent in many African and middle-eastern countries just a couple of years ago.

    Have these markets also developed such that they are basically Android or iOS now?

    • With fully capable Android phones dropping below $10, Android is very much the smartphone OS that powers the developing world. There will always be holdouts who use dumbphones, but I'm guessing they represent a tiny percentage of WhatsApp users which is growing smaller literally by the day.
      • by greenfruitsalad ( 2008354 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @01:12PM (#51608991)

        you Merkins are so removed from reality...

        when were you last in africa? battery life is the #1 deciding factor for a phone, most people have sporadic access to sporadic power. apart from middle class, people don't respond to text messages via text messages but by ringing the sender once or twice for yes/no. i've seen this being quite elaborate - pauses, longer+shorter rings, etc. the biggest banks in africa are partnering with mobile phone operators because there was risk M-Pesa (and its various localised versions) would become the de-facto currency of the continent. people simply pay each other by transferring call credit. there is very little use for smartphones outside of richer circles in bigger cities (with supporting infrastructure).

        • by johanw ( 1001493 )

          Morse code reinvented. :-)

          • by flink ( 18449 )

            In my youth as a latch-key kid in the eighties before caller ID, my parents used a code when calling us: ring three times, hang up, wait 20 seconds, and call again. If we didn't hear that ring pattern, we weren't to pick up the phone when home alone.

        • by gaiageek ( 1070870 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @01:33PM (#51609181) Homepage

          you Merkins are so removed from reality...

          I'm speaking from having just spent the past month in Central America, riding the hot and cramped local buses and seeing people using almost exclusively Android smartphones (still some dumbphones). Is that what you call "so far removed from reality"? Regarding Africa, like I said, there will always be hold outs for whatever reason (battery life, simplicity, durability), but what you describe isn't really relevant to the topic, which is WhatsApp no longer being supported on older devices. Those people using missed calls for replies aren't even using the data connection on their phone, so they're not exactly going to be affected by WhatsApp not being supported on them, are they?

    • WhatsApp's claim to fame originally was its ability to run on virtually anything, including the J2ME phones popular in the US and Europe in the mid-2000s.

      I'm not so sure about that. ICQ had a J2ME client before Whatsapp. The unique feature it had at the time was how easy it was to set up - it used the phone number and IMEI to authenticate, no user name or password to remember, and the contacts in the phone book automatically become Whatsapp contacts.

    • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @01:47PM (#51609255)

      Have these markets also developed such that they are basically Android or iOS now?

      No. At least certainly not a "modern" Android phone. You can still buy an Android 2.1 phone, for instance. This is a bunch of Silicon Valley people unable to see that their own experience and situation is rare.

  • by Jonah Hex ( 651948 ) <{hexdotms} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday February 29, 2016 @11:40AM (#51608335) Homepage Journal

    Moving forward, WhatsApp will only support the latest and greatest iPhone, Android and Windows Phone platforms.

    They didn't say that, they are actually supporting older versions, just not REALLY old versions

    So, by the end of 2016, we will be ending support for WhatsApp Messenger on the following mobile platforms:
    Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
    Windows Phone 7.1

    • Virtual +1 informative.

    • Please, someone mod this higher. Android 2.1 and 2.2 represent a tiny fraction of the Android phones in use. According to Google (http://developer.android.com/intl/es/about/dashboards/index.html) 2.2 is about 0.1% and 2.1 is surely lower.
      So this will be annoying to those running Android =2.2 but hardly relevant in the great scheme.
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @11:46AM (#51608381) Homepage

    ... that is so complex that a simple messaging app can't support older versions of an OS? All it does is send text and picture data which AFAIK was supported by phones 10 years ago before smart phones even came on the market. So WTF excuse can they come up with that sounds genuine?

    "they don't offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app's features in the future."

    Oh riiiight. So they can't be bothered to continue current support even though it means NO EFFORT on their part. They just want everyone to see the New Shiny when it comes out. Idiots.

  • by grimmjeeper ( 2301232 ) on Monday February 29, 2016 @11:51AM (#51608415) Homepage

    With over 1 billion active users, and the backing of Facebook, is WhatsApp finally reducing the mobile landscape to a three-horse race ?

    This summary is entirely backwards. The mobile market is already a 2 horse race (with Windows phone only still on the track because of the insane money Microsoft has poured into it). WhatsApp is only responding to that fact, not driving it. There is no point in them supporting outdated products with < 1% of the market and no future. WhatsApp support (or lack thereof now) will have absolutely zero impact on the market.

    • You do realize you're defining the needs of the 1 by how 99 other people (people they don't know and will likely never meet) are choosing to satisfy different needs until different circumstances?

      "The" market isn't just how 99 people satisfy their needs, it's how all 100 people satisfy their needs. In a good market, all 100 people achieve satisfaction.

      "The" market as viewed through the corporate lens of WhatsApp is a different thing, of course.

      In some aspects of my life, I'm part of the 99, in other aspects

  • WhatsApp is forcing older OS owners to move to Telegram.

  • I haven't loaded the Facebook app on my phone, and do not want the app for this either. Because it is Facebook-owned. And the privacy issues have already been reported a couple of years back (see e.g. the Wikipedia article).

    In fact, I have the data on my phone turned off most of the time. No need for $HANDSET_COMPANY to spy on me and drain my batteries.

    Also, no need for constant interruptions.

    I just tell my friends that want me to also use it No. They can send me whatever via good old e-mail, etc. Will g

  • Sort of, if you live in some third-world banana republic where MMS is outrageously expensive, but for the rest of the civilized world can I get a resounding "Who gives a shit?".

    No one in the real world uses this crap. Can you imagine if you told your boss you were going to send him a "WhatsApp" after the meeting? Or tell your girlfriend you're going to "WhatsApp" her where to meet for dinner. Maybe you can "Sextapp" her too while she's at work.

    No, in the real world we use SMS and MMS, email, and at least

    • In my work we use WhatsApp for internal communication. SMS doesn't allow for group conversations, nor does it confirm messages are received by all parties. And, of course, iMessage is iPhone-only. Plus, there's a browser interface (so I don't have to actually type into my phone.) I'm no schill for WhatsApp, I'd be just as happy using any other app that has these features..but there is a potential place for it that's a step up from SMS.
    • by jimbo ( 1370 )

      I live in North America now but I have lived and worked in three different countries. Staying in touch with friends Internationally is free on internet based messaging apps, not so with SMS and MMS I assure you. I use Skype, WhatsApp and Google Hangouts depending on what my contacts prefer.

      BTW: You use Skype but think WhatsApp is for kids - they do the same things...

    • You must live in a very different world than me. You said it yourself - people use iMessage. Well WhatsApp is basically like iMessage + FaceTime, but cross-platform. How is that not useful? There are alternatives out there but I've worked in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK and WhatsApp is the closest thing out there to a 'standard' app for this kind of stuff. With over a billion users people are more likely to have it than any other messaging app.

      SMS and MMS work but they are not as secure or reliable

  • While as a Blackberry fan I'm always sorry to see a company cease BB support, this won't matter too much. The Amazon app store carries WhatsApp, and BB10 devices can install Android apps through the Amazon store as easily as native apps.
  • They stop supporting me (Blackberry 10) so I stop supporting them. Not to mention they're not truly secure, vulnerable to the USA's increasingly lunatic and overreaching legislative, executive and judicial branches and value ad revenue over a paid subscription. Besides, it's become increasingly apparent that any centrally-controlled system, (creating a unique account on yet-another-walled-garden command-and-control server), is becoming obsolete in favour of distributed systems like Ricochet.im. WhatsApp i
  • This is quite ironic, given that the Whatsapp acquisition was purportedly worth $22B for the very reason that it would run on the oldest J2ME featurephones used by Masai warriors and Tibetan monks at the corners of the earth.

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