In February 2016, WhatsApp celebrated its seventh birthday. But the positive atmosphere didn’t last long. Only a couple days later, the company announced that their app will no longer run devices running on operating systems from Blackberry and Nokia. The bright side – if you can call it that – to this news is that the discontinuation is not immediate. Blackberry users who love using WhatsApp on their devices can continue to do so until the end of the year. By 2017, there will no longer be any support for the app OS’s from Blackberry and Nokia.
Adding further blow to Blackberry is Facebook’s announcement that it would drop support for Blackberry’s OS. It should be noted that WhatsApp is owned by Facebook so the move shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, disappointment was indeed felt at Blackberry.
A spokesperson for Blackberry wrote on the company’s official blog: “We are extremely disappointed in their decision as we know so many users love these apps. We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time, their decision stands.”
With both WhatsApp and Facebook withdrawing support for Blackberry, where does that leave users?
Android on Blackberry
Although Blackberry expressed disappointment when WhatsApp and Facebook dropped support for their OS, the company has ventured into the use of Android for their devices. The company’s latest product is the Priv slider phone which is powered by Android. This makes you wonder whether Blackberry’s mobile operating system is headed for failure. After all, the Facebook app is consistently a must-have app for any mobile device and its withdrawal of support for Blackberry is such a huge blow.
But Blackberry users with Android-powered devices can of course run Android version of popular apps. It’s the segment of Blackberry users using the Blackberry OS that would be in trouble if they tend to use WhatsApp a lot.
About a year and a half ago, Blackberry shipped a new phone with the Blackberry 10 OS. While WhatsApp will definitely not be supported on this operating system come 2017, users running this OS are quite lucky. Why would that be the case?
Well, the Blackberry 10 supports Android apps. But in a strange twist, these can be downloaded from the Amazon app store. So if you’re a user planning to purchase a Blackberry, this latest offering might be the best choice.
Blackberry users who are running older OS’s than Blackberry 10 might have no choice but to move on. And if you belong to the group who loves social media, accessing Facebook can still be done through a browser. The downside to this is you won’t get a great user experience.
But since Blackberry is catered for the corporate market, it wouldn’t seem like too much of an issue that both WhatsApp and Facebook will no longer be supported in less than a year’s time.
WhatsApp’s withdrawal of support for devices running on Blackberry OS is definitely a blow. But it’s an understandable move given that most apps these days are run on devices powered by Android or iOS. But while support has been discontinued, all hope is not lost as those planning to use a Blackberry can still rely on the latest OS, Blackberry 10, or purchase the company’s Android-powered smartphone.