Facebook’s WhatsApp to End Support of Older Phones

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Facebook, Inc popular messenger service WhatsApp will end support for older mobile devices beginning in 2017.

The seven-year-old company, acquired for $19 billion by Facebook several years ago, wants to put a greater emphasis security features and offer more ways for its users to stay in touch with their contacts. To that end, the company won’t pour resources to support smartphones lacking in security capabilities or perceived as limited in terms of communication features.

“As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use,” the company said in a blog post. The list of phones and mobile operating systems that won’t make the cut in 2017 include BlackBerry Limited’s BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10 phones. The Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60 by Nokia Inc. also didn’t pass for support. What’s said users of those platforms have until June 30, 2017, to update.

Although WhatsApp didn’t mention certain devices by name, the company is also ending support for Alphabet, Inc.’s Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 operating system. This means, any mobile device running either of these versions of Android will need to upgrade to a more recent OS if users want to use WhatsApp. Likewise, Apple, Inc.’s iPhone 3GS and iOS 6 won’t be supported. And neither Windows Phone 7 by Microsoft Corporation

“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 explained.

All told, given that the app is now used by more than one billion people worldwide, millions of devices will be impacted by this change. But given the increased importance of mobile device security, particularly as with respect to mobile payments and home automation, it’s hard to argue with the company’s decision.