Smartphone software development is a numbers game, and coders want to be sure that the effort they put in to making apps is going to pay off. That’s exactly why we talk about the “app gap” between platforms, as devs preferentially prepare software for the most popular operating systems – at the expense of those that don’t have quite as large user bases. It turns out this practice is just as important for software maintenance as it is for initial development, and while an app may have once been available for a certain platform, the migration of users to its peers can cause devs to change their priorities. That’s just what’s happening now for WhatsApp, as the incredibly popular messaging service gets ready to drop support for some legacy platforms.
WhatsApp has been around long enough to see the mobile landscape shift significantly, and as it looks to stay focused on the most relevant development pursuits going forward, that’s going to mean cutting things off for platforms that have become yesterday’s news.
By the end of the year, WhatsApp Messenger support will vanish for Windows Phone 7.1, Android 2.1 and 2.2, Nokia Symbian S60, and Nokia S40 platforms.
Those all make enough sense for dropping support, especially where there are clear pathways towards upgrading to more modern OS versions. But there’s one more OS family about to lose WhatsApp support, and it may be a controversial one: BlackBerry – and that includes BlackBerry 10.
We know, with BlackBerry itself embracing Android as strongly as it is, maybe that shouldn’t be so surprising – and it’s not like these users don’t have plenty of other messaging options, including BBM – but there’s a good chunk of BlackBerry loyalists who may find this news particularly hard to swallow. Sorry, guys; the world’s just moving on.