Users may or may not be aware that from this year, WhatsApp will no longer be supported on BlackBerry phones with the Blackberry operating system (OS 10 included). The announcement was made last year on the seventh anniversary of WhatsApp and as much as the move did not look viable at the time in my opinion, it didn’t change anything.
The announcement initially put the timeline at the “end of 2016”, but the blog post was later updated to reflect a grace period until the end of June 2017. As was highlighted in the announcement:
UPDATE: WhatsApp is extending support for BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60 until June 30, 2017.
Some people had jumped on the BlackBerry smartphone wagon because of this promise of an extension. But in a new twist, it seems the messaging platform is ending support nearly 6 months earlier than expected.
The first indicator was a tweet that showed a non-functional WhatsApp on the Blackberry 10 with a message to the user telling them the app was no longer supported on the phone and advising a switch to a supported device.
— H&M Nigeria. (@HM_Ngr) January 18, 2017
Further investigations revealed that a lot of people have been facing this similar challenge and most of them are users on the Blackberry 10 operating system.
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) January 18, 2017
Interestingly, there seems to be a divide as nearly half of the error messages for the people I talked to went away when the app was updated. But another half of the number did not find any updates and have been unable to use WhatsApp on their phones.
It is still unclear if this is a glitch in the system or a 6-month early withdrawal. Blackberry’s latest bullish attempts at recovering a foothold in the smartphone manufacturing industry makes the latter more likely.
On the other hand, this is in negation with a move to keep the Blackberry 10 operating system alive despite a play for the android market. Because how do you sustain an operating system without the biggest chat app on the planet?
With self-driving cars as one of its most recent plays, Blackberry has been really bullish about staying relevant. But being dropped by WhatsApp 6 months before schedule may not augur well for its long term plans.