WhatsApp stops working in older versions of Android, iPhones

Impact will be minimal in India, Blackberry users will be hit

WhatsApp stops working in older versions of Android, iPhones

Mobile chat application WhatsApp has taken its biggest dive yet. Since Monday evening, the massively popular chat platform has stopped working in old Android phones with the Froyo version and earlier. Those Apple iPhone 3GS users with iOS6 and Windows 7 phone users can also say goodbye to WhatsApp.

So, how will this impact smartphone consumers in India, where WhatsApp’s user-base has reached dizzy heights? Minimal, say industry analysts. “Only about 0.5% of Android users in India have smartphones with version 2.2 Froyo. Most users have Icecream Sandwich version or higher,” tech analyst and startup mentor, Shakthi Vadakkepat told DH.

But those who had bought an Android phone four years ago and have not upgraded will feel the pinch. So will Blackberry users, although a WhatsApp blog update said support for BlackBerry 10 would be extended till June 30, 2017.

WhatsApp has its reasons to get rid of those old phones: Deeper integration of end-to-end encryption and other privacy services so that chat messages are not read by third parties. Shakthi explained, “The intention is to ensure that peer-to-peer communication is ecrypted at the device level itself.”

The message to the old handset owners is clear: Dispose them, and graduate to a newer, better smartphone. To explain its rationale, WhatsApp had this blog post explaining that it was putting an even greater emphasis on security features. This, the post said, would require a more advanced operating system. The chat app had recently launched a video-calling feature.

Edit sent messages
Another key objective of the WhatsApp move is to allow major updates to enhance the overall experience. One such update being readied for a 2017 release is a feature that allows a user to edit or entirely delete a message even after it is sent.

Details are yet to be out, but analysts say the sent message could keep refreshing once in a while to display the edited version. The feature is likely to follow the pattern of Facebook statuses that can be edited. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp made such sharing of infrastructure simpler.
 

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