WhatsApp Will Stop Working on Nokia Symbian, BlackBerry OS Phones on June 30

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WhatsApp will end support for BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10
  • Support for Nokia S40, and Nokia S60 platforms also dropped
  • Users can upgrade to a new device or platform to continue using WhatsApp

WhatsApp users still on handsets running the ageing BlackBerry OS and Nokia S40 and S60 platforms will not be able to use the popular messaging service after June 30. The Facebook-owned company will officially pull the plug on the dated Nokia Symbian software and the BlackBerry OS as July starts. This comes after WhatsApp delayed ending support for them by six months, from the original date of December 2016 to June 2017. The reason behind WhatsApp killing support for old Nokia and BlackBerry phones is that they don’t have the capabilities needed to add new features in the app.

The most widely used instant messaging app had last year announced that it will drop support for a few platforms. The company later extended the support until June 2017 after BlackBerry expressed its disappointment with WhatsApp’s decision to abandon the platform. Support for Android 2.2 Froyo, iOS 6, and Windows Phone 7 was ended by WhatsApp in December last year.

In its Support page, WhatsApp explains, “These platforms [Nokia S40, S60, and BlackBerry OS] don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future. If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer OS version, or to a newer Android running OS 2.3.3+, iPhone running iOS 7+, or Windows Phone 8+ so that you can continue using WhatsApp.”WhatsApp Will Stop Working on Nokia Symbian, BlackBerry OS Phones on June 30

Interestingly, the lack of support for the old Nokia Symbian phones is the reason WhatsApp will not work on the new Nokia 3310 feature phone. The Facebook-owned company has advised that anyone with the above-mentioned older platforms who want to keep chatting with friends via WhatsApp will need to upgrade to a newer operating system or a new device.

WhatsApp also clarifies that currently there’s no way users can transfer your chat history between platforms though the company will provide the option to send your chat history attached to an email, if requested by users. You can head to WhatsApp’s Support page to understand the steps.

WhatsApp had previously emphasised how much the market changed in the years since WhatsApp was launched in 2009. Recapping the market, the messaging service said that in 2009 Android and iOS platforms were running on less than 25 percent of the devices, while BlackBerry and Nokia’s operating systems dominated the market with roughly a 70 percent share. WhatsApp’s decision to pull the plug on Symbian and BlackBerry, however, recaps how the platforms have lost popularity.

Google Pushes Virtual Reality Harder With New Phones From Partners

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Huawei announced two phones that will work with Daydream View
  • Asus ZenFone AR will support both Daydream and Google’s Tango
  • Google has stressed that the programs do not overlap for now

Alphabet Inc’s Google quickened the pace of its push into virtual and augmented reality this week as its hardware partners announced new devices featuring the company’s technology at the CES electronics show in Las Vegas.

Google has been trying to position the vast network of smartphones running its Android operating system for virtual and augmented reality, known as VR and AR, fields that many in the technology industry say are poised to go mainstream after years of niche appeal.

Chinese manufacturer Huaweiannounced on Thursday that two of its phones will soon work with Daydream View, a VR headset released last year by Google. Meanwhile, Taiwanese manufacturer AsusTek Computer Inc announced that its ZenFone AR will support both Daydream and Google’s Tango software for AR, in which computer-generated content is overlaid on the real world.

While the announcements expand the line-up of participating phones, Google still has much to do to take its technology to the masses, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research, noting that Samsung Electronics Co, the largest Android manufacturer, has yet to sign on.

Google Pushes Virtual Reality Harder With New Phones From Partners

“Google’s ecosystem for both AR and VR is in the very early days,” he said.

As growth in the global smartphone market shows signs of slowing, some manufacturers are voicing optimism that AR and VR will revive consumer enthusiasm.

“This is the next wave of technology that is really going to get consumers excited about smartphones,” Erik Hermanson, Asus’s head of marketing for mobile products, said at the show.

 

But mainstream consumer interest in the technology remains largely unproven. Apps might be expected to stimulate demand, but until Google’s technology is available on a wider range of phones, it will be tough to persuade developers to build for the platform, analysts said.

“We are waiting for app developers to really use the platform for what it’s for,” Amit Singh, a vice president for VR at Google, told reporters.

In addition to supporting Daydream, Huawei said that it is exploring opportunities for Tango with Google. The Asus phone became the first to support both technologies.

Google has stressed that the programs do not overlap for now, but by pursuing both, the company can position itself for success regardless of whether AR or VR becomes a mainstream hit.

“By having options for both, they can cover the full potential market,” said analyst Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research.

 

Sony's move to focus on flagship Xperia phones could be good for it

Sony Mobile just announced on its Investor’s Day celebration that it is trying to streamline its product portfolio by eliminating ‘Premium Standard’ models like the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact.

Currently the company produces three separate lines of smartphones –  mid-range handsets like the Xperia XA1 Ultra and Xperia XA1, ‘Premium Standard’ models like the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact and flagship phones like the Xperia XZs and Xperia XZ Premium.

After eliminating budget smartphones last year, now the company has decided to further consolidate its line-up by eliminating smartphones that slot in between the mid-range and flagship categories.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

This is a very welcome move and points towards a more lean and focused Sony Mobile, which aims to take back the market share it has lost over the years to Samsung, Apple and Chinese OEM’s like OnePlus. Consolidating their line-up does not only make financial sense, but will also help the company reclaim brand value that has degraded over the years.

A confused and intimidating line-up is a problem that Sony Mobile has suffered for quite some time now. Sony found considerable success with the early iterations of the Xperia Z, but over time, the attention tapered off thanks to a combination of incremental updates, poor pricing policies and a six month cycle of new flagship smartphones.

The foundation is there for Sony Mobile to stage a grand comeback. The innovation is there, all the company needs to do is streamline their line-up and make sure they don’t cannibalise their own products.

Instead of following a sensible one-year update cycle for their flagship smartphones, Sony decided to release a new version every six months. This resulted in dilution of the Xperia brand as every subsequent flagship had only incremental updates and did not look much different to the general public.

While tech enthusiasts and tech journalists could understand the slight spec differences between the new and old handsets, it became quite difficult for the common man to distinguish between the many ‘Z’ handsets on sale.

Last year, Sony decided to revamp their entire smartphone line-up by ditching the ‘Z’ brand name and introducing a whole new series in the form of the Xperia X, Xperia X Compact and the Xperia X Performance.

While this move had the potential to usher in a revival, their gamble failed to take off as the X and X Performance failed to set the market on fire due to a myriad of reasons. Now, Sony seems to have settled on the ‘XZ’ brand name and both the Xperia XZ and XZ Premium have been received warmly by critics.

The decision to streamline the product line-up will dramatically help make Sony’s product range easier to understand for the layman and will also help Sony market its product in a much clearer and focused manner.

Sony’s smartphones have a lot going for them – excellent cameras, a unique industrial design that stands out from the competition, state of the art displays and a wholly unique location of the fingerprint sensor. The upcoming Xperia XZ Premium is a clear representation of Sony Mobile at their best, a clear distillation of everything that makes Sony unique and what they are good at – Imaging, displays and audio.

The foundation is there for Sony to stage a grand comeback in the smartphone market. The innovation and impetus is there, all the company needs to do is streamline their line-up and make sure they don’t cannibalise their own products.

A lean and focused Sony Mobile has the potential to take back the market share it has lost over the years to Samsung, Apple and Chinese OEM’s like OnePlus

With fresh rumours emerging that the company plans to release two new flagship handsets by the end of the year, the potential to confuse their line-up again is ripe for the picking. It would do Sony a world of good if they establish clear product lines like Samsung has done with the ‘S’ and ‘Note’ series, with systematic and timely updates to them once every year.

What the company needs to refrain from is flooding the market with a plethora of products that have little differences between them. This will alienate the mass audience and will dilute the strength of the Xperia brand.

The future looks bright for Sony Mobile. They seem to doing all the right things in order to reclaim lost market share. The new Xperia XA1 and Xperia XZ Premium are getting great reviews. The ball is in Sony’s court now, let’s see if they hit an ace or strike out with a double fault.