In view of WhatsApp’s announcement to withdraw support for a number of smartphones running on older software versions, the mobile phone shops in Qatar have been inundated with queries from worried smartphone users.

WhatsApp, which is owned by social media giant Facebook announced a couple of days back that it would no longer be offering support for a number of older smartphone models by the end of this year. The messaging app will no longer be supported for Windows Phone 7, Android 2.1/2.2 and iPhone 3GS/iOS 6 after December 31. Same is the case with all BlackBerry phones, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60, the support for which will be withdrawn after June next year.

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“Ever since WhatsApp made the announcement we have been receiving numerous calls on a daily basis from certainly worried smartphone users asking whether their smartphones will be affected by the announcement”, said the proprietor of a leading mobile phone shop here in Doha.

Apparently the decision was taken by WhatsApp as it believes that olde smartphone models can no longer keep up with the latest features that the company unveils periodically.

“Most of queries we have received so far have come from expats, who are not that tech savvy and at the same time rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their families back in their native countries”, said a sales man of another mobile shop. Many expats have physically visited our shop with their phones to make sure their phones were not affected by the said withdrawal of support, he added.

Similarly, mobile phone vendors at hypermarkets such as Lulu too have been receiving the same queries from smartphone users as many people are not aware of the models that WhatsApp will stop supporting.

“People should check if their phone is mentioned the in list released by WhatsApp and proceed accordingly, if their phone is in the list then they should upgrade to a newer model smartphone to avoid any inconvenience”, he added.

The vendor was quick to add that this announcement will not lead to massive rise in the sale of latest smartphones as most people already use smartphones that will continue to support WhatsApp. The number of people whose smartphones will be affected by this support withdrawal is not that substantial and as such there will be no skyrocketing of smartphone sales.

Reflecting the same view, an official of Ooredoo stated that most people in Qatar would continue to enjoy WhatsApp services without any hassles as most of them are already using the latest operating system.

The official was quick to add that expatriates must ensure their families back home were also using a smartphone that runs on the latest software version.