WhatsApp is extending support for Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread until 2020, the Facebook-owned messaging service said Wednesday, having clarified its mobile solution will continue working on that particular version of Google's operating system until February 1 of that year. Unlike the vast majority of other communications app on the Play Store, WhatsApp goes above and beyond of what's expected of it in terms of software support, even though the build of its app targeting particularly old Android versions is somewhat limited in terms of functionalities.
WhatsApp's extensive support practices are a reflection of its inclusive business strategy that's also pursued by its parent and is believed to be a significant part of the reason why the service remains extremely popular in developing countries. Regardless, only a minor fraction of its total users benefit from that policy; according to Google's latest distribution figures published in early May, Gingerbread and older versions of the world's most popular operating system are presently running on approximately 0.3 percentage points of all active Android devices on the planet. Originally introduced in late 2010, Gingerbread will enjoy almost a decade worth of support from WhatsApp before the messaging platform moves its minimum requirements to Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich.
Facebook's communications solution is presently also supporting the Nokia S40, having previously said it will be retiring its product for that platform on December 31 of this year. The company recently faced scrutiny over its privacy practices due to its affiliation with Facebook but remains adamant that all user data it handles is perfectly safe. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in early 2014 for $19 billion, making it its largest purchase to date, though the company still isn't believed to be making a profit. CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently signaled WhatsApp will be monetized more aggressively starting with 2018, particularly in regards to its business-to-business features, though a peer-to-peer payments service is presently also in the works, being close to launching in India.