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    I had a Nokia N9 way back; it was a great phone, I really liked the hardware and UI. Probably the best phone I’ve owned.

    But … it didn’t run WhatsApp, and all my friends/coworkers were in these WhatsApp groups and I was always missing out on all the jokes or spontaneous “let’s go grab a beers”. Turns out that in the end, that was much more important to me than having a really great phone.

    I don’t think I’m unique in this regard, and this will be a major show-stopper for many when considering an alternative to Android/iOS.

    The situation is really frustrating, but also not something you can do a whole lot about as an individual :-(

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      I don’t think I’m unique in this regard, and this will be a major show-stopper for many when considering an alternative to Android/iOS.

      No, most certainly not. WhatsApp has become so ubiquitous, that living with and without it results in two different worlds. I once saw a magazine article, where they listed 20-something kinds of popular whatsapp groups, and after a few years of using it, they did seem quite familiar:

      • There’s the school/class/work chat
      • There’s the small group with close friends
      • There are the many groups one creates for particular events
      • etc.

      And I really think it is these groups that gave WhatsApp the advantage. 90% of my communication is in groups. It’s not unusual to see people sending DMs in groups. It’s something I think that XMPP really didn’t think through. And now I need a smartphone with WhatsApp support to have a normal social life.

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        Today you can use Telegram. Unlike WhatsApp Telegram has had a decent web client almost from tje beginning.

        Also while I hear the protocols aren’t great they are documented and most existing clients are open source and unlike WhatsApp you won’t get in trouble for using a non official one.

        I’ve managed (together with others) to get everyone I used to communicate with over WhatsApp to join Telegram.

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          Yeah, I have Telegram; I much prefer it and talk to some people over it. Most people, however, don’t have it and to be honest I don’t really feel like badgering people in to using the app of my choice. Also, a lot of companies communicate almost exclusively over WhatApp in my current location, making it very hard to avoid.

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            I see. We were a number of people who changed at around the same time and we just slowly took it from there over the course of a year or 18 months or so by:

            • suggesting it once or twice and just wait for people to get ready and consensus to form (thankfully Facebook was very helpful and did a number of stupid things around then so it wasn’t too hard mostly.)
            • two groups were “hijacked” (in a funny way) by a number of people just saying: “we’re leaving WhatsApp, see you on Telegram” and pasting a link to the new group (this works best with good friends and family I guess ;-)
            • in one particular case I think we organized a “help desk” during the weekend (think a few hundred people from 18 - 90)
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        I jumped from Nokia N900 to the Jolla Phone when that came out, skipping the N9, and only reading this piece made me realize how Similar SailfishOS is/was to Meego – and how many good ideas it ignored and reinvented!

        All in all, as an OS itself, from the design perspective, Sailfish is still great. But like the other commenter mentions, the app ecosystem is the total bummer. If your social circle is not based on technologies that won’t be available to you, you’re in luck – but even then, without Android support, the OS still does not even have a proper modern web browser, making you live a constant dual-life between the OS you want and the emulation layer of the OS you unfortunately need.

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          Luckily that emulation layer works pretty well!

          But, yeah, it’s a bummer how much some apps and the non-availability of them on other platforms keeps Apple and Google in their seats of power. I luckily can do without Facebook, but WhatsApp is so entrenched in my country I cannot do without it.

          Also, Facebook is a multi-billion company. What do they have to gain by keeping Apple and Google popular?

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          I briefly owned a Nokia N950 Developer phone and it was fantastic. All of the great details mentioned in the post plus a sliding QWERTY keyboard.

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            My daily driver is a Sony XA2 with Sailfish Os, which is the spiritual child of MeeGo. Also shares a LOT of code with MeeGo, built by x-nokia folks.

            http://jolla.com

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              I wrote the author but posting here for completeness, I used to dual boot meego alongside sailfish on my Nokia N9. So it should still be possible, dig around on XDA-devs for tutorials.