BlackBerry phones have been pronounced dead numerous times since their popularity peaked more than a decade ago, but the firm will officially cease support for its ageing handsets next month, reported CNET.
BlackBerry phones running BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry 7.1 software or earlier will “no longer reliably function” on carrier networks or via Wi-Fi starting Jan. 4, according to a support FAQ from the firm. This implies that the phones will no longer be able to access the internet, make phone calls, send text messages, or dial 911 in an emergency.
The statement read “as a reminder, the legacy services for BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier versions, will no longer be available after January 4, 2022. As of this date, devices running these legacy services and software through either carrier or Wi-Fi connections will no longer reliably function, including for data, phone calls, SMS and 9-1-1 functionality.”
BlackBerry’s shift to a software corporation was completed in 2016, according to Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen.
BlackBerry 10, RIM’s most recent smartphone operating system, was introduced in 2013. In 2016, RIM dropped the BlackBerry brand and turned its focus to security software, forming BlackBerry Limited.
TCL, a Chinese company, acquired the BlackBerry Mobile trademark licence in 2016 and released the BlackBerry KeyOne and BlackBerry Key2. The discontinuation of support for legacy BlackBerry software and services has no effect on these Android phones. TCL, on the other hand, discontinued manufacturing BlackBerry phones in 2020 and indicated it will continue to support them until August 2022. The BlackBerry Mobile brand was later acquired by security company OnwardMobility, who said that a new 5G BlackBerry Android phone would be released in the first half of 2021. That phone hasn’t arrived yet.
The Verge reported that this may not be the last BlackBerry death we hear about. Since its dominant phase in the late 2000s, when its QWERTY keyboards and reputation for security won it a 50% market share in the US, the corporation has been on a gradual and painful fall, yet such a storied brand must be wrung for its last dregs of value.