Farewell to an era when BlackBerry was a thing that dominated the mobile device market globally. The Canadian company behind the device which was once regarded as indispensable for staying in touch has announced its decision to pull the plug on new updates of its operating system. In other words, classic Blackberry devices running on the company’s operating system are no longer working. The iconic black phone synonymous with the emerging mobile digital culture over the last decade has ceased to operate correctly since yesterday January 4.
A statement by the company dated December 22, 2021, says, “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.” The company behind the iconic black phone with its QWERTY keypad added that “We thank our many loyal customers and partners over the years,” as it officially decommissioned the use of its software.
The statement by the Blackberry Company at the end of the year 2021 was an update to an earlier September 9, 2020, statement made by the Blackberry CEO John Chen. In the statement, Chen disclosed the company’s ambition of transitioning into a software company and decommissioning all its legacy services.
The “end-of-life” (EOL) move, as the mobile device company called it will impact BlackBerry devices running on 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1, and earlier versions. However, the company reveals that devices using Google’s Android operating system, this includes the BlackBerry KEY2 which was released in 2018 and designed by China’s TCL Group, would not be affected by the changes. Newer Blackberry devices running on Android software will continue to work for now.
According to a popular news source, in 2013, Blackberry Company launched the last version of its operating system, while commencing phasing out devices with the Blackberry name between 2016 and 2020. Blackberry stopped manufacturing its own smartphones in 2016, the decision was a major step in a strategy begun by Chen, to turn the mobile device company which was sporadically losing money into software and wireless device security business. When Chen joined BlackBerry almost three years ago as the executive chairman and chief executive, he made it clear that the fast-declining phone business was living on borrowed time. BlackBerry’s market share long ago collapsed to single digits in North America and Europe, despite the introduction of the last version of its operating system.
According to reports, Blackberry reached its peak in 2009, dominating about 20% of the global smartphone market, but was shortly overtaken by the touchscreen devices like the iPhone and Androids in the early 2010s. The mobile device is known for its simple, uncluttered design and large QWERTY keyboard for easily sending mailing recorded widespread commercial success, especially amongst professionals like celebrities, politicians and journalists. Even the former US President Barack Obama was reported addicted to his BlackBerry device, that he insisted on keeping it while in the office in 2008, however, forced his security detail to build him a custom model to keep his data safe. Today the Blackberry Company formerly named Research In Motion has switched the phase of its business from producing mobile devices to focusing on software development and cyber security. Based on reports the company was said to have netted in around a billion dollars in revenue in 2020.