BlackBerry will stop supporting classic operating systems

Soon you won’t be able to use that old BlackBerry phone sitting somewhere in the back of your drawer.

Starting Tuesday, January 4, the company will stop supporting its classic devices running BlackBerry 10, 7.1 OS and earlier.

This means that all his old devices not running on Android software will no longer be able to use data, send texts, access the Internet or make calls, even to emergency services.

While most mobile users have ditched BlackBerry – the latest version of its operating system launched in 2013 – the decision to discontinue support for its phones represents the end of what was once considered cutting-edge technology. .

The company originally announced the news in September 2020 as part of its effort to focus on providing security software and services to businesses and governments around the world under the BlackBerry Limited name.

Millions of iconic BlackBerry mobile phones will stop working within days. Credit: Alex Wang/Getty Images

BlackBerry has mostly exited the phone business since 2016, but over the years it has continued to license its brand to phone makers, including TCL and more recently OnwardMobility, an Austin-based security startup. in Texas, for a Blackberry 5G device running on Android. Software.

Old-school BlackBerry cell phones with physical keyboards from the late 1990s and early 2000s were once so popular that people nicknamed them “CrackBerries.”

The keyboard appealed to professionals who wanted the flexibility of working outside the office with some of the tools they used on a desktop computer.

The devices have become a status symbol and a go-to for Wall Streeters, celebrities like Kim Kardashian and even President Barack Obama, thanks in part to its high reputation for security.

At its peak in 2012, BlackBerry had over 80 million active users.

The company debuted in 1996 as Research In Motion with what it called two-way pagers. Its first gadget, the “[email protected] Pager”, allowed customers to respond to pages with a physical keyboard, a sort of SMS/email hybrid.

Three years later, RIM introduced the BlackBerry name with the BlackBerry 850.

The Blackberry Storm airs Tuesday, November 18, 2008.
The Blackberry Storm airs Tuesday, November 18, 2008. Credit: Frank Franklin II/PA

Eventually, BlackBerry phones supported email, apps, web browsing, and BBM, an encrypted text messaging platform that predated WhatsApp and survived long after BlackBerry was overtaken by its rivals.

But Apple’s touchscreen revolution with the iPhone in 2007 made BlackBerry’s offerings seem inadequate.

He tried touchscreens and slide-out keyboard models, with little success. He developed a few phones without a physical keyboard, but they lacked BlackBerry’s main differentiator: its touchscreen keyboard.

BlackBerry eventually ditched its own software, adopting Android and layering its security software. It has found some success in enterprise security software and automotive software.

Although TCL stopped making devices with the BlackBerry name in 2020, some fans are waiting for the arrival of OnwardMobility’s BlackBerry 5G device, which was originally slated to launch in 2021.

Despite the delay, its website still features a banner that says “coming 2021.”

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