The end of Blackberry mobile: Once owned by millions, now ends all its legacy services

The end of Blackberry mobile: Once owned by millions, now ends all its legacy services
  • Blackberry is ending support to all its legacy devices starting January 4, 2022.
  • The company was once a popular mobile phone brand.
  • Lack of innovation and the advent of the iPhone was one of the key factors for its end.
In the year 1999, Blackberry launched its first handheld device in the form of a two-way pager. And since then, the company has seen it all — the rise, the fall and the end. If we go back in time, Nokia and Blackberry were the most popular cellular mobile brands in the 2000s, however, the advent of Apple’s iPhones in 2007 led to the end of both these brands in the mobile phone segment.

In the second half of the 2000s, Blackberry released mobile phones such as Curve Bold, Pearl and others that became widely popular among both corporate consumers as well as normal users.

It was not just the QWERTY keypad that stood out of Blackberry, but applications such as Blackberry Messenger (BBM) were extremely popular, even among the youngsters. The ability to mail, text and use the internet on the go made the devices popular among business professionals.

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In late 2008, Blackberry tested a full-touch screen phone, BlackBerry Storm, to take on the iPhone released a year earlier, but the failure of the device due to sluggish performance made Blackberry go back to the full QWERTY keypad phones even on its touch-screen devices that launched later.

The release of the iPhone 4 in 2010 was the beginning of the end for Blackberry as it became the most popular smartphone in the US. Although, Blackberry had not considered iPhones and Android-based phones as a threat because of its offerings primarily focusing on corporates and business professionals. However, the users started to feel what the Blackberry lacked and they started to make switches to the iPhones or the early Android phones.


Lack of innovation

One of the key reasons for the fall of Blackberry was a lack of innovation, as the company could not compete with full-touch displays of iPhones. Both iOS and Android-based phones offered their users plenty of applications for their day to day usage, however, Blackberry had no such offerings.

Another lacklustre offering of the Blackberry was its front and back cameras. When Apple and Android-based devices started offering better resolutions through their front and back cameras, Blackberry did not consider upping its game and continued to provide basic camera specifications.

End of an era

As the company failed to meet consumer expectations, the company stopped making smartphones based on its own operating system. It started launching smartphones based on Android OS.

In 2016, it signed a deal with China’s TCL to design and manufacture BlackBerry hardware while the company provides the software. These phones ran on Android OS, providing users with apps and customisation features while offering better security.

The last Blackberry phone launched in the market was BlackBerry Key2. There has been no smartphone release since then. And now with the announcement of ending the software support and legacy services on its devices with effect from January 4, 2022, the company has ended its operations in the smartphone segment for good.

Who will it impact?

According to the announcement, legacy services and software will no longer work be it on Wi-Fi connections or cellular. Users having classic Blackberry devices running on BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier versions will stop working.

The Blackberry 10 software launched in 2013, so these devices are quite old and Blackberry has supported them for a longer time than promised. So the number of users impacted by this will be significantly small.

Users still on these devices will no longer be able to use data, make phone calls, send SMS and or use emergency call services.

However, Blackberry smartphones running on Android OS will not be impacted, until and unless a user continues to use Blackberry's email services as they will have to migrate to a new service. If you are still using any of Blackberry's unsupported devices, you do not have an option but to switch to a new smartphone.


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