4 January 2022 marks the end of support for BlackBerry’s mobile devices, with everything from select apps to calls and messaging undergoing a partial or complete loss of functionality, as part of the landmark switch-off.
Phones and tablets running BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry PlayBook OS are all affected, following an announcement which the company first made back in September 2020.
If you were in the market for a mobile phone in the early 2000s, there was a strong chance you either owned or at least knew someone who used a BlackBerry.
Seen as the dominating force in the mobile space at the time, BlackBerry (formerly ‘RIM’ or ‘Research In Motion’) offered handsets that pushed the envelope in terms of what a phone could do; making them a particular favourite among businesses and users, looking for a way to remain particularly productive on the go, after the turn of the Millenium.
The story of the company’s mobile downfall is well-documented at this point, with the paradigm shift that Apple’s iPhone and App Store brought about highlighting the company’s overconfidence in its existing offerings and its inability to innovate at a competitive pace.
Thankfully, today BlackBerry itself has managed to pivot into a successful cyber security business, with recorded revenue of over US$900M in 2019, however, at this point, phones (and its PlayBook tablets) haven’t featured in the company’s business strategy for years.
TCL subsequently licensed the BlackBerry name for a series of security-focused Android phones – starting with 2016’s oddly-named DTEK50 – but these failed to recapture the appeal (or customer base) associated with the original brand’s offerings, leaving the Chinese tech giant to lose interest
Nowadays, remaining BlackBerry fans have only the unproven startup OnwardMobility to place their trust in; who initially promised the first 5G BlackBerry phone by the end of 2021 (with their debut product now assumed to be arriving sometime in 2022, considering nothing has yet materialised).
For all those still unable to let go of their older BB handset, you’ll have little reason to keep them around after 4 January 2022, with any meaningful functionality seemingly no longer on offer. In its official post on the subject, BlackBerry thanked its “many loyal customers and partners” for their support over the years.