This headline is as confusing as BlackBerry’s slow and lingering death it’s been experiencing since full-screen smartphones took over the world. 15 years ago, the BlackBerry smartphone was the device to have with its physical QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry software, and robust design. Since then, we’ve heard nothing but “BlackBerry is dying!” from various examples of the brand finally fading into the past as the age of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy became responsible for eating up large chunks of the market.
But the truth is, BlackBerry has never faced a certain death. Whereas the company eventually decided not to ship any more QWERTY-equipped phones with its own software, it took a gamble on Android with a few devices under Priv and Key monikers. When that didn’t work, it began licensing its name out to other companies to use on devices that could qualify as BlackBerries. That didn’t seem to work either, so it’s safe to see we’ve seen the idea of a BlackBerry-branded smartphone die over and over again.
At least now, those who still own original BlackBerries running BlackBerry software will experience some closure, for good or bad. The company has confirmed (as highlighted by The Verge) as of January 4th, 2022, phones and tablets that run any version of BlackBerry’s operating system (including BB10) will “no longer reliably function.”
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.
We thank our many loyal customers and partners over the years and invite you to learn more about how BlackBerry provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments around the world.
I can’t imagine there are a terrible amount of classic BlackBerry users out there, but if you’re one of them, it’s about time you upgrade. BlackBerry’s Android-based smartphones won’t be affected by this policy, so if you must stick with the BB brand, consider picking up a Key2 or something off of eBay.
Despite how certain this announcement seems to make BlackBerry’s fate, the brand could always rise again from the ashes in hopes of a humble return. There’s a company out there that’s still trying to make phones with the BlackBerry logo happen, but they’ve been silent about their plans all year, and there’s no telling whether they’ll be active come 2022.
So, maybe pour one out for BlackBerry tonight if you think they’re actually gonna die this time. Or don’t. Either way, you probably won’t be wrong.