BlackBerry, what’s left of it, has announced that 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.
John Timmer for Ars Technica:
It may seem difficult to imagine if you weren’t using cell phones at the time, but BlackBerry once dominated the smartphone market. Its keyboard-based hardware was widely adopted in corporate settings, in part because the services it provided typically ran through BlackBerry servers, allowing for high levels of security and control. An indication of its importance is that early internal builds of Android looked like a cheap BlackBerry knockoff, rather than the cheap iPhone knockoff that was eventually released.
BlackBerry’s leadership was blindsided by the iPhone’s popularity. It dismissed on-screen keyboards, and counted on its stranglehold on corporate services to maintain its market. It took over a year after the iPhone’s release for the company to come out with its own touch screen phone, and its software remained an awkward mix of old and new for some time after…
Technovanguard Take: Ah, memories:
“RIM has already been dealt a world of hurt with Apple’s iPhone, and Apple wasn’t even really trying with the first go around (few countries, mostly exclusive carriers, ignoring the enterprise, no SDK, no Exchange support, etc.). Those days are soon to be over for RIM. RIM is already bleeding share to Apple’s iPhone; now they’re about to start hemorrhaging. Let the bloodbath begin.” – Technovanguard, May 12, 2008
BlackBerry eventually gave up on its own phones, and started releasing Android versions before exiting the hardware business entirely (it now primarily provides corporate security services). The last version of the BlackBerry OS it released dates back to 2013, so the devices affected here are now extremely old.
Technovanguard Take: Yes, in fact, now amateur hour really is over.
We never forget.
By the way, for a very fun read, we recommend the book/audiobook: Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff.
Happy New Year, everyone!
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