Old-School BlackBerrys Bite The Dust

John Lister's picture

BlackBerry has announced its phones will finally stop working this week. It's a move six years in the making and in many ways it's insane that anyone is still using them.

Specifically the company will be hitting the killswitch on services for BlackBerry 7.1 and earlier, the software for the BlackBerry 10 device, and BlackBerry PlayBook 2.1 (for its short-lived tablet range) and earlier.

The move only affects devices running BlackBerry's own software. It doesn't affect its range of Android-based devices.

Although the number of people affected is relatively low, BlackBerry is keen to get the word out as the move doesn't just affect apps and Internet access. It also means phone calls, SMS messaging and most importantly 9-1-1 calling can no longer be guaranteed to work. (Source: arstechnica.com)

BlackBerry Makes Announcement in 2016

BlackBerry first announced in 2016 that it had completed its move out of the hardware market to become solely a software company. At the time it promised to continue supporting devices and its communications network until 2019.

It later said it was extending this "as an expression of thanks to our loyal partners and customers", which likely means a surprising number of users were still hanging on rather than taking the hint. (Source: blackberry.com)

Email Addresses Also Affected

The shutdown doesn't just affect devices but also any Blackberry.com email addresses. It's also goodbye to the BlackBerry consumer services Protect (for remotely wiping devices) and Password Keeper (for main Blackberry Devices).

The main exceptions that will continue to get support are the Password Keeper for BlackBerry Android devices and the business form of BlackBerry Protect, which the company describes as an "AI-based endpoint security solution."

Physical Keyboard Stood Out

Originally known as Research in Motion (RIM), the company really made its name in the early 2000s with a series of phones aimed at business users. They stood out through a combination of physical keyboards, instant messaging, and particularly push email.

That meant the phone was constantly checking for messages in the background rather than users having to manually check in and download them. The result was that users could get alerted to every new email mere moments after it was sent.

At the time, that not only seemed futuristic, but also welcome.

What's Your Opinion?

Did you ever use a BlackBerry? Has the ability to receive emails instantly wherever you are been a good thing for society? Is your phone set to alert you (eg with a vibration or noise) when you get an email?

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