Starting Tuesday, January 4, Blackberry will stop running support for its classic devices running BlackBerry 10, 7.1 OS and earlier. This means all of its older devices not running on Android software will no longer be able to use data, send text messages, access the internet or make calls, including 911 emergency calls.
While most mobile users have moved on from BlackBerry the move to discontinue support for its phones represents the end of what was once considered bleeding-edge technology.
The company originally announced the news in September 2020 as part of its efforts to focus on providing security software and services to enterprises and governments around the world under the name BlackBerry Limited.
BlackBerry has been mostly out of the phone business since 2016, but over the years it continued to license its brand to phone manufacturers, including TCL and more recently OnwardMobility, an Austin, Texas-based security startup, for a 5G Blackberry device running on Android software.
BlackBerry’s old school cell phones with physical keyboards from the late 1990s and early 2000s were once so popular people nicknamed them “CrackBerries.”
The keyboard appealed to professionals who wanted the flexibility of working outside the office with some of the tools they used on a desktop computer.
The devices became a status symbol and fixture for people on Wall Street, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, and even President Barack Obama, thanks in part to its great reputation for security. At its peak in 2012, BlackBerry had more than 80 million active users.
Apple’s touchscreen revolution with the iPhone in 2007 made BlackBerry’s offerings appear lacking. Blackberry tried touch screens and slide-out keyboard models, with little success.