It’s the end of the road for BlackBerry all over again. Yes, you might think that said road actually ceased to exist in 2016 when BlackBerry Limited stopped making hardware, and even before then the tarmac was looking distinctly unroadworthy.
But now any remaining BlackBerry enthusiasts are set to see their tiny keyboards become even more worthless than before. The company has confirmed that on 4 January 2022, devices running BlackBerry OS 7.1 and OS 10 will lose crucial services.
And while definitions of “crucial” can vary, this time we really mean it. As of Tuesday, you won’t be able to make phone calls, texts, access cellular data or dial 111. Well, technically nobody’s stopping you typing 111 into your tiny keypad, but nothing will happen when you try to make the call connect. So you may as well be using one of those Fisher-Price Chatter Telephones for all the good it’ll do (which, by the way, has a Bluetooth version now for some reason.)
You may be able to use it on Wi-Fi, but even then there are no guarantees that it will “reliably function” which doesn’t sound ideal. “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,” the company added, somewhat putting the boot in.
If you own a more recent BlackBerry device that runs Android, then this doesn’t apply to you, by the way. That means any BlackBerry handset made after 2015 by BlackBerry Limited (which now makes cybersecurity software) or TCL Communications will still carry on working… though probably not brilliantly, since the last one released was 2018’s BlackBerry Key2 LE.
After TCL’s BlackBerry handsets were met by worldwide apathy, the company chose not to extend the licensing deal, with OnwardMobility picking up the rights to the name. At the time of writing, the official website still promises new 5G BlackBerry handsets before the end of 2021… a deadline that has now passed in New Zealand, but could theoretically still be met elsewhere in the world.
Tick tock, OnwardMobility…