Before I joined the cult of iPhone, of which I have happily been a member of for many years now, my first big phone purchase was a BlackBerry. Time made it as slow as a turtle, and it began its new life in a drawer in one of the many apartments and houses I’ve lived in. Over the years, I forgot about BlackBerry devices, as I’m sure most of you did — no offence to the forever BlackBerry fans — until now.
The only reason I’m talking about BlackBerry phones now is because they are officially going to die on Jan. 4, 2022. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because we’ve been saying that BlackBerry phones are going kaput since at least 2016, which is when the company announced that it was getting out of the hardware business. Pieces of its empire, such as the BlackBerry World app store and the legendary BBM messenging service, have been falling slowly ever since.
Nonetheless, for anyone who still owns a legacy device, it really is time to say goodbye.
In a recent support message on its website, BlackBerry kindly reminded users with devices with BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, and BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier versions — all of which are considered legacy devices — that after Jan. 4, 2022, these products will lose the ability to carry out key functions.
BlackBerry, which now provides security software, originally announced the end-of-life date for these devices in September 2020.
“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,” BlackBerry said.
In addition, BlackBerry apps, including BlackBerry Link, BlackBerry Desktop Manager, and BlackBerry Blend, will have “limited functionality.” Users with a BlackBerry hosted email address or who receive redirected mail to a BlackBerry email address will need to migrate to another service.
Importantly, BlackBerry Android devices will not be affected by the end-of-service date unless users are redirecting their email to a BlackBerry email or use an enhanced Sim Based Licence or Identity Based Licence. In the case of the licenses, BlackBerry says users will have to obtain a standard licence to cover the use of BlackBerry enterprise services on their device.
As for what you should do if you have a BlackBerry legacy device that you don’t want to get rid of, the company doesn’t hold back.
“Customers will need to move to new devices. Please contact your carrier of choice for more information about what devices and plans are available,” BlackBerry said.
Here’s to BlackBerry phones. Although they won’t be around anymore, the company can be sure that they made their mark on society. As for my BlackBerry, which is still in an unknown drawer somewhere, it served me well while it lasted.