BlackBerryOS phones are officially finished. All BlackBerry devices running the classic BlackBerryOS have been relegated to being expensive paperweights as of January 4th 2022. Any devices running the OS have now ceased to function for calls, mobile data and sending texts. This effectively cripples the devices into non-functioning relics.

This news comes as no surprise given that BlackBerry did announce this back in the summer of 2020. The firm has struggled to streamline its business and evolve with the advent of the modern smartphone. This is a last ditched effort to scramble the companies remaining resources together to focus on enterprise services.

When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 with its all-screen design that ditched physical keys, Steve Jobs lauded the benefits of a user interface that could change and adapt for each app. He went on to say that the problem with legacy smartphones like BlackBerry devices was that the keys were “fixed in plastic” and that you couldn’t “add another button to these things, they’re already shipped”.

Some of Apple’s fiercest critics including Microsoft’s then CEO Steve Ballmer thought Apple was crazy and that nobody would buy an iPhone. Microsoft believed that it wouldn’t be a good experience for email and enterprise users and that the device was too expensive. The irony hit Microsoft over the head with a 10-ton anvil in years to come.

This aged about as well as spoilt milk.

Microsoft and BlackBerry’s arrogance led to the former all but leaving the smartphone business. The failed Nokia acquisition effectively killed Windows mobile. And now Microsoft ships loss-making surface duo devices that run Android. As for BlackBerry, they too pivoted and tried to ship Android devices but this too has seen limited success. The introduction of the iPhone essentially wiped out these two former titans in the phone space.

Consumers have voted with their wallets loud and clear. Touchscreen phones are a million miles ahead of devices with physical keys and that isn’t ever going to change. In some ways it’s sad to see BlackBerry’s demise. But it also serves as a warning to all of big tech. Don’t get complacent as you never know what technology is coming along to usurp you.


Featured image: Randy Lu via Unsplash

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