BlackBerry OS Phones to Stop Working Properly Starting January 4

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BlackBerry has already bitten the dust in the smartphone market and lost its charm as even its devoted fans are nowadays perhaps using an iPhone or an Android handset. But still, as some people might be using a BlackBerry phone, the Canadian company has reiterated that its devices will no longer be able to support legacy services over cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity starting next week. The company initially announced the move in September last year but extended its service as “an expression of thanks” to its loyal customers and partners. The update is notably not applicable to BlackBerry phones based on the Android operating system.

As of January 4, devices based on BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier versions, will no longer be able to “reliably function,” the company said in an updated note on its website.

This means that there will be no guarantee that BlackBerry phones on cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity will be able to allow data access, make phone calls, send text messages, and even the emergency 911 functionality.

It is not surprising as BlackBerry had lost its ground in the early 2010s.

The Waterloo, Ontario-headquartered company tried hard to regain attraction. In 2013, it brought BlackBerry 10 as a replacement of the aging BlackBerry OS to appeal to Android and iOS users. The company also finally moved to Android in 2015 and brought BlackBerry Priv as a new slider phone to take on the flagships of Apple and Samsung. All that, however, did not help it gain any success.

In 2016, BlackBerry ultimately brought licensing partners including TCL Communication for global markets and Optiemus Infracom in India to retain its brand name with third-party devices. The licensing partners introduced models including BlackBerry KeyOne and Key2.

However, TCL in February 2020 announced that it would no longer produce BlackBerry phones. Other brand licensees have also maintained silence since October 2018 — following the launch of BlackBerry Key2 LE which came as the last phone brought under the brand.

Texas-based startup OnwardMobility in 2020 teased to launch a 5G BlackBerry phone in 2021. That model has not yet emerged, though.

The departure of legacy services from BlackBerry phones doesn’t mean that the brand BlackBerry is dead altogether. The company is currently busy developing its security software and services for various enterprises and governments around the world.

BlackBerry as a company even beat Wall Street estimates for its third-quarter revenue last week and reported a net profit of $74 million (roughly Rs. 551 crore). That was significant in comparison with a loss of $130 million (roughly Rs. 970 crore) a year earlier.


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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips.
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