BlackBerry phones to lose all functionality — Analysis

According to the manufacturer, these once-pioneering devices are no longer guaranteed reliable.

BlackBerry smartphones, which attracted loyal customers for high-security features such as keyboards built in, while Apple and Google gradually poached their customers, are finally leaving the market, according to the company.

Any phones or tablets running BlackBerry operating systems “Will not function reliably anymore” starting January 4, the company declared in a recent press release. It excludes all phone calls, texts and data, as well as SMS connections or emergency 911 calls.

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Specifically, while more recent BlackBerry devices running Android operating systems will continue to function, smartphones and other devices running BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10, or the company’s tablet operating system, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1, will cease to operate with any degree of reliability.

Perhaps fittingly given that BlackBerry’s initial attractions included its comparatively beefy security profile, parent company BlackBerry Limited has switched to selling cybersecurity software and internet of things systems.

The company attempted to stage a comeback in 2013 with the BlackBerry Z10, poaching a significant chunk of new customers from Apple and Google in the UK and Canada, but the win apparently didn’t last. Leap was the final BlackBerry smartphone that was released to the public. The company gradually ended support for older hardware and shut down BlackBerry Messenger in 2019.

Despite an announcement about a licensing partnership between OnwardMobility (Foxconn) and Foxconn subsidiary FIHMobile Limited, a second comeback attempt was never made. The new device was supposed to resemble the old-school BlackBerry with its built-in keyboard, run on Google’s Android OS, and come with 5G capability. The recent privacy scandals involving Apple and Google might lead one to believe that the market would grow for privacy-centric smartphones. However, OnwardMobility is yet to provide any information regarding the BlackBerry project.

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