Every legacy BlackBerry phone will stop working today

Only newer BlackBerry phones — the ones running on Android — will be operational after January 4.

A view of the new pinkberry at the New Pink BlackBerry Pearl (tm) Smartphone Launch Party on January...
Jeff Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

BlackBerry phones running the company’s proprietary operating system will no longer work as of today, January 4. It is the end of an era — gone but certainly not forgotten. Sorry, Josh.

The BlackBerry software’s sunsetting has been planned for well over a year, though. The company first put out an end-of-life notice on September 9, 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,” the company wrote.

BlackBerry reminded users about the shutdown on December 22 with a quick update that reiterated the above points. The post specifies that services for BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10, and BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier will no longer work after today.

RIP, good friend.

Time to move on — BlackBerry’s legacy devices are no longer operational, but that’s not because the company itself is shutting down. Newer BlackBerry phones do exist — they just run Android rather than BlackBerry’s own software. Those phones will continue to work just fine.

But BlackBerry’s main business isn’t even phones anymore. One look at the company’s Twitter page will tell you that much. The Ontario-based company focuses on cybersecurity solutions now, like emergency communications systems and other mobile security platforms.

BlackBerry will likely never again see the $20 billion in sales it brought in during 2011, but that’s not to say it isn’t doing well for itself. Sales passed the $1 billion mark again in 2020. BlackBerry’s moving on up again.

Quite the legacy — It’s difficult to overstate how important the BlackBerry was to the smartphone market. Before the iPhone’s launch in 2007, BlackBerry was the phone to have in your pocket. Browsing your inbox with the little scroll wheel? Iconic.

And somehow BlackBerry even managed to carry its legacy weight even as iPhone and Android devices took the helm. Some 36 million people continued using BlackBerry phones well through to the end of 2010.

But iPhone and Android are now undeniably the rulers of the smartphone kingdom. Apple’s market cap hit the $3 trillion mark this week — a number BlackBerry could only ever dream of. BlackBerry’s market cap peaked at about $63 billion in 2007 before Apple came and ruined its gig.