BlackBerry’s classic smartphones “will no longer reliably function” after the Canadian manufacturer confirmed that support for all services, including calls and texts, ended on Tuesday (4th January).
In a recent statement, BlackBerry said that devices not running a version of Android would cease to function, with “data, phone calls, SMS and 9-1-1 functionality” discontinued over both Wi-Fi and mobile connections.
It marks the end of an era for a line of smartphones that commanded a 20% share of the global market a decade ago and generated more than 50 million sales annually.
The BlackBerry Classic was one of the most popular models, with its trademark QWERTY keyboard offering physical inputs at a time when touchscreens on iPhones were only just becoming the standard.
The phenomenal rise of Apple’s premium smartphones and Android equivalents meant that BlackBerry devices fell out of favour, even in the business world where BBM instant messaging was hugely popular.
The decision by WhatsApp to drop support in 2016 was one of the final blows for BlackBerry and it stopped manufacturing its own phones that year at a time when it had less than 1% market share.
Services on ‘legacy’ devices were still supported though as a gesture of goodwill and thanks to its customers.
That finally came to an end on Tuesday, even for those with the latest BlackBerry 10, 7.1 OS operating system. BlackBerry smartphones that run Android are not affected.
BlackBerry said that it will now focus its efforts on being “an enterprise software and cybersecurity company”.