Old BlackBerry phones will stop functioning on January 4

Daniel Sims

Posts: 402   +17
Staff
Bottom line: BlackBerry announced this week that it will stop support for legacy services running its operating system in the next few days. Functionality that simply won't be there anymore includes basic things like making phone calls and text messaging, effectively ending the life of older BlackBerry phones (all models not running Android) as communication devices.

The original announcement that BlackBerry was ending legacy OS support came in September 2020. This week the company issued a reminder along with an extensive FAQ outlining what users should do. On January 4, legacy services for BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier, will end.

Devices running those operating systems, which the FAQ lists, won’t be able to make calls, send texts, or even dial 9-1-1 over cellular or Wi-Fi.

This also includes BlackBerry Desktop, Lin, Blend, World, Protect, Password Keeper, PIN to PIN device messaging, Enhanced Sim Based Licensing, and Identity Based Licensing. BlackBerry-hosted email addresses will also stop working, even on other platforms like Android and iOS.

BBM for Enterprise and BBM Enterprise for Individual use will still work through BlackBerry ID outside the OS that are reaching end-of-life. BlackBerry says users should move any data to other devices and platforms, calling their service providers where necessary.

In another era, the BlackBerry was a mainstay in mobile computing before smartphones subsumed its functions. Even in that market it couldn’t survive the likes of Apple and Samsung. End-of-life for BlackBerry’s internal software has been a long time coming.

In 2016 BlackBerry stopped building its own phones to focus solely on software, launching the last phone designed in-house in 2017. In 2020, TCL also stopped manufacturing BlackBerry phones. BlackBerry has been offering Android phones ever since.

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Irata

Posts: 2,044   +3,474
That‘s something I dislike about many modern devices - they become ewaste once someone decides to throw a switch on their server.

While I totally understand that companies do not want to continue spending resources on legacy devices, they should still continue to work without said support.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,850   +3,626
TechSpot Elite
That‘s something I dislike about many modern devices - they become ewaste once someone decides to throw a switch on their server.
A lot of the time, yeah. But that usually depends on whether or not people try to repurpose them for something else.

For me, I use an old BB device as a car music player. Battery life without cell/wireless is at least 2 weeks idling, and it is one of the last phones to have (good) dedicated media buttons along with microSD card support and a 3.5mm jack (before all that stuff was no longer standard).
And with a removable battery, I could theoretically have it last a very long time...
 

Irata

Posts: 2,044   +3,474
A lot of the time, yeah. But that usually depends on whether or not people try to repurpose them for something else.

For me, I use an old BB device as a car music player. Battery life without cell/wireless is at least 2 weeks idling, and it is one of the last phones to have (good) dedicated media buttons along with microSD card support and a 3.5mm jack (before all that stuff was no longer standard).
And with a removable battery, I could theoretically have it last a very long time...
I sometimes still use my Lumia as either media player or camera. While app cancellations made me get a new Android phone, I can still use my Lumia (if I wanted to) for what it was intended to and I hope there isn‘t a kill switch that can be thrown to deactivate phone / email functionality.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,200   +240
Dont forget that blackberry once "forced" all their users to pay for "blackberry internet services" internet plan. you have to do that in order to use blackberry services. your blazing fast wifi connection wont 'work' unless you purchase BIS plan from your telco provider. I know because I had to use it for two years.

looking back I can't believe people actually use this sh** 10 years ago. had whatsapp came 2 years earlier blackberry would've been gone much sooner. horrible OS, expensive BIS internet plan, subpar hardware quality with expensive pricetag. I say good riddance.



 

m4a4

Posts: 2,850   +3,626
TechSpot Elite
I sometimes still use my Lumia as either media player or camera. While app cancellations made me get a new Android phone, I can still use my Lumia (if I wanted to) for what it was intended to and I hope there isn‘t a kill switch that can be thrown to deactivate phone / email functionality.
I don't know about cell support, but the phone itself won't have a kill switch (carrier/SIM support is a separate issue).
Basic apps should be fine, unless the installed apps get so old that their connection functionality becomes deprecated (like above, 3rd party could probably still work fine). And the wifi tech should be supported for a long while if needed.

So, as long as the hardware doesn't die (or software doesn't glitch), old phones can be useful secondary devices for a while (and that's if you keep it stock)...
 
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Shaitan

Posts: 172   +195
Let's not forget that the great BB decided one day to allow the nice governments. Imagine: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have had access to the messages of the users (BBM). Since 2010. Go figure why people left the platform in droves...
 

Watzupken

Posts: 574   +478
That‘s something I dislike about many modern devices - they become ewaste once someone decides to throw a switch on their server.

While I totally understand that companies do not want to continue spending resources on legacy devices, they should still continue to work without said support.
I agree. It is quite surprising that basic functions like calling and texting gets "killed" once the company drops support for it. The phone may still be perfectly functional, but may likely end up in the landfill.
 

PurpleYoda

Posts: 172   +142
Unless someone in the community decided to hack the software and release nuked version. I mean, it took 20 years but someone actually cracked PS2 so anything is possible ;-)
 
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I've got a soft spot for BlackBerry. My first phone was a Q5 running BB10, then I got a Z10 Developer Special Edition (both gifts from a friend at BB). the build quality was and still is quite nice, but the decision to use a processor that was already outdated at the time made them sluggish at best. And the Q5 didn't even have enough storage to update the phone with nothing installed, had to use a PC to manually do it.
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,092   +966
Let's not forget that the great BB decided one day to allow the nice governments. Imagine: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have had access to the messages of the users (BBM). Since 2010. Go figure why people left the platform in droves...
Nothing to do with iPhone and Android phones offering better phones with easier GUI's and apps to use...
 

hwertz

Posts: 129   +68
How the heck does even the phone dialer quit working? TBH, I think a Blackberry would be fairly useless without the blackberry services (the messaging went through there, and I think the web browser used a proxy that went through blackberry services too), but I'm surprised it'd quit working entirely like that.

Not that I have one -- I have a BlackBerry KeyOne, but other than the secure bootloader (no aftermarket ROMs for me!) it's stock Android with some Blackberry apps on it that I frankly haven't used. At least on this phone if Blackberry shuts down everything it'll just disable some apps I already don't use.