End of the keyboard: BlackBerry switches off products as focus shifts to software
BlackBerry has pulled the plug on its iconic device as it switches off its mobile phones for good.
The company warned last month that its devices “will no longer reliably function” from 4 January, including all calls, texts and internet usage.
In 2016, the company’s chief exec John Chen announced that its transition to a software company was complete, shifting its focus to intelligent security software.
Whatsapp also dropped its support for older BlackBerry products in the same year, further cementing its decline as the go-to mobile phone.
Ben Wood, founder of the Mobile Phone Museum, told City A.M.: “The BlackBerry defined an era of mobile communications. The dedicated qwerty keyboard was an iconic design and its utility arguably changed society forever moving us closer to the ‘always-on’ world we now live in.”
“But sadly for BlackBerry they failed to move with the times and dismissed the transition to a touch screen interface blinded by the immense success of their unique hardware keyboard.”
In BlackBerry’s December statement, it said it would be taking steps to decommission the legacy services, but thanked its customers’ loyalty.
The BlackBerry devices are best-known for their business usage, and were one of the most popular devices in the early 2000s until the emergence of the iPhone in 2007.
The news also comes as Apple, maker of the iconic touchscreen devices, became the first $3 trillion company last night.
BlackBerry users now have no choice but to either hold on to their old phones as a keepsake or recycle them.
“We now live in a world of homogenous looking black rectangles with touch screens, what I like to call the ‘sea of smartphone sameness’ and it always makes me smile when I show kids some of the mobile phones of yesterday. They are enthralled by the design diversity”, Wood added.