BlackBerry had once dominated the market share for pre-smartphone mobile devices and became near- indispensable for jet-setting execs as it seamlessly integrated email services. When Steve Jobs launched his Apple iPhone, the BlackBerry was seen as one of is key rivals.
BlackBerry Limited has announced that it will be ending its support for all BlackBerry OS devices from tomorrow, January 4, 2022. The company will discontinue offering updates, services and more for BlackBerry 7.1 OS and before, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 along with all their older versions.
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BlackBerry devices will no longer be able to work reliably; and WiFi connections, data, phone calls, SMS and emergency services calling will no longer be supported fully.
"We thank our many loyal customers and partners over the years," the company said in a statement.
Here’s a timeline of the company’s journey:
1984: Research In Motion Ltd was founded by Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin in Canada.
1990: The company launched its DigiSync Film KeyKode barcode reader to widespread critical acclaim
1999: The first product to carry the BlackBerry brand name was the BlackBerry 850 email pager that the company launched in 1999. The pager could not only send and receive emails but also send pager notifications.
2007: By this point, BlackBerry had started to carve out a market share for itself by positioning itself as a mobile device that could be fully integrated with email service, a big draw point in the era before smartphones. When Steve Jobs first announced the Apple iPhone device, the BlackBerry was seen as one of the key incumbents that the phone had to defeat.
2013: The company launches its Z10 and Q10 smartphones, its touchscreen offerings, to compete with the rapidly growing smartphone market that shifted to touchscreen keyboards from physical keyboards. The phones sold poorly and led to John Chen becoming the CEO shortly after the company laid off 4,500 of its employees.
2014: The BlackBerry Classic with a physical keyboard and touchscreen capabilities was released. Despite its refocuses to older models, BlackBerry announced that it will be releasing Android OS supported devices from the next year.
2016: With a lack of success with its Android models, BlackBerry finally announced that it will be moving away from hardware manufacturing to software and enterprise services. TCL Communication bought the global licence for the brand, while Optiemus Infracom, under the name BlackBerry Mobile India, and BB Merah Putih also serve as licensees of the brand, in the Indian and Indonesian markets, respectively.
2021: While the new licensees released new models, nothing much could be done to stem BlackBerry’s declining market share. In 2021, just weeks before the TCL’s licence expired, Texas-based startup OnwardMobility bought the licence to make 5G BlackBerry smartphones. Optiemus, for its part, has not put any update to its status with BlackBerry since 2018.
2022: BlackBerry announces that it will be ending support for all its older BlackBerry OS devices.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: Jan 3, 2022 9:13 PM IST