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The 'blackberry' dies: signed the death certificate of the mobile that wanted to reign

Barack Obama after recovering the Blackberry that had been left behind in the White House before flying to Las Vegas in 2014.Photo: Getty

In 2021 it will be twenty years since the arrival of the first blackberry to Europe. The devices, which had been released two years earlier in North America, took the world by storm here as they had there. “Spain is one of the countries where it is growing the fastest,” Dennis Kavelman, former director of the Canadian company Rim, told Newsfresh. It was 2005 and the executive was not worried: “We have heard many times about the competition, but nobody has managed to replicate what we have achieved.” In 2010, almost 19 million Americans used the device, according to statistics portal Statista. By 2021 there were just 200,000.

This Tuesday the definitive death of these classic phones is certified. Starting today, devices with the BlackBerry operating system will lose access to functions as basic as phone calls, internet access or sending SMS. This includes devices from Rim's golden age, prior to the company's jump to Android, which occurred in 2015. “We have chosen to extend our services until that date as an expression of thanks to our partners and loyal customers,” explained the company. company in the statement that put on the calendar the last breath of mobile phones with operating systems 7.1 or earlier, BlackBerry 10 and the not so successful PlayBook 2.1 tablets and their predecessors, which ceased to be manufactured a year after their launch.

More information
BlackBerry, the mobile that could reign (but succumbed to the iPhone)

What will happen to these relics? As the company specifies in a recently published reminder, network services will no longer be available: “From this date, devices that use these services and software either through their providers or Wi-Fi connections will no longer work reliably. This includes data, phone calls, SMS and emergency calls. Other own applications such as BlackBerry Protect or BlackBerry Messenger could also stop working.

Thirty devices from different ranges: from the classic BlackBerry Curve, which became ubiquitous from 2007, to the last device that carried the in-house operating system, the BlackBerry Leap of 2015. The seven years of margin that remain between the last launch and the day of today indicate that there will not be many users who continue to use one of these phones and see how they are unusable. And hopefully the drama will be even less for tablets. However, it is a highly symbolic moment, the last nail in the coffin of some devices that accompanied millions of users around the world and the definitive turn of a company that, after touching the sky in the smartphone market, decided to focus on software and cybersecurity solutions for companies and administrations.

The beginning of the end

Who killed these phones? As usual, it was the weather. The first blackberry reached a very different market from the one they are now leaving. At that time, the main competitors of these devices whose main claim was the possibility of sending emails and messaging their peers were the pocket agendas or also known by their acronym in English: PDA (personal digital assistant). In 2006, the consulting firm Gartner estimated the population of these almost forgotten gadgets at 3.7 million units. That same year, The Economist defined the blackberry as “the device that all executives want to be seen with, and cannot live without”.

Then those smartphones began to appear, that strange terminal without a keyboard that Steve Jobs presented in mid-2007. The arrival of the iPhone marked the beginning of the end. According to experts, the Canadian never managed to adapt to the new era that the Apple phone championed. A few months after the launch of the first cell phone from the Cupertino factory, Mike Lazaridis, founder of BlackBerry, was still making fun of the format: “Touch screens? Bah, they have been around for decades. We were thinking about it and we saw that the keyboard is more efficient”, he stated in Newsfresh. Not a year had passed when BlackBerry Storm, which lacked a physical keyboard, hit the market. The firm seemed to hold out for a while. Barack Obama himself became president of the United States wielding a blackberry.

In 2010, they put their own tablet to compete, unsuccessfully, with the iPad. Although the firm ended up relaxing its bets, its modernization efforts were late and insufficient. The loss of ground and the cost that this was having for RIM became evident in July 2011, when the company announced that it was preparing to lay off 10% of its workforce: 2,000 jobs eliminated to reduce costs when they still kept 24.7 % market share vs. Android's 38% and Apple's 27%. New phones from the Canadian continued to hit the market, but none managed to reverse the trend.

In 2016, the company stopped also to manufacture its own devices, and gave a license to the Chinese TLC to use the BlackBerry brand in new mobile phones with and without a keyboard. The permit, which also did not achieve great success, ended in 2020 and the mobiles that were manufactured during that period, already with Android operating systems, would have to continue to have support until at least August of this year.

Ufff I owe you so much BlackBerry!! 😢

—Ronald MacKay (@Ronald_MacKay) January 2, 2022

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