In September 2020, BlackBerry announced that the days of its classic devices were numbered. Come January 4, 2022, BlackBerry operating systems 7.1 and earlier, BlackBerry 10, and BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier would all stop working—meaning that any electronics that use those systems would pretty much stop working, too. No phone calls, no SMS texts, no data usage, and so on. Not even 911 calls would get through.
At the time, the so-called “end of life” date may have seemed extremely distant. Alas, it’s now upon us. Beginning tomorrow, January 4, your beloved old BlackBerry—be it still clipped to your belt or buried in a storage box—will likely cease to respond to your touch.
You could call it the end of an era. BlackBerry revolutionized the cell phone game around the turn of the century, introducing devices with full keyboards several years before Apple and Google broke into the market. As corporate America—plus celebrities, privileged kids, and seemingly everyone else—became increasingly addicted to their BlackBerries, a catchy nickname emerged: “CrackBerries.” But as CNN reports, BlackBerries’ tiny QWERTY keyboard buttons eventually proved no match for the ease of the iPhone’s touch screen, which debuted in 2007.
Not only do you rarely see BlackBerries in people's hands these days, but the company itself pivoted away from manufacturing new phones back in 2016. It hasn’t released a new operating system since 2013. So you could also argue that the era already ended quite a while ago.