BlackBerry ends support for its devices

BlackBerry ends support for its devices

On December 22, 2021, BlackBerry of Canada announced that from January 4, 2022, it will no longer support BlackBerry OS 7.1 and earlier OS, BlackBerry 10 or BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier, cutting data, phone calls, SMS and 9- 1-1 jobs.

This is a big change for a company that defined in roughly one reign the era of the Personal Data Assistant (PDA) and the smartphone. This was the period when neither Wall Street nor any self-respecting politician was dead without a BlackBerry.

By 2010, due to improved security features and a QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry captured 50 percent of the US smartphone market and 20 percent of the global market. The company was selling more than 50 million devices a year, but a wing was waiting in the wings, called the iPhone, and by 2011, it knocked BlackBerry out of first place. In 2016, BlackBerry announced that it would no longer manufacture its premium devices.

BlackBerry History

In 1984, two Canadian engineering students, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Freigen, founded Research in Motion. It was the first developer of wireless data technology in North America, and it was the first company outside of Scandinavia to develop communication products such as modems and pagers.

BlackBerry 850/950
BlackBerry 850/950 Source: Ruben de Rijcke / Wikimedia Commons

By the time RIM became public on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in 1999, the company had introduced the RIM 850 Wireless Handheld and BlackBerry Enterprise Server Software for the Microsoft Exchange server. It also signed a supply agreement with Dell Computer, and developed a number of non-phone related projects, Like GM’s LED system and IBM’s LAN. In 1998, the company launched a film montage system He even received an Academy Award for Artistic Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In 2000, RIM released the BlackBerry 957, the first device with e-mail and Internet access, although it was marketed as a two-way pager, although it was QWERTY keyboard and many more items that will become a staple of smartphones. in a In 2002 the company released the 5810, the first generation of devices that were marketed as phones with email capability, rather than as a pager. It worked on 2G, used a Java-based platform, and allowed voice calling, although it lacked a built-in microphone and speaker. They also offer SMS, organizer, and even rudimentary browser functions.

The following year, BlackBerry introduced a true 7230 smartphone. this was Color screen, 16MB storage, 2MB RAM allowed users to open documents, PDFs, Excel and PowerPoint files.

Over the next ten years, BlackBerry became ubiquitous with government and corporate customers due to its commercial functionality and enterprise level security features. Even President Obama was seen with a BlackBerry phone strapped to his belt, and the BlackBerry messaging service was a huge success.

President Obama with a Blackberry on his belt
President Obama with a Blackberry on his belt Source: Pete Souza / Wikimedia Commons

By 2004, RIM had more than 2 million subscribers worldwide, along with agreements with third-party phone manufacturers such as Samsung, Palm, Sony Ericsson, Siemens, Motorola, Nokia, and T-Mobile. By 2006, the company had over 4 million subscribers and was making waves with the Pearl 8100 smartphone, which was aimed at the consumer market.

That year, the company got into the burgeoning instant messaging frenzy, partnering with Lotus, Novell, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), and Yahoo! Messenger, and BlackBerries has been approved for use by UK government employees who handle restricted information.

In 2007, BlackBerry had more than $3 billion in revenue and a net income of $631 million, but there was a cloud on the horizon, and its name was the iPhone. Even after the release of the first iPhone in 2007 and Google’s Android version in 2008, BlackBerry continued to dominate, but the company initially ignored the iPhone’s touchscreen and insisted that users prefer a physical keyboard.

But BlackBerry phones have remained popular. One reason was that the iPhone was more expensive than the BlackBerry, as it was an AT&T exclusive (until 2011), forcing US customers to switch providers. At the same time, many people were reluctant to give up their consoles.

However, while Apple and Google made smartphones accessible to end users, giving them more screen space, easy-to-use interfaces, and multiple apps, BlackBerry continued to focus on its enterprise customers. When these enterprise customers allowed their employees to use their own devices for work, BlackBerries began to disappear, being replaced by Android and iPhone devices.

BlackBerry’s next wrong step was not to make its apps available on other platforms. The company’s most popular app, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), will only run on BlackBerry devices, which eventually allowed third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp, released in 2009, to rise.

The missteps continued in 2008 with the introduction of the first touchscreen device, the BlackBerry Storm. While BlackBerry knew the device had problems, with a delayed response to touchscreen clicks, it initially sold well on Verizon, which was eager to compete with AT&T’s exclusive iPhone Link. Then, the chief marketing officer reported Verizon told RIM that “nearly every one of the 1 million Storm phones shipped in 2008 needed replacement,” and that “many replacement devices were also returned.” Due to the failure of the phone, Verizon incurred losses of up to 500 million dollars.

At the same time, RIM underestimated how fast the smartphone market is moving. The iPhone released an updated product every year, and soon other smartphones with similar features arrived. In 2010, RIM released the Playbook tablet, which did not include the original email, calendar, or contacts apps, rendering it useless for the company’s users. In 2015, BlackBerry tried to build Android devices, but that too was unsuccessful.

In the last quarter of 2016, 432 million smartphones were sold worldwide, however, only 207,900 of these phones were from BlackBerries, giving the company a 0 percent market share. That year, Chinese consumer electronics company TCL bought the BlackBerry phone brand.

BlackBerry has begun licensing its brand to third-party manufacturers, and in January 2020, Texas-based OnwardMobility announced that it will make 5G-powered Android-powered BlackBerry devices that will be available sometime in 2021. So far, no Other information is forthcoming. From OnwardMobility and the phone hasn’t appeared yet.

Rise from the ashes

In late 2013, BlackBerry appointed John Chen as CEO, and the company transformed into a software and services provider. Today, BlackBerry offers software for cybersecurity, critical event management, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The company used its security products to enter the automotive field through the QNX operating system. In the automotive software market, BlackBerry has partnered with Baidu, Nvidia and Qualcomm. By mid-2021, the BlackBerry Automotive Program was included in more than 195 million vehicles, such as BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen. The software is used in advanced driver assistance systems, digital cockpits and secure data gateways.

And there are still followers missing the keyboard — and the security of older BlackBerry devices. The question is whether there are enough of them to allow the phone to rise again from the ashes.

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