One-time cell phone king BlackBerry announced as of January 4, it’s ended support for the classic BlackBerry OS (versions 7.1 and earlier, plus OS 10). As such, that effectively marks the end of the classic BlackBerry phone line.
BlackBerry was the top cell phone maker in the late 90s and 2000s, thanks to its high-quality phones, physical keyboards, and services. The line of phones had many fans, including President Obama; some gave the phones the (questionable) nickname “Crackberry” to describe their addictiveness.
Unfortunately for BlackBerry, the debut of the iPhone in 2007 and of the Android OS not long after saw BlackBerry’s fortunes quickly fall off, despite its sales peaking in 2011. BlackBerry tried shifting to making Android-based phones, but’ it was all for naught. These days, BlackBerry specializes in cybersecurity and making media operating systems for cars; it recently licensed out the BlackBerry name for a smartphone maker, but nothing’s come of it. As shown below, the only two smartphone operating systems in use today are Android and iOS. (As of the mid-2010s, I deemed the smartphone OS wars basically over.)
I’ve never owned a BlackBerry phone; in its 2000s heyday, I used (affordable) flip phones.
A look back at BlackBerry on the blog
I wrote a few posts over the years about BlackBerry. With its demise, I suppose it’s time to look back over them.
The BlackBerry Playbook
In 2011, I briefly mentioned the BlackBerry Playbook, BlackBerry’s attempt at making a tablet during the early 2010s tablet craze (when everyone wanted to cash in on the iPad). Ultimately, the Playbook was just another also-ran. Oddly, the Playbook’s biggest contribution was its manufacturer using the Playbook as a template for the Amazon Fire (originally “Kindle Fire”) line of tablets. The Fire ended up being much more successful; these days, it’s my recommended tablet for those that don’t want an iPad. (Speaking after years of experience with iffy Android tablets.)
An attempt at selling BlackBerry
In 2013, I wrote about an (ultimately failed) effort to sell BlackBerry, and why the company had fallen on hard times. If wondering, the post’s title (“we’ve got a company for sale…”) is a reference to the classic “Magilla Gorilla” theme song. Ironically (or appropriately), it’s a cartoon about pet store owner Mr. Peebles’ repeated failed, desperate efforts to sell the titular gorilla to anyone.
BlackBerry’s phone line was ultimately licensed out to several other manufacturers, including one in Indonesia. More recently, it’s been licensed out to the Texas-based OnwardMobility; they’re supposed to make a new line of 5G BlackBerry phones, but as of this writing, there’s nothing yet.
Whatever happened to BlackBerry’s mobile presence?
You will find more infographics at Statista
In 2018, I checked up on the then-current status of BlackBerry and Microsoft in the mobile landscape, given the market share for both had dwindled to nearly nothing. BlackBerry was still holding on with a few Android-based models, which obviously didn’t help turn things around.
Microsoft, meanwhile, had given up on making phones; it sold off its Nokia line to a Finnish company. These days, Microsoft is more focused on adapting its software (such as Office) to run on Android and iOS devices.