Blackberry Will Run Out Of Juice On January 4th

Happy New Year, though it may not be for Blackberry fans. The company that has so often had their products compared to a certain addictive substance recently announced that they are ending support for Blackberry OS and Blackberry 10 devices.

What does this mean? While they won’t be bricking phones outright, they might as well be. On January 4th, Blackberry will be shutting off all the key services — data, SMS, phone calls, and 911 support. In official terms, they are ending network provisioning for these older devices, meaning that they won’t be able to join any cellular or WiFi networks.

Unless you’re old enough to remember, it may seem strange that these half-screen, half-keyboard machines once dominated the mobile market. But back then, the people who used them were texting wizards who had broken free from the chains of the T9 keyboard.

Though this news may not mean much except to a select few, it’s still sad to see the Blackberry era come to a true end. We never had one ourselves during the heyday, though we did pick up a cheap used model to carry around as a tiny mobile writing device and calendar. We sure do miss phones with real keyboards though, and would love to see them come back. At least the keyboards themselves get love in the hacker community.

[Main and thumbnail images via Digital Trends]

47 thoughts on “Blackberry Will Run Out Of Juice On January 4th

  1. ???or wifi networks???

    That’s peculiar. I’ve had a scrapberry around for years that I used for some time as a local wifi-connected display, just auto-refreshing a webpage from my weather station. Wifi should be completely independent of network provisioning…

    1. The summary is in error. Within the article it is more clear, Blackberry is shutting down their backend services, so they will be unusable regardless of your connection type.
      Your wifi display will continue to work fine, but even using wifi you won’t be able to access their store, messenger service (blend), or download PC software from them which utilizes wifi, such as link/sync.

      I’m sure this has to do with the fact they used to advertise blend and the store was explicitly accessible without cellular service so long as you have wifi.

    2. I still pay for a sim card that is still operating in 3G. I don’t need it but I only want 3G network still exist. Its superior in the sense of long range. Great for Canada cause, as soon as, you leave any major city 50km out there is loss of network. Lots of empty spots. So I disagree with 5g cause I need reliable long range in forests and lakes then a fast network. Phones needs to work to provide 911 then only secondary entertainment function.

      1. 5G does operate on a lower band, so it would travel farther. Tmobile, for example, has been shown to push a signal weather from a tower than any other band or network before. 600 band was able to be pushed 50 miles from a tower. 600 is only available for 5G. 3G is being taken down in the states so by then end of this year it will no longer work.

      2. I know it’s all the press talks about but 5G isn’t exclusively short range high throughput millimeter wave. It can operate on the same frequencies as 3G did and can get the same range.

        1. 5G is all about breaking things down to smaller cells so you have channel reuse. Different cells can re-use the same frequency bands as long as there not too close together. Usually you have odd channels on one cell and even channels on the closest cell. So you want to use bands where the signal won’t travel so far that it interferes with another cell. So low lands like 700, 800, 900MHz shouldn’t be used in highly populated areas unless you need to go around corners or through thick concrete.

          In more remote areas 5G has no advantage. So it makes sense to use lower bands for more remote locations.

          1. What you’re calling “low bands” are UHF bands and I’m confident they will remain in populated areas. You can’t cover a whole city with milliimeter waves alone unless you’re willing to accept a lot of deadapots. It’s tougher to navigate buildings then trees. Even fog or rain is a nightmare for for mm wave.

  2. I had a model that had the sliding front cover and I loved it when it worked. It worked great when I first got it but for some reason, it would decide to only do some of what it should have done. I liked it for the keys not being exposed unless I wanted them. I was frustrated that in the later days of using it, the backlit keys wouldn’t lite when slid open and a few other things it started doing. But as with nearly all things man made, they fail in one way or another. I’ve lived long enough to have seen a world of products come and go, many of them good and some not but a fact of life is if something is made good and people like it, it must be deleted so a replacement is required thus forcing people to spend more money, put people to work constructing replacements for products that still work satisfactorily and we are used to. I now have an OLD Apple I-5 which I am used to and know how to operate pretty fairly. I don’t use it for a lot of the available apps but it does what I need and surely one of these days I will be forced to replace it, if I live long enough. Most likely when it is mandated to be useless that will be my last unit.

    1. Their old online store and online messaging service. Yes, you need some form of Internet access to reach them.
      As for calls, isn’t 3G shut down in most of the world already? It’s shutting down in the US later this year.
      In any case, any cell phone that can’t use cellular newer than 3G isn’t long for this world.
      These phones are 7+ years old already, as that was when they switched from blackberry os to android, android not being affected by any of these changes.

        1. 2G has been phased out in the US. 3G is being phased out, it was supposed to be already but there’s been extensions, so no telling exactly how long it will still work.
          Strange though, I’ve been told by many people 3G was gone in the EU too.

          1. 3G perhaps, probably. I wouldn’t know. My first experience with mobile internet was LTE. I don’t think 3G was much of a thing in my corner of EU (Slovak republic, Czech republic). I don’t remember any advertisements in media for operators’ plans or 3g enabled phones.
            But hey at least we’ve got optical internet in our soviet concrete blocks of flats since dark ages i.e. 200x.

            2G has not been phased out and is not going to be AFAIK. 20+ year old phones working without problems. Maybe I should try to find the old brick my grandma was using in 1995 and give it a try myself.

          2. nope 3G is still a thing in many eu countries and we’re keeping 2G around til 2040ish.
            simply said there a lot of gprs/edge/3g only solutions (not phones) out there in alarm systems, elevator monitoring, gate openers, you-name-it) that an instant switchoff by any operator would mean they lose a significant amount of their customers as these devices are a lot more difficult to replace than a simple phone. often installed/run by a third party with no relation to the operator.
            we are phasing out 3g tho, but only gradually. better put: reducing our 3G footprint.
            eu is not like the US where you have large areas with no service. the coverage is literally over 98-99% and most operator consider thie resulting coverage reduction as a step back.
            and there is still a lot of money in voice calls, and LTE needs a bunch of extra bits/pieces to offer this: VoLTE enabled handsets, TAS, IPv6 support on the network side, vendor capacity licenses. so a larger operator had to gear up properly before pulling the plug. and this takes time and a huge amount of work/money. so until the regulator allows the usage of 3G and the frequency is available, operators will try to squeeze the last penny out of it. still the government is subsidizing the phaseout of 3G but there are some years left in it.

        2. 2G was still available in some places in the US primarily because they never took down the hardware. It basically stays till the equipment dies. It will probably be the same way with 3g. However it’s officially dead and in crowded markets I believe it’s being manually removed both to save the real estate and the RF spectrum. In most places tower space for RF equipment is expensive!

        3. Here in Australia 2G is long gone. All IoT stuff ran on 2G.

          Our dumb telecommunications companies decided to offer a much more complex 4G alternative to charge more money for the service.

          In Australia IoT is most commercially useful in remote locations where you have signal coverage but not power. Like a 5000 Liter fuel tank somewhere in the bust that the supplier needs to refill when it’s getting empty.

          4G has less coverage and less penetration into remote areas. The more complex protocol means more expensive hardware (faster CPU/uC) which in turn mean you can’t simply exchange batteries, you need solar and a fixed battery whick makes it even more expensive. So the price goes up well past what most customers are willing to pay. It’s so expensive that a better solution in a lot of places is “C” band satellite connections.

          Some times on farming properties you can go WiFi from sensor to residence and satellite internet from there.

          So basically, through greed out local telecommunication companies have shot themselves in the foot.

  3. This actually impact me as I still own a perfectly working Blackberry Classic (Q20). I wonder why Blackberry (the company) won’t go out by the big door by pushing a last update (at least on the latter models) to remove all the blackberry network peculiarities and just render them as normal phones.

    The form factor of the BB classic is really excellent (physical keyboard paired with a small yet big enough tactile display is the most ergonomic form factor there is IMO) and as much as I love the Nokia E71 it replaced (same form factor), Symbian S60 truly shows its age (here also it would be nice to see custom OSes on those very sturdy smartphones).

    I’m still not decided onto what I’ll get next, but the huge (5″+) tactile slab of glass form factor doesn’t appeal to me at all.

    1. Sometimes is not the company choosing a particular policy, however the CEO clearly has the say, either way.
      Like Nokia deciding not to develop a phone with apps because it would add an extra $5.00 to manufacturing or Copy Products(a division of Kodak) deciding not to manufacture small printers. Full disclosure I used to be an employee of Copy Products) So many sad examples like this in manufacturing.

    2. I’m still running E-71, E-72 & E-7 as they still work and have desirable features that haven’t made it to Android yet. PIM in OS works far better than crap in Android. My phone is my phone, not my camera. I’ve tried to make Android work in my application, but no luck. Have a Z30, great device, but same problem’s as Android. Nokia E Series phones were the only transition path from Palm after HP killed them. Window CE, Mobile 8, then 10 never got there and I will never forgive Microsoft for killing Nokia. The new Alcatel/Nokia phones are good hardware, but until Android has working PIM features that are cloud independent, I’ll be keeping these classic Symbian phones until Linux phones catch up. Keyboards are best for my data intensive mobile world.

  4. As they announced shutting down most of the server side services it would be useful to give the community a way to continue services on its own – publishing some of non crucial proprietary APIs, perhaps open sourcing some server side applications would allow the community to work on keeping those devices alive. Similarly allowing to unlock the bootloader would be a good step towards helping the community.

    1. They are marketing themselves as primarily a security/ software company who likely still sells commercial services (BES) so outright open-sourcing the devices may not be feasible.
      I am super sad about this though as I have a playbook that I still use occasionally and would love to continue to use my old Q10.

      I would love to have seen them do *something* to allow these devices to continue to be useful though, that is a massive swath of hardware rendered useless overnight. :(

      1. Beyond silly. We can thank Apple for that. And also for the cutout in the top of the screen for the camera. And now they’re doing that on the new MacBooks. Done with Apple. Stupid, stupid people.

    1. Planet Computers have a range of keyboard phones too. (And don’t just support QWERTY, you can have AZERTY or QWERTZ, Arabic, Japanese or Dvorak.)
      (I won’t post a link, whenever I put a link in my posts spend several days in moderation)

  5. For those who really must have a keyboard, you can spend ~$35 for a pocketable, bluetooth, tri-folding unit that will function admirably and can be used among many devices. I wear one out about every two years.

    Of course it’s not integrated into a single unit, so if you’re walking/standing etc. you have to fatfinger the on-screen keyboard (which never existed in back in the day), or you can simply depend on voice-typing (a pipe dream when the original units came out). You can love the Blackberry but most of its functions have been surpassed or subsumed into the current offerings, particularly by clever use of touchscreens.

    Given that the “cell phone” central market now overwhelmingly involve being the Dilbertian Portal to Hell works for social media dopamine junkies rather than simply communication or data devices, perhaps the Blackberry has found a kinder gentler resting place in history than the current iSpendtoomuch units will.

    1. > You can love the Blackberry but most of its functions have been surpassed or subsumed into the current offerings

      You are right if not for one thing : the compact design/form factor of the Blackberry Classic/Q20 hasn’t be surpassed.

    1. Yes, all the BlackBerry android devices are still working, I was using the Priv up until February before I switched to the KeyOne. This end of life only affects BlackBerry’s running blackberry OS and BlackBerry 10 though it is likely to be fazed out slower than January 4th but they will officially stop supporting everything by then. Most things like cellular, sms, data and emails should still work until cellular networks and email providers make big updates that render blackberry 10 incomparable.

  6. I believe the last Blackberry I saw was a few years ago, sitting in the water off of a board walk in the Everglades in FL….I guess it wasn’t worth risking the ‘gatters to retrieve it.

  7. Hey Guys! I own a Blackberry classic in Pakistan! Here 3G network are still supported.. Will my BlackBerry run for some basic tasks or it would be completely useless overnight?!

  8. I loved Blackberry 10. I was super sad to see it go and Blackberry phone’s went android. I still own 2 that no longer get any use. I remember when people were upset at learning and using swipe gestures to navigate on the phones. Today that’s all you see. Blackberry 10 was ahead of it’s time I guess.

  9. It is interesting. Last year when the VCF held its VCF East event, in the consignment area an individual was selling a table of stuff at prices that the buyer would offer the selling desk, six BB devices. Each of two styles, a friend bought three and I bought the other three. I knew that 3G was going away RSN, probably by April or May of this year, but BB going dark in three days? Amazing!

  10. It’s been a long time since I’ve owned a black berry but it’s sad to see them pull out of the race I thought it was always a unique phone. Well now down to Motorola and Samsung

  11. My Q10 works just fine after the supposed EOL. Previously, I used it as a very basic cell phone, I don’t need it for much, calls, texts, voicemail, checking weather, odd lookup, etc. I have a laptop for anything more, I don’t use my cell like that. I did make sure that my cell was restored with NO connection or reliance on BBID. I wiped all of that. I never used any of those functions anyway – that’s what my laptop is for. As long as I don’t have to restore it again, I’ll be fine.

  12. Hey; which model of Blackberry would be best if the only thing I’m interested in using it for is writing? Cheap would be great, especially since it sounds like there should be a lot of no-longer-phone-functional units.

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