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Blackberry goes the way of the dodo

Diane Hall


Damaged blackberry smartphone

I remember my first Blackberry. Well before smartphones and their suite of applications came into my life, the best thing about my Blackberry, in comparison to the Nokias I’d had prior, was its full keyboard.

Though texting wasn’t as big a deal then as it is now, whether via our phone providers or instant message apps, I still sent them. What a ball-ache it was to create a message, prior to having my Blackberry—with three letters of the alphabet above each number on the keyboard of early mobiles. To get the letter ‘C’, you had to press number 1 three times…just imagine how long it took to tap out a message of just a sentence or two.

The Blackberry therefore revolutionised messaging. The full keyboard meant messages were three times quicker to create. I was self-employed at the time I got my first Blackberry, and I felt like I was a true, bona fide businessperson whenever I got it out to check my messages. Nowadays, everyone and their dog has at least one mobile phone, but back in 2006, they weren’t as common. In 2022 you can have a smartphone of any colour—and if it doesn’t come in your hue of choice, you can buy a case, back or skin for it, so that it does.

Once smartphones appeared, the Blackberry lost its charm. I moved from my Blackberry to a couple of different Windows phone, then I got a Samsung Galaxy—a brand I’ve remained with ever since, through various upgrades.

Raspberry and blackberries, healthy lunch in the office. Laptop, tablet, smartphone and notebook on a table

Raspberry and blackberries, healthy lunch in the office. Laptop, tablet, smartphone and notebook on a table

It seems I’m not the only one to have fallen out of love with the Blackberry. The company have announced that, not only are the phones not in production anymore, from January 4 2022, they were switching the Blackberry service off for its older devices, i.e. any that don’t use Android software. It’s surely only a matter of time before the Blackberry disappears altogether.

Blackberry was actually only launched in 1999 but it quickly became a favourite with the public. At its peak, it owned a 20% share of the entire global mobile market. Today, however, the public are used to apps and touch screen keyboards that the iPhone and other smartphone companies provide. The physical QWERTY keyboard on Blackberry models, which was what set it apart from its rivals in its heyday, is no longer revolutionary. Time and technology do not stop advancing.

The company behind the Blackberry phones have now moved into security software, which will be their main priority going forwards. In this article, I discussed how technological breakthroughs made more of an impact in the twenty years before the turn of the century than the two decades after. Businesses sometimes pivot in another direction; just because they become known for one thing doesn’t mean that’s their final legacy. For example, Nintendo initially made playing cards, Samsung originally exported noodles and dried fish, and Nokia spent its first few years making tyres and rubber boots. That Blackberry has discontinued its once-popular mobile phone in favour of a different path is not unique.

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