BlackBerry, smartphone pioneer, finally hangs up on its classic devices

There have been several attempts to reinvent the brand as a modern smartphone, some with and some without hardware keyboards, but none have caught on. These Android-powered devices, including the Priv and Keyone, will continue to work after this week.

As for those still clinging to their old BlackBerries, it’s finally time to look for a replacement. As BlackBerry — which is now a company focused purely on enterprise security — noted in its reminder statement this week, the sunset for these devices has been a long time coming.

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In fact even if the company wanted to keep supporting the devices, many are old enough that the wireless signals they relied on are being retired or replaced. Several models of BlackBerry, for example, used 2100MHz 3G networks, which some Australian telcos have already decommissioned, with the remaining 3G infrastructure to disappear in the coming years. When that happens many cult retro phones, including Microsoft Lumias and early Samsung Galaxies, will be reduced to boxy paperweights even if their batteries are somehow still going.

But as old BlackBerries finally switch off for good, their legacy is with us every day. By allowing people to send emails and accomplish a range of work tasks no matter where they were, BlackBerry kicked off the technological blurring of personal time and office time that these days — with every device capable of connecting you to your colleagues and everyone else — is practically complete.


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