Is It the End of BlackBerry Phones?
My friend’s BlackBerry suddenly stopped working
In January 2021 I helped a friend find the best offer online for a specific phone brand and model, a BlackBerry Porsche Design P9983. It is a model released in 2014, with BlackBerry OS 10, a physical keyboard, and a screen of just 3.1 inches. It’s the one you can see in the image of this story.
At the time my friend bought the phone, the price was around 600 dollars. He used the phone for about 1 year: from January 2021 to January 2022. In The first week of January 2022, he had to reset to factory defaults for some reason (such as writing the wrong password too many times) and when the operating system (BlackBerry OS 10) restarted, there was no skip button anymore to skip the screen where the phone tries to connect to the BlackBerry servers.
We tried different methods to revert the phone’s interface to its previous state. The battery was taken out and placed back in, we tried a new factory reset and we tried with a WiFi connection, and then using a data connection. Nothin worked.
As I have found later, doing some online research, it seems that the original BlackBerry servers, that the phone is trying to connect to when it is booted, are no longer functional. This is the reason why, after the phone boots and the BlackBerry OS is initiated, you cannot skip the phase when the phone tries to connect to the servers. As a consequence, you cannot use the phone, because you don’t reach the operating system’s environment.
I tried to help my friend and took the phone to one of the best smartphone repair services in town, where I know the service guys. They told me that they tried everything, even some hacking to get into the operating system, but without any success. My friend ended up with a dead phone. A premium smartphone, but still a dead phone.
Looking online for more answers, I found out that BlackBerry stopped the support for classic devices running BlackBerry OS up to version 10 this year, which is the case for Porsche Design P9983 as well.
The company was actually out of business from the year 2016, but continued to offer licenses to other companies and provide support for its devices. It seems that the support stopped on the 4th of January 2022, as a consequence of servers shutting down.
To answer the question I posed myself in the title of this story, the answer is for sure affirmative: yes, this is for sure the end of BlackBerry phones with BlackBerry OS, while the ones using Android may still work.
This is indeed a sad thing for the people who own such devices and especially for the real fans, who loved the unique characteristics of these gadgets and their software.