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If you're clinging to an old BlackBerry, it will officially stop working on Jan. 4

Thorsten Heins, then-CEO of Research in Motion, introduces the BlackBerry Z10, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 in New York.
Mark Lennihan
/
AP
Thorsten Heins, then-CEO of Research in Motion, introduces the BlackBerry Z10, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 in New York.

That old BlackBerry buried in the bottom drawer along with loose batteries and forgotten chargers won't work anymore starting on Tuesday.

The company behind the once ubiquitous devices reminded customers that on Jan. 4 it will stop running legacy services for its BlackBerry 7.1 operating system and earlier BlackBerry 10 software, as well as its Playbook OS 2.1 and earlier versions. This means devices using this old software will no longer reliably function, including for data, text messaging and phone calls, including to 911, BlackBerry said.

It's a change that has been a long time coming.

BlackBerry announced the end was near for its old devices back in 2020 — as the company had last launched a new version of its operating system in 2013. In 2016, the company transitioned to a security software focus under the name BlackBerry Limited.

For some, this may represent the end of an era.

Owning a BlackBerry was once considered a status symbol among politicians, business leaders and everyday users. Customers largely abandoned the device and its full external keyboard and small (by today's standard) screen once smartphones came on the scene.

The sleeker iPhone launched in 2007, and BlackBerry struggled to compete as consumers sought out the device that could easily download music, videos and maps. In its first three months out, Apple sold more than 1 million iPhones. In response, BlackBerry attempted to develop products that were similar to other smartphones — some with touch screens, others with slide-out keyboards — but they all struggled to catch on with consumers.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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