Mobile

Almost a decade later, BlackBerry ends support for its classic phones

That old-school BlackBerry you're clinging to will no longer be able to make calls or send texts, and will lose 911 functionality.

Legacy BlackBerry software and services will lose support in January. 
Josh Miller/CNET

BlackBerry phones have been declared dead many times over since falling from the height of their popularity more than a decade ago, but the company is finally ending service for its legacy devices this week. 

Starting Jan. 4, phones running BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry 7.1 software or earlier will "no longer reliably function" on carrier networks or over Wi-Fi, the company said in a support FAQ. This means the phones will no longer be able to use data, make phone calls, send text messages or make 911 emergency calls. 

To be clear, the BlackBerry phones impacted are old. BlackBerry 10, the last version of mobile OS released by RIM, came out in 2013. RIM discontinued its BlackBerry line in 2016 and shifted its focus to security software under the name BlackBerry Limited. 

In 2016, Chinese manufacturer TCL picked up the license for the BlackBerry Mobile brand and released the BlackBerry KeyOne and BlackBerry Key2. These phones, which run Android, aren't impacted by end of service for legacy BlackBerry software and services. TCL, however, stopped making BlackBerry phones in 2020 and said it would support devices until August 2022. Security startup OnwardMobility then picked up the BlackBerry Mobile brand, saying it would release a new 5G BlackBerry Android phone in the first half of 2021. That phone has yet to materialize. 

You can find more information on BlackBerry's FAQ page about the end of life for its legacy software and services.