BlackBerry phones to stop working as company pulls plug after two decades

Credit: AP

Blackberry smartphone users will no longer be able to call, text or use Wi-Fi as the once-iconic mobile is finally discontinued.

The handset, which was one of the most popular brands when smartphones became widely available in the late 2000s, will not be available from January 4.

Its end comes within the same 24 hours Apple became the first $3 trillion company - having passed the $2 trillion milestone just 16 months ago.

"As of this date, devices running these legacy services and software through either carrier or Wi-Fi connections will no longer reliably function, including for data, phone calls, SMS and 9-1-1 functionality," a statement reads on its website. "We thank our many loyal customers and partners over the years."

At its pomp, BlackBerry owned a reported 20% of the global smartphone market and sold 50 million devices a year. As of Tuesday, it owns none, and no new phones have been made since 2016.

BlackBerry's decline has been a long time coming, with its initially popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service shut down in 2019, 14 years after launching. The arrival of the iPhone and Android smartphones gradually dented BlackBerry's popularity. Many users started using WhatsApp and other messaging platforms that were not stuck to BlackBerry.