OPINION: Blackberry has been obsolete for years

Blackberry is dead! …Again. The once hot commodity of modern day technology is ending its manufacturing process this summer. But is this necessarily a bad thing? 

Blackberry started off strong and ahead in the smartphone race, starting off with the BlackBerry Curve in 2007. But after the huge success of the Blackberry Bold Touch in 2011, the company fell quiet for two years. They then returned in 2013 with the release of the Blackberry Z10 (an eyesore to say the least). The phone was completely touch screen with a large notch on both of the top and bottom of the phone making the small touchscreen feel even smaller. The phone was running Blackberry’s new operating system “BB10”, which wasn’t terrible, but compared to recent advancements in operating systems from Android and Apple, the software was below par. Even if you put these issues aside, the biggest problem with Blackberry’s new phone was that it was already obsolete. The Apple iPhone 5s was released the same year as the Z10 and it was already using newer SIM card technology, better building materials for its outer shell, a quad core GPU, touch ID sensors and a built-in smartphone assistant. Blackberry stood no chance in the competition. The only thing the company had going for them was their beloved physical keyboard, which had been scrapped for the Z10. 

Blackberry was hurt by the release of the Z10 and desperately tried to get themselves back in the race. In 2014 they made their screen bigger and brought back their keyboard with the “Blackberry Passport.” The new phone was up to date with its hardware, but its OS continued to lack. The new phone was following the trend of getting larger in length, like all other flagship smartphones at the time, but the biggest oversight on Blackberry’s part was making this phone too thick. The Passport was over two millimeters thicker than Apple’s iPhone 6. Its already large size made it awkward to be carried around, and the thickness just added to the inconvenience. Blackberry had once again missed the mark. 

Finally in early 2015 Blackberry released the Blackberry Leap. An all touch screen smartphone that once again had outdated hardware, a painful to navigate OS and an even thicker body than the Blackberry Passport. It felt as though Blackberry didn’t care anymore. They weren’t listening to their customers and they weren’t striving to make the improvements needed to compete with Apple or Android. 

In late 2015 Blackberry decided to embrace its competition. The company discontinued its BB10 operating system and began using Android OS and finally put an end to the stressful annoyance that was BB10. Fans rejoiced hoping this was the dawning of a new era, which it was. The phone came with up to date hardware and a hidden keyboard that slid out from within the phone’s body. The hardware wasn’t as fast or powerful as the iPhone 6, Nexus 5X or Samsung S6, but it did offer fans a nostalgic experience and was a step in the right direction. 

So why, after five years and three phones that could actually compete on the market, is Blackberry stopping production? There are a number of reasons, but the biggest one is they just aren’t making money anymore. The latest flagship phone from Blackberry has been a success among long term consumers. It brought back the classic keyboard, with up to date software that was easy to use, while providing a fast and powerful experience. And for everyday people it should be enough, but it isn’t. Apple and Android have continued to release phones far superior to the Key2. The competition is still very steep and Blackberry isn’t selling enough models to stay afloat. This problem comes from the sad fact that it took them too long to make a good smartphone. They had more failures than successes, causing lots of patrons to jump ship and subscribe to a better phone company that met their needs. After finally figuring out what they needed to do, it was too late. People had become familiar and comfortable with their new phones and they weren’t going to abandon that for Blackberry. 

So now it’s 2020. TCL has announced that production on Blackberry phones will end in August and warranties will be honoured until the end of 2022. Blackberry’s future looks bleak. They could make a comeback and return with a new manufacturing company. But once again this creates a large gap, allowing customers more time to change over to Apple or Android. The Google Pixel line of phones runs the same OS as Blackberry’s phones, and not only is it faster, but the phones have more features. Blackberry had its time in the sun. There are many more advancements to be made in technology and the last thing we need is them coming back and repeating the same painful process of making smartphones that just aren’t good enough.

Blackberry’s extinction is a step in the right direction for phones. While their beloved keyboard can be applied to new phones, it’s hardly practical anymore. Digital keyboards on full screens are the trend. With Blackberry gone, its developers and manufacturers can focus on creating new and exciting pieces of technology that are up to date, easy to use, and practical to have in your hands. In a world full of folding screens, wireless charging and 5G networks, the last thing we need is a new Blackberry phone. 

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About Joseph Dellavecchia 7 Articles
Joseph DellaVecchia is a second year Journalism student at Sheridan College, and co-host of the podcast Sheridan Stars.