by Jonel Juste
He was born on January 19, 1999 in Canada (1) to Greek and Canadian parents who met in college (2). At his birth, their baby weighted 138 g. He was Black, his name was Berry. Later on, everybody called him BlackBerry.
You probably have guessed by now that I am not talking about an actual person, but rather the Smartphone that was very popular at the dawn of the 21st century. 17 years ago, if you didn’t have a BlackBerry, it’s like you didn’t have a cellphone at all, and you would be willing to give away your arm and your leg to buy one, because that was exactly what that phone would cost you, an arm and a leg.
Today, the BlackBerry is dead and, hopefully, you can keep your arm and your leg (unless you decided to sell them to Apple). However, one thing bothers me though. The BlackBerry, once a tech giant, died and nobody noticed nor paid respect. The cellphone that once called the shots silently disappeared and nobody to drop one tear, nobody to read a eulogy, nobody to remember.
Once upon a time, there was no iPhone, no Samsung Galaxy, no flat or touch screen Android to flaunt. There was His Majesty the BlackBerry. Now the King is dead.
With the death of the BlackBerry came the end of an era. The Canadian giant tech was murdered and the culprits are known. I called them Progress, Time, and the ever changing technology. Blackberry was killed by the American Apple and Google, the South Korean Samsung and their accomplices. It was also killed by the giant Facebook whose Messenger made BBM a thing of the past. Once upon a time, people didn’t exchange their phone number but they exchanged their PINs to send text messages, pictures or videos. But Facebook came along and made BBM obsolete by introducing its Messenger app that let people communicate easier and even video chat. The latest news I heard was that “BlackBerry is facing death by a billion cuts after Facebook pulled support for its social media apps from the mobile platform”, according to CNET.com (3). Facebook will definitively pull the plug at the end of this year. This is a hard blow considering that Facebook claims more than 1 billion users.
WhatsApp made the same move last March. In fact, “the decision by Facebook follows on the heels of a similar move from WhatsApp, which announced last month that it would pull BlackBerry support for its messaging app by the end of 2016”. This is even harder for Blackberry, a company that was already struggling. This means if you happened to possess a BlackBerry, you won’t be able to use Facebook or Whatsapp. How are you supposed to communicate with the rest of the world, to chat, to stream videos or to stalk people online? You would be lost in this digital world.
Back in my days, the Blackberry was so cool that even president Obama had one. Despite of security issues, Obama insisted to keep his phone when Secret Service tried to take it away from him (4). I hope he doesn’t hold to it anymore, not because of national security reasons but because it would be a technological blunder, a PR related news. If he accidently confessed he still uses Blackberry, the White House spokesman would have to make clear, in an official statement, that the president was joking, that he didn’t mean it. The BlackBerry is also known for getting Hillary Clinton in trouble, but let’s not get deeper into politics. Let’s just said that she had some issues with her damn emails (5).
Blackberry is dying slowly but surely although it really tried to survive. It even ran Android but it was too late, the tech world being so cruel and the competition so fierce. “The primary competitors of the BlackBerry are smartphones running Android and the Apple iPhone smartphone. BlackBerry has struggled to compete against both and its market share has plunged since 2011, leading to speculation that it will be unable to survive”, according to The Daily Telegraph (6). However, BlackBerry has managed to maintain significant positions in some markets, particularly in Canada, its homeland. It’s a Canadian child after all. But even in Canada, according to The Sun, some customers are considering a change like Steve who says, “I want so badly to support BlackBerry because it’s Canadian but I have been using one for seven months and have had four replacements because of defects. I don’t imagine I’ll buy a BlackBerry again”(7).
This is really the end for BlackBerry. Everything goes so fast. Today a cutting-edge technology, tomorrow an absolute garbage. The technology that filled people with pride 10 years ago is now regarded with scorn and pity.
I cry over you my friend Berry. You have lost the battle against the cancer of time and obsolescence. I want to remind everyone how great you once were. I want to commemorate your legacy. No words can describe the pain and sorrow that we feel, because we don’t really feel anything.
So long my friend. Farewell. You won’t be missed.
(You must have guessed by now that I, in fact, hated the BlackBerry).
- “BlackBerry, Wireless device”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
- Mock, Roger. “Who Invented the BlackBerry?” ehow.com. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
- Reilly, Claire (March 20, 2016). “Facebook wants to be everywhere, except BlackBerry”. CNET.com. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
- Zeleny, Jeff (January 22, 2009). “Obama Keeps His Blackberry in a Hard-Fought E-Victory”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
- Robert O’Harrow Jr. (March 27, 2016). “How Clinton’s email scandal took root”. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- “BlackBerry market share slides again amid takeover talk”. Daily Telegraph. January 30, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- “Why the Canadian love affair with BlackBerry isn’t over yet”. The Sun. January 24, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2012.