Blackberry Died, But I’m Still Using One

Blackberry phones are officially dead from January 4th, 2022, but mine is still going. Yeah, I still have a Blackberry. I love it. It is in many ways the perfect low-distraction phone.

On a Blackberry you can do everything you really need and nothing else. This is a feature, not a bug. On my Blackberry I can quickly text and email people, make calls, get reminders, and look up something in a pinch. And that’s all.

I don’t watch videos, I don’t instant message, I don’t check social media at all. When I’m bored I check email, which is boring. Today people have apps and settings to help them use their phones less, but a Blackberry does this by default. There’s simply nothing to be done.

Yes, Blackberry’s are dinosaurs, but dinosaurs were cool. It’s a shame to see it finally go extinct. As their announcement said:

Updated December 22, 2021: As a reminder, the legacy services for [my phone] will no longer be available after January 4, 2022. 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.

Now, it’s two days later and my Blackberry hasn’t bricked. I can still take calls and use my calendar, though I haven’t tried 911. I think their point is that you can’t expect the device to work from now on, and don’t call them when it messes up.

I say it’s a shame because Blackberry was the last phone standing between smart and dumb. You can still get an old-school Nokia, but I used one for a year and typing absolutely sucks. You can get keyboard phones running Android, but that’s just a bad smartphone. Blackberry was the last thing in the middle, an integrated device that was neither ‘smart’ nor dumb.

I liked it because it let you keep the functional, vital parts of a smartphone (showing an email ticket, sending messages quickly, looking a number up) and stripped out the distractions.

Of course I still do the distracting stuff, I just do it on my own terms, on an iPad or computer. The distraction isn’t always in my pocket. With smartphones, we can do anything at anytime but are unable to focus on anything, ever. The phone is always interrupting us.

On the other hand, whenever my Blackberry interrupts me it’s usually A) actually important or B) boring, so I just get back to life. Which was the point. These things were supposed to make our lives easier, not take them over, as they have done.

That’s why I’ll miss Blackberry. I’ll clutch my zombie phone until it’s finally, finally, done. Blackberry is dead, but long live my Blackberry. The last king of the livable land between ‘smart’ and ‘dumb’.