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Mike Polk Jr. says farewell to the BlackBerry

This week, the company ends support for their classic devices - thereby rendering BlackBerrys little more than Canadian Calculators that play Tetris

CLEVELAND — Today, we mourn the passing of a dear old friend: the BlackBerry. 

At the same time, it's more of the end of an era. Well, to be fair, the Era ended about eight to 10 years ago, but for some of us, it still feels pretty fresh.

The Ontario-Based company BlackBerry, which is indeed still a company, announced that as of this week they will stop running support for all of their classic devices, thereby officially rendering BlackBerrys little more than Canadian Calculators that also play Tetris.  

A tragic end for what was once considered cutting-edge technology.

With its sturdy frame and satisfying, clicky, physical keyboard the phone was so popular back in its heyday that it earned the nickname "CrackBerry” due to its addictive nature.

In retrospect, that nickname was probably problematic and inappropriate but it was the early 2000’s and none of us knew any better back then, so cut us-in-the past a little slack.

The signature QWERTY keyboard appealed to business professionals looking for flexibility to work outside the office, which made them the perfect accessory for the insufferable 2004 businessman on the go.  

More than that, BlackBerrys became a status symbol.  Mega-Celebs like Kim Kardashian, and even Barack Obama were both notoriously inseparable from their BBs, with the former President even famously refusing to give up his Blackberry upon taking office.

At its peak in 2012, BlackBerry had more than 80 million active users and controlled 50% of the U.S. market.

So, what happened? How did this once-dominant device go the way of the eight Track Player and The LaserDisc? The answer arrived in 2007 and it was wearing a black mock turtleneck. 

Apple’s introduction of the iPhone began the touchscreen revolution causing keyboard phones to fall from favor, as consumers moved toward devices with larger displays, better graphics and wider app offerings, leaving the once-proud BlackBerry behind in the technological dust.

But some of us soldiered on, resisted the Siren Song of the trendy iPhone and held onto our BlackBerrys like grim death. Why? Many reasons: First and foremost, of course, is because we are stubborn and detest change. But we also genuinely preferred the tactile keyboard of the BlackBerry, its simplicity, and the fact that, unlike the vexingly delicate iPhone, you could drop one of these into a toilet, then off the Terminal Tower observation deck and it would still work just fine somehow. 

But not anymore. For today, this BlackBerry is silenced. I mean, except for whatever music I already had downloaded onto it, I think I have an old Fallout Boy album on there, maybe. But regardless, it can no longer function as a phone, even if I wanted it to. 

So rest easy, dear friend. Your work here is done. You had your moment, and you met that moment. And while it’s true, you might not quite compare to the iPhone, take comfort in knowing that you were a distinct improvement over the flip phone, and the palm pilot. And I hope that offers you solace.

This marks the end of our ceremony, for those of you who wish to join us for the burial, we will be caravanning to Edgewater Beach park, where the deceased will be placed on a raft, set aflame and pushed out to sea towards its motherland of Canada, for its final repose. Thank you all. 

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