This is the way the world ends. Not with a clickity keyboard, but with a swipe.
Senate staffers will no longer be issued official Blackberry smartphones.
The reign of the Blackberry lasted a good decade or more in Congress, early on due to the advanced nature of the devices and obsession with email checking. Even when the iPhone and Androids came about, the Blackberry still kept the throne for awhile because typing on those tiny little keys was faster, a mastered skill with which the iPhone could not compete. (This being government, they were slow to adopt other devices and Bring Your Own Device policies.)
Eventually, though, cracks in the dam formed and other devices started eating up Blackberry’s near-exclusive market share. Yet, unlike the rest of the country, which quickly abandoned Blackberry and sent its corporate owner towards the verge of bankruptcy, the devices still endured in zip codes 20510 and 20515. Long battery life, an email heavy focus, and good size (complete with a douchey belt holster) kept this little niche alive in the subterranean halls of the Capitol.
Outside the beltway, the market dried up. Fewer and fewer models were created, and the old models hoarded by Capitol bureaucrats began to dwindle.
The final notice was sent to staffers today.
From: Notice (SAA)
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 3:56 PM
Subject: BlackBerry Discontinuation
This message was sent to Administrative Managers, Chief Clerks, and System Administrators.
BlackBerry informed Verizon and AT&T that production of all BlackBerry OS 10 devices (Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport, and Classic) has been discontinued. Future carrier order fulfillment will not be guaranteed due to limited remaining stock.
BlackBerry device support will continue for the foreseeable future. BlackBerry is committed to maintaining their support of our devices to include uninterrupted warranty and technical support.
Once we have exhausted our current in-house stock, new device procurements will be limited, while supplies last, to warranty exchanges only.
As of June 29, 2016, our BlackBerry device stock levels are:
RIM Classic Verizon BlackBerry – 275
RIM Z30 Verizon Black BlackBerry – 160
RIM Classic AT&T BlackBerry – 45
RIM Passport AT&T BlackBerry – 45
RIM Z10 AT&T Black BlackBerry – 45
RIM Q10 AT&T Black Blackberry – 40
For offices wishing to make the transition from BlackBerry devices to other platforms, Verizon has agreed to suspend eligibility upgrade requirements for users migrating to Samsung S6 Android devices. Additionally, the $0 16GB iPhone SE has been added to the Technology Catalog, although current eligibility upgrade and mandatory AppleCare+ requirements apply.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Mobile Communications Services.
UPDATE: The folks over at Crackberry.com reached out to Blackberry about the Senate’s internal email and the company disputes the email’s claim that Blackberry 10 devices will “cease to be continued.”