Clarification yet again... you will NOT be able to upgrade your BlackBerry 4, 5, 6, 7 Smartphone to BlackBerry 10

No BlackBerry 10 For You!
By Kevin Michaluk on 22 May 2012 11:29 am EDT

Don't be sad... it'll be more fun to upgrade to a new BlackBerry 10 phone anyway!

In the past 24 hours I've literally received three emails and twice as many tweets from readers asking me if they'll be able to upgrade their BlackBerry 7 phone to BlackBerry 10 when it comes out later this year. 

The answer is still no. Seriously. This isn't news. There should be no surprise here. It's been *crystal clear* since Research In Motion unveiled the BlackBerry PlayBook on September 27th, 2010 at BlackBerry DevCon that devices on the existing BlackBerry OS would not be upgradeable to the new QNX-based platform. It is a new platform. A fresh start. Period.

BlackBerry 7 (and BlackBerry 6 and 5 and 4 for that matter) phones are all built on the old Java-based BlackBerry OS. The BlackBerry 10 platform is built upon the QNX platform that first powered the PlayBook/BlackBerry Tablet OS. From there, at BlackBerry DevCon 2011, RIM re-christened the platform to be called BBX, a clever name combining BlackBerry with QNX. Due to prior trademarks, RIM had to drop the BBX name and yet again re-branded the new platform, this time to BlackBerry 10 (X does equal 10 afterall in Roman numerals).

While BlackBerry 10 does skip over BlackBerry 8 and BlackBerry 9, I'm *guessing* the similiarity in naming convention to BlackBerry 7 is one of the factors contributing to this false hope that BlackBerry 7 phones will get an upgrade. Also, you can't really blame new BlackBerry 7 owners -- especially those buying a phone this year -- for thinking and hoping that their brand new device should get the software upgrade that's only months away. But trust us, it won't. And also trust us, it *is* for the better in the grand scheme of things. We want BlackBerry focused on building a platform for the future - not one that keeps the past alive.

I don't like to think of BlackBerry 10 as a continuation of the BlackBerry 5, 6, 7 naming convention though. I like to think of it as BlackBerry 10... as in this baby is gonna kick so much ass it'll score TEN outta TEN on every tech review you see of it. :)

So don't be sad BlackBerry 7 owners... even though it might cost more to force an early upgrade to BlackBerry 10, I think it's going to be worth it. Besides, buying a new phone will be better for the economy (and RIM stock!) than upgrading your existing phone. Plus it's more fun to buy a new toy anyways than upgrade an old one. Let's just hope RIM and carriers put some compelling trade-up incentives in place to ease the pain.

Reader comments

Clarification yet again... you will NOT be able to upgrade your BlackBerry 4, 5, 6, 7 Smartphone to BlackBerry 10


PlayBook OS1 = BlackBerry 8.
PlayBook OS2 = BlackBerry 9.

Next...BlackBerry 10.

I bought 3x Bold 9900's in December (signing a 2 year contract) knowing full well about BB10 and that I'd need to buy 3 of them outright.

I welcome it! Have to cut the legacy cord sometime!

Lol. I like your logic. Totally.. PB OS 1 = BB8, PS OS 2 = BB9. That's hilarious and awesome.

Also like your attitude... totally agree. Gottta cut the cord... time for BB to grow up into the platform it's meant to be!

Why doesn't RIM just sell all OS7 devices for half price now. That will for sure move some of their OS7 inventory out of the door.

Although your system may not hold true forever if there is some PlayBook os3 (but they might just bump it to bb10) it still sounds like a good way to look at it to me. Boldly sent from my 9930

True, however PlayBook OS 1 was their first QNX attempt at a mobile BlackBerry OS.

PlayBook OS 2 brought us Android, email, etc etc. Enough of a difference to set it apart from 1 to not be 1.5.

BlackBerry 10 will be entirely new experience as well. From there the updates won't be as major for a while, so the next OS update won't be BlackBerry 11, but more back into the normal update pattern.

And this is just outsider talk because really X = 10 so BBX = BB10.

Confused in VA...I thought that VZ was phasing out grandfathered unlimited data plans, especially those going to 4G. Help me out here?

You have to end support for backward compatibility at some point or else you can't move into the future.

BTW, Kevin looks like Justin Bieber in that photo.

No surprise here. I am more concerned about application availability (ie Netflix, etc) than whether I can upgrade an older device.

OS 7.1 is perfect for the BB 9900 so why would you want BB 10 on that screen? I have a PB to hold me over until BB 10 comes out.

be interesting in the phone shop come september time then...

would you like a new bb10 device, or a bb7 device or a bb6 device....

whats the difference??

well....... 90% of the blackberry phones on display are now out of date and wont be updated, but heres a nice shiny new expensive bb10 device, which is bit like an android device but with out all the apps...

BB10 is still an OS name that doesn't fly in my opinion...BBX is a perfect name, sounds catchy for an OS name, BlackBerry 10 just sounds like its the same old OS they have been using, just the 10th major update...I don't think they will change it, but I really hope they are looking into possibly renaming BlackBerry 10 before it's commercial release!

I said in a post before that BBX may still be used...much like BBM was...Initially BBM was just BlackBerry Messenger and they never used the short form of BBM until consumers started saying it and it caught on, then BlackBerry used it...BBX could be the same thing if we Crackberry users push hard enough! Just always refer to BB10 as BBX and one day we may get our wish!

BBX is still by far the best OS name for this system as Kevin stated its, Blackberry and QNX mixed...its perfect and sounds hip and exciting! They should just throw some millions at the company to retain the rights to BBX lol

I agree... BB10 is a stupid name. Okay, maybe they can't use 'BBX', but they can at least call it 'BlackBerry X' OS and leave it to the blogs/media to shorten it to BBX. As long as RIM doesn't call it that 'officially', they aren't infringing on any patent...

Hopefully they'll rename it as something else before it launches...

Very true, besides nick names aren't self given, others give them too you. As long as people call it BBX that is cool and dandy.

Now will BB10 drop on the 10th of October?

i'm okay with not very catchy name just make sure the product is amazing. RIM please just make 1 full touch screen and 1 front keyboard. That's it.

I agree. BB10 sounds like a carryover/update, not a new OS. Something like "BerryX" would be more catchy. (Do I get a royalty if they use it?, lol)

Now once this is 'general news' to the phone-buying crowd, good luck in selling a BB. Why would anyone want to sink $500+ or get locked into a 3 or 2 year contract when ALL the Blackberries are already obsolete? At least give your new customers an upgrade path. And for those who didn't know... way to piss off current customers.

You're not Apple, RIM. You can't just take out serial ports and floppy drives. And even they made OS X backwards compatible with the older PowerPCs for a while.

"For those who didn't know, way to piss off current customers?"

Sorry, I don't think so. RIM made it abundantly clear even before OS7 came out that they were working on a new OS and that any existing phones would not be able to upgrade it. This information wasn't hidden from the consumers. It was spoken loudly in the media, press, and any number of tech sites.

You would have to blind, dumb, and deaf to be unaware of this fact. Hell, even when the 9900 phone came out, there were people questioning why anyone would buy one when OS10 was literally just around the corner.

There is nothing negative for RIM here; and unlike a certain fruit company that claimed 4G only to be forced to change to "Wifi + Cellular" - read that to mean that they lied - RIM has been completely honest, truthful, and upfront in this matter.

I will always be a blackberry user!!! PERIOD!!!
Im a bold 9900 owner, and if i'll have to buy a new phone to enjoy BB10 at the end of the year i will definately buy it.

11/20/2012 is my daughter birthday ... I'm sure she'll LOVE my 9900 ;-)
Ok, I'm a tightwad :-( she'll get BB10 on her (gifted) Playbook then :D

And speaking to all of you out there on BlackBerry OS 4.x devices... UPGRADE YOUR DAMN PHONES ALREADY! Us developers are sick and tired of still having to support you (given that there are just enough of you out there to remain relevant globally), and RIM doesn't even want to help us support you anymore. Every almost device running 4.6/4.7 (except the 8220) is upgradeable to 5.0, and carrying around an OS 4.5 phone is just giving the whole platform a bad impression.

Okay, stepping down from the soapbox...
As much as I'd hate to have a whole family of products (and software for them) left behind, this clean break is really necessary. I'd even go so far as to say that they should have done of 3 years ago. (If they did it then, it might have even been possible to do it more incrementally than now.) The current OS has been pushed far beyond its design limitations, and the current hardware likely has design features that are necessary to support that OS.

@Kevin: what you have covered is an OS update. Perhaps what people wanted to ask was whether the hardware of BB7 devices was sharp enough to run BB10...which i presume will not be the case either.

I personally feel that RIM needs to start allowing older devices to upgrade to at least 2 OS. I mean, we will all run out and get BB10 and when/if RIM releases a BB11. People with BB10 should be allowed to upgrade to it. RIM could be a lot stronger if people are able to upgrade their OS. It gets tiring when can't upgrade and are force to buy a new device if u want the latest bb OS

They will ice everything works on similar hardware. Right its too much fragmentation.

But that said nothing allows upgrades to everything all the time without some what better hardware
ex. Windows xp can't upgrade to 7 without some hardware changes.
Iphone 3G can't handle the latest OS or at least not the full version.
And androids are so fragmented on a few of the phones can actually run 4.0 ice cream sandwich.

So before you hate on RIM just know everyone does it. People were actually lucky that 4 could handle 5 and that 5 could do 6 although both with limitations in speed
But that said 6 couldn't handle 7. The more you hold back for older version the less advances you can make. Which was why blackberry was so slow to change

But the 3GS which is now three generations old supports iOS5 and I believe it will support iOS6 as well. Having said that, RIM made the right decision cutting the cord here. They royally messed up by not allowing OS4, 5, and 6 upgrade to the latter versions. People that say they hate Blackberry are users with OS4/5 phones, 6/7 is such a better OS, particularly the Web Browser. This has really left people with a bad taste in their mouths. Holding on to my 8900 looks like it might have been worth it if I can hold on a few more months.

Why would anyone think that they could update their OS7 BB to BB10? If that WAS possible, it would be a terrible sign for the future of the BB10 platform...

I thought it is not possible to upgrade to 10 because 4+5+6+7 =22... So, can I upgrade to OS 22 from one of those?

I aint upgra'ding to som bbx if rim will not providez meh with a phyzzikal keybaordz! :/ ~I will if they do thow ;}

I love my Bold and the BB10, which will be awesome for sure, is six or seven months away. Further, HTML5 is the future and it will allow apps to run on BB10, Playbook, and OS7 devices.

I say, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. I love my Bold 9900 and Playbook combo.

+1...but will still be upgrading. Some just don't get it...i love how i can tether my PB to my 9930. Some iPhone/iPad users i know get really peeved by that when im surfing from my pocket with no wifi in sight! LOL! GET THINGS DONE!

You would think BB users would be used to this by now. OS 5 devices couldn't upgrade to OS 6 and OS 6 devices couldn't upgrade OS 7. This was all usually because RIM used hardware specs that were just enough to support the current OS that it was designed for. I think now that RIM will be using much more robust hardware, the new BB10 phones will be able to be upgraded to at least the first major update.

Don't fret. When I sold my 9700 on Ebay, I got received emails offering to buy all kinds had of them for $125.
These were from people in SouthAmerica where the BB is thing to have and a big market for used ones.

So she the 10 comes out, one should be able to sell whatever earlier one they have.

Torch 9810 on AT&T
Playbook 64 with OS2.0

Why the surprise? Back when BBs were at the top, most of the devices were OS 4.5. None of those got 5.0. Devices that started with 4.6 & 4.7 had upgrades to 5.0, but none of those got BB6. None of the BB6 devices upgraded to BB7. Even without BB10 being anew platform, this really shouldn't be news

i have been using my BB9000 for 3 years and my contract ends in Dec. I am hoping I could swap over to a new BB10 with physical keyboard to replace my obsolete 9000

This is lame and your explanation is sub-par.

"BlackBerry 7 (and BlackBerry 6 and 5 and 4 for that matter) phones are all built on the old Java-based BlackBerry OS. The BlackBerry 10 platform is built upon the QNX platform that first powered the PlayBook/BlackBerry Tablet OS."

The software it currently runs has nearly nothing to do with the software the hardware has the capability to run.

I have the Torch 9810 which basically has the minimum specs expected of my PlayBook. Either the hardware for the Torch is just not compatible with the QNX platform (which is highly unlikely) or RIM wants to auto obsolete their old products which makes sense in a support sense.

If you were a product developer you'd know why. It is hard enough getting a new platform out on one reference device, having to back-port it for all the other hardware out there just makes the job impossible. The fact is that OS 7.1 on the 9810 does everything that the 9810 hardware can do. Why change to an OS and UI designed for large all-touch screens?
When Apple moved from 9.2 to OS X, 9.2 was crappy (it was obvious that nobody in Apple wanted to work on updating OS 9), but OS X ran like an arthritic sloth on systems designed for OS 9. It was awful. If you upgraded, not only was OS X terrible but running the virtual OS 9 in a window was a once only and never again experience. If Apple hadn't invented the iPod, they'd have gone the way of companies like DEC, Atari or SGI.
I imagine RIM has learned from that. Make 7.1 about as good as it can be, block upgrades.
Your motorbike didn't become obsolete because your new car is a hybrid and you can't put a hybrid engine in the bike.

Now i'm enjoying my bb9900 and going to wait for bb10 keyboard-based devices and 10.1 :)

BBX will be able to handle all the upgrades that come after...
Buy the BBX name already...or call it something like BlackBerry NXT, as in 'next', the future, etc...
Or BNX...or something. How about BlackBerry QNX? QNX OS?

Any idea if BB10 is going to work with BES, or will we need server software, or *gulp* will it just use Active Sync like the Playbook currently does (which sucks).

no one in good state of mind would think that they could upgrade from OS4 OS5 OS6....... they're so slow and the phone don't have enough memory

What would be the point if you could continue updating your phone indefinitely be just like the newer one? It's called built in obsolescence.

Ah the art of making users want to buy newer products before they actually need to... RIM also seems to have found the key ingredient to speed it up: releasing already deprecated hardware at luxury prices!

Hi Kevin, I'm the #1 Blackberry fan far in Brazil. I admire your work, the CrackBerry nation is my daily digest. I'm a Blackberry user since 8700g and after that I had the Storm and now I'm standing with the Torch anxiously waiting for the more expected Blackberry of all times. Keep it up!

That's a given... Considering the low specs of each and every single BB phone ever made it'd be a feat if it had the power to run the same OS as the Playbook unless it was seriously put on a diet... or lagged terribly.

At most the latest Bold and Torch (with their humble single core 1.2 GHz CPU and 768 MB RAM... which is the best specs put in BB device produced to date) could somewhat not be enough for the feat (or at least no able to deliver a smooth experience).

I don't care that my 9930 won't be able to upgrade,But will there still be support for our OS systems? And what happens to Beta?

This is my first post here, and I am commenting only to say that this is COMPLETELY unacceptable and infuriating. I upgraded from an old Curve to a Torch 9810 only back in December, as the Curve was barely creaking along. And certainly not upgradeable from OS 4.5 either.

And now my phone will be obsolete in only a matter of months? With an app selection that is - if you can believe it - worse than when my 8330 was new? The fanboy praise in these comments is simply nauseating. This decision simply amounts to a huge slap in the face of existing BB users.

Just sell your 9810 on ebay. you will get good money for it. this is what i will do with my 9810. it makes sense that new os10 will not run on 9810 or 9900. i am sure os will need more memory and processing power. i might wait for os10 phone with physical keyboard before i upgrade my "old" 9810. i am sure that "old" blackberry phones will be supported for many years to come. 1. because they will still be in production and 2. there are 75mil of them :)

I'd settle for a buy back to upgrade to 10. This looks to be a really sweet GTD tool and would be a great addition to my arsenal.

BB os7.1 runs stable on my 9900 paired with my pb and fills my needs and that's all I care. I have noticed when upgrades are available on older devices (all os devices). It does crash more frequently or maybe it's just bugs donno. I'm excited to see what post java will be bringing to the next generation of bbs


Just buy a new blackberry when your upgrade becomes available and enjoy the new experience (including OS 4,5,6,7), then get another one when BB10 comes out. Is it that difficult to do? If you don't have the money, save up.

I am so close to buying another 9930 since I acted rashly and sold my 9930 to buy a DROID Bionic so I could practice with a good touchscreen before BB10 comes out. Now I like the DROID very much; 4g fast, large screen etc etc............BUT I want my 9930 back!! Not one single person I actually know or interact with has a BlackBerry (lots of ithingys and Droids) so none of them can understand my overwhelming desire to kick myself wherever I can reach!

Even if you get a BB10 when it comes out, hang onto your BOLD!! This is gonna cost me big time!

Thanks Kevin. Thought I could add a little comedy to a beaten down subject that people have a tendency of ignoring until they want a bb10.

Wow Kev,

After reading this, I'm not as sad as when I got the reply from you yesterday.

I totally agree, although it's gonna be a letdown for not being able to upgrade the current BB7s, but hey, it's the best for RIM & the stock. I'd love to see that stock rise-up again in Bloomberg ;). Let em show to the people that RIM is not dying, like what those mean people always throw at us.

BB10 (& of course BB7s..) all the wayyyy......

Been a BB Bold user for years. This news has definitely made me decide, I'm moving over.. So long RIM.

I returned to BBOS7 with a 9930 after having a palm pre + then an iphone 4 (previous Storm then Tour owner). I missed the BB experience and how it worked. The 9930 is an awesome piece of kit once set up right. Then thanks to the phenomenal info on this forum I picked up a PlayBook. My old iphone is awesome as an ipod and app time killer. The combo of of the bold and pb are phenomenal - and on a 3G unlimited plan! No rush here for RIM's new savior - though I really hope they kick some major butt and as Thor H says "Rock and Roll this!”

:((, i had buy bb 9860 :((, i can't upgrate to OS 10, i hate Rim... i will save money to buy Os 10 or i will buy blackbook

Microsoft did it with their Windows Phone and HTC probably suffered the most because of this. In RIM's case, they have made it abundantly clear and rightly so that the BB10 is not going to be a refresh of the legacy OS.

It is a bold & much-needed refresh. Sure, most users who purchased the OS7 devices will be affected by this. But, the weakening battery life over a year or two and normal wear make that shiny new OS7 device look too good to resist. Not to mention, the interest of the mobile user being constantly bombarded by the carriers and handset makers, the average smartphone life has lessened over the past 8-10years.

Doh, RIM do it again. It's too late now by the sound of it but BB10 is a stupid name for the new OS. Isn't it obvious?

Here we are with a BRAND NEW operating system which bears no link with BB5, 6 or 7, and they go and continue the naming system. This automatically makes the people in the street, who know nothing about the subject and care even less, that it is just an upgrade of the old BB system. Which everybody thinks is old hat and left for dead by iOS and Android. Ergo, BB10 is old hat too. So, if they don't like BB7 or whatever they think is inside the Blackberry phone because it isn't cool enough they ain't going to like BB10 either. No amount of persuasion at the point of sale is going to make them think differently -except a completely NEW naming system. Like QNX 1.0. Or something. And in that respect, memorable names like Chrome or Ice Cream Sandwich are far more catchy and cool than geeky numbering systems. I can't make head nor tail of BMW or Mercedes car naming systems but we all know what a Ford Focus is (in Europe at least).

About the only good think about BB10 is that it is short and snappy. But that's it.

Jeez, if RIM want a marketing manager I'm available for a small fee.

For almost 5 years, I'm loyal to RIM but when OS6 can't upgrade to 7, damn! a piece of shit. now I bought an OS7 and can't upgrade to BB10, what another piece of shit. I'mma get out of RIM. Damn! Money maker company. better buy an andoid or an apple.

I'm stoked for BB10. New OS gets new hardware. Pretty simple concept to me. But people that complain about having to upgrade confuse me. BB10 won't make the older devices obsolete, they just won't be as capable.

i can use all type of os android 4.2.2,windows8.0,ios 7,java etc.
but blackberry torch 9810 is my best phone with os 7.1.
it is simple os.
and its battery life is also batter then android.
i can do both of things in this mobile fone touch and type.
and its display is also nice.