The moves is a sudden shift from two years ago when the device was launched by the company in response to what it called a strong demand from customers that found the hard keyboard of old-time BlackBerry phones endearing even touchscreen devices flooded the market. At that time John Chen, BlackBerry president, said customers wanted to “mess around” with the features they liked best about BlackBerry phones.
“To keep innovating and advancing our portfolio, we are updating our smartphone lineup with state-of-the-art devices,” Pini wrote in his blog titled Change is only natural a classic model makes way. “As part of this, and after many successful years in the market, we will no longer manufacture BlackBerry Classic.”
He said the Classic had been the “workhorse device for many customers” and had exceeded all expectations but the phone “has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market.”
Shortly after that announcement, social media was flooded with comments, many of which lamented the canning of the Classic.
— CNET (@CNET) July 6, 2016
— Richard Quest (@richardquest) July 5, 2016
— Maclean’s Magazine (@MacleansMag) July 6, 2016
BlackBerry will likely build fewer smartphones in the near future, according to Marc-David L. Seidel, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.
In an interview with CTV, he said he would not be surprised in BlackBerry “moved further away from hardware and more towards the software backend for secured communications.”
He said the company might offer phones preloaded with software BlackBerry is promoting.
When Chen took over the Waterloo, Ont.-based technology company, he began a restructuring of BlackBerry which by then had fallen behind Apple and other makers of Android phones. The company had released a number of new phone models, even offering phones that run on the rival Android operating system, but none of them really caught on in a way that would bring back the company’s old glory days.
Chen said BlackBerry will move away from making phones if it is no longer profitable for the company. The company has since moved towards concentrating more on the software side of its business.
In the first quarter of this year, the company sold about 500,000 devices. That’s 100,000 less than it did the previous quarter, which also suffered a 100,000 decline from the quarter before that.
Yesterday, Pini said BlackBerry remains committed to the success both BlackBerry 10 and Android devices.
He said, for now, the Classic is still available and from carriers of for purchase online. The BlackBerry 10 software will continue to be updated and BlackBerry is on track to deliver version 10.3.3 of the software next month, with another update to follow next year.
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