In a not so shocking turn of events, Canadian company BlackBerry has officially given up on the hardware business. This means that they will no longer develop or make phones internally.
Instead, BlackBerry is looking to outsource that resource-intensive task to partners.
We’ve already had a taste of this – the DTEK50 is essentially a re-badged Alcatel Idol 4S with a slightly different appearance and BlackBerry’s more secure interpretation of Android running on top of Google’s mobile OS. BlackBerry’s last, internally developed phone was the Priv, which did not do well in the market.
“The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a statement.
BlackBerry reported a net loss of $372 million, with a revenue of $334 million. Adjusted for certain items, BlackBerry essentially broke even, on an adjusted revenue of $352 million.
While the decision isn’t a big surprise given that Chen has been predicting the end of BlackBerry’s hardware commitments quite a while now, it’s still saddening, especially for folks who grew up with the brand.
BlackBerry once had legions of fans around the world, and their devices were the defacto phones for productivity focused professionals. In 2009, the brand had 1/5th of the world’s total marketshare. Today, they have less than 1%.
Much like Finnish brand Nokia, BlackBerry failed to anticipate the impact of both iOS and Google in the mobile space. To be fair BlackBerry did try and integrate Android into their phones but by then, it was too late.
While there will still be BlackBerry phones in the market, they will no longer be developed in house. The company will focus on their more profitable software division instead.