Blackberry is leaving the hardware business.
Lovers of the famously addictive Blackberry physical keyboard can let out one last whimper, as the company just announced that they are quitting all internal hardware development. so in one fell swoop, Blackberry just killed all aspirations of a Blackberry Priv follow-up device and a second Playbook (though to be honest, this was never in the picture.)
Blackberry will not design any phones inhouse anymore but will outsource this task to partners. Thiis is neither new nor strange. Their most recent device, the DTEK50 is basically a rebranded Alcatel. Much like the rumoured Nokia brand rebounce, device production will be licensed to other manufacturers. It pledges, however, that it will continue ruling its turf: design and retail of ultra-secure systems for the enterprise (and by trickle, the consumer) market.
Blackberry had been on a steady decline a few years back, a slide that climaxed in a switch to Android, totally abandoning their Blackberry 10 OS in favour of the more popular and app-full Google one. They were once titans of the mobile world, ruling the enterprise part of it while Nokia, it’s main contender back in the day, sorted out the rest of us masses. What they failed to do is build an app-centric OS like Apple and Android. Its saving grace came in the form of Android and its steady hand on developing secure systems.
They say they will keep doing these systems as their primary business model. Recently, they launched an Android version of their popular Blackberry Hub service. It is on a freemium model and you can try it out right now.
Despite its promising stand on software and service development, it is still not doing so well. Blackberry is reporting a net loss of $372 million on revenue of $334 million this quarter. We will wait and see, however, how its new hardware and software strategies pay out in the coming months. The launch of its rumoured DTEK60, a DTEK50 followup is imminent. Crossing my fingers for Blackberry.