The era of smartphones with beautiful keyboards, trackballs, and trackpad came to an end yesterday when Blackberry announced that it will stop making hardware internally.
The Canadian company incurred heavy losses in the second quarter of 2016 and, as a result, has decided to quit the smartphone making game and concentrate on apps, software, and services.
"Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications," Blackberry CEO John Chen said. "The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital."
Blackberry's financial report suggested that it had posted a revenue of $334 million with a drop of more than 30 percent as compared to the previous year. Even in the quarter that ended in May according to the Canadian financial year, the revenue was $400 million.
This doesn't mean though that you won't be seeing any Blackberry branded phones. Recently the company released the DTEK50 smartphone which was produced by Taiwanese company TCL. The phone's design was based on Alcatel Idol 4 but the software and branding were Blackberry's.
After the company's attempt to push BB10 had failed, it brought out the flagship Android phone, Blackberry Priv. Although the phone was applauded by the critics, the high price and competition from other Android smartphone makers didn't work in its favor. The company ended up missing sales target by a big number.
All of which goes to show that smartphones without a good app ecosystem are slowly dying. Nokia's Symbian met with a similar fate, and a recent report by the market intelligence firm, IDC, suggests that the share of phones running on Microsoft's Windows Phone OS dropped worldwide as well. According to some unverified reports, Microsoft is going to kill the Lumia line of phones and release a new Surface phone in 2017.