Blackberry has decided to stop manufacturing its iconic phone, the Blackberry Classic. The company publicly announced the decision after a U.S. Senate memo about Blackberry discontinuation was leaked to the media.
Ralph Pini, the chief operating officer and general manager for devices at BlackBerry, soothed fans in a blog post writing that “the hardest part in letting go is accepting that change makes way for new and better experiences.”
Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Phone
The Blackberry Classic was one of the first smartphones that consumers eagerly adopted. Long before the Apple iPhone became a must-have for all walks of life, the Blackberry dominated the work and personal lives of many.
The Blackberry was first notable for its design. It perfectly blended a fully-functional mini physical keyboard with a screen that was larger than average for phones at the time. In fact, Blackberry Classic was the phone that introduced the masses to using apps. The Blackberry Classic came equipped with calendar, contacts, and time keeping features unrivalled by any other device at the time.
Blackberry Classic brought forth up a new era of smartphone use, especially among the business users. In the early 2000s, as internet penetration rates were rising worldwide, Blackberry was a market leader in phone manufacturing.
An End of an Era
As it is with all electronic devices, the Blackberry was soon replaced by iPhones and Androids. The smartphone market quickly shifted to sleek phones with touchscreens, virtual keyboards, and web-based apps. Blackberry Classic, with its bulky design and physical keyboard, soon lost its popularity. The company continued to manufacture Blackberry Classic, mostly due to the phone’s historic reputation, not because anyone wanted to buy.
A handful of diehard fans held onto the Blackberry, but the phone simply could not compete with the Android, which last quarter saw 84 percent total smartphone sales worldwide, compared to 0.2 percent sales for Blackberry. These rates are calculated after the Blackberry Classic was relaunched in 2014, hoping to capitalize from traditionalists. However, the Classic phone is no longer a sound business idea for the company.
What’s Next for Blackberry?
Blackberry is only discontinuing the new devices running on BlackBerry OS 10—namely Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport, and Classic—according to the memo. Support for these devices will be continued into the foreseeable future, the company told carriers AT&T and Verizon. Blackberry will continue to provide full and uninterrupted technical and warranty support to all Classic devices.
The company will also continue to sell the current stock it has of Blackberry Classic, which amounts to 275 devices. The Blackberry platform, of course, will continue to make newer phones for contemporary consumers. The company has assured fans that the physical keyboard will stay with future devices as well.
Industry insiders, on the other hand, are deeply skeptical about the Blackberry OS future as well. The company has failed to keep up with innovations, unlike other smartphone makers. Also, Facebook pulled out of producing apps for the Blackberry OS, along with older Android versions. The future is extremely uncertain for Blackberry if it cannot offer popular apps like Facebook to its users.
Here’s a short video about the history of iconic Blackberry phones: