Blackberry ends manufacture of iconic smartphone

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Sept 29, 2016 (LBO) – BlackBerry says it will no longer manufacture the iconic smartphone and will instead outsource the function to partners.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company will prioritize software development, including apps and security.

“We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy,” Chen said. “Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold.”

The Canadian company, which helped usher in the smartphone era 20 years ago, made the announcement during its second-quarter earnings report.

Revenue of 352 million dollars missed Wall Street forecasts, while Non-GAAP earnings per share were even for the quarter, beating analyst estimates of a loss of 5 cents a share, USA Today reported.

Second-quarter sales of the device dipped to 400,000, while in its latest quarter, Apple sold 40.4 million iPhones.

Once dominant with more than 50 percent of the global market, the company was valued as high as 83 billion dollars. But the long, gradual decline of BlackBerry paralleled the rise of iPhone and Android phones. The company is now worth about 4.1 billion dollars.

It attempted a comeback in 2013 with the launch of a touchscreen-only smartphone as well as its BlackBerry 10 operating software.

A good deal of the device’s appeal was security. Chen told USA TODAY last year that BlackBerry relied on the heads of state and government in developed countries to stay loyal to the phone because of its security features.

According to Forbes contributor Ewan Spence, although the enterprise-focused DTEK50 was running BlackBerry’s software, the hardware was a reference design by TCL (which was also used by Alcatael for its Idol 4 smartphone).

Specifications for many Android smartphones show similar chipsets, memory configurations, screen options, and peripherals.

Low- and mid-range Android handsets are almost at commodity levels with an ‘off-the-shelf’ mentality to their construction. These handsets rarely rely on hardware to differentiate the manufacturers in the market, it’s almost always in software.