Blackberry never make smartphone again

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It is now official. Blackberry would no longer make Blackberry phones.

That sounds like an old song set to auto repeat on a cracked CD. This is because for a long time now, people have been predicting the death of the Blackberry phone. But it never quite happened officially.

Blackberry never make smartphone again
Blackberry headquarters, Waterloo, Canada

The Smartphone maker struggled grimly and held on to what it though was its rightful place.

The appointment of John Chen three years ago was seen as a last-ditch move to save the makers of the original smartphone. Chen did his best. He rescued the company from total collapse and gave every one hope that even if the hardwares failed, softwares can still do the trick.

Softwares were Chen’s specialty. Some would say his appointment was to serve as an undertaker for the hardware side of the business and use his strengths to build up the software division.

Blackberry never make smartphone again
John Chen, Blackberry CEO

Which is exactly what happened. The statement by John Chen announcing the discontinuation of the Blackberry phones was part of the second quarter results of the company.

The financial results were dominated by how the software division was doing great with a future so rosy you’d forget this is a company talking about profits in terms of millions of dollars when at its peak six years ago, profits were counted in billions. All the billions largely from the sale of Blackberry phones.

Part of that statement read:

We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy. Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold. In Q2, we more than doubled our software revenue year over year and delivered the highest gross margin in the company’s history. We also completed initial shipments of BlackBerry Radar, an end-to end asset tracking system, and signed a strategic licensing agreement to drive global growth in our BBM consumer business.

Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum, including our first major device software licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia. Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. 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,”

Just one sentence to announce the end of an era.

History of mishits

Blackberry never make smartphone again
Blackberry 850: first Blackberry phone

The fall of Blackberry is somehow linked to the rise of the iPhone, touchscreen phones, Androids devices and apps.

The released of the first Blackberry 850 in 1999 was like a revolution in the phone industry. No phone at the time came with a superb keyboard and the ability to send secured emails. These are things we now take for granted.

Blackberry never make smartphone again
History of Blackberry revenues

But the advent of the iPhone with its touchscreen in 2007 saw a shift in consumer taste. Join that with the emergence of Android and the millions of free apps.

Blackberry tried to buck the trend claiming its own phones were unique and it is that uniqueness that would make people to keep on buying them.

Blackberry never make smartphone again
Blackberry Market share in 2010

Like it is always said in technology, lack of innovation would kill you. And so it proved with Blackberry. They stuck with a system that was going nowhere fast.

Blackberry Android Phones

Making the Blackberry Priv was seen as a last, vain effort to capture the minds of users with the marriage of an iconic name and a popular OS.

Blackberry never make smartphone again
Priv, First Blackberry Android phone

The Blackberry Priv, the first Android phone from the company, also sported the iconic keyboard and the famous security features of Blackberry phones. But it was too late.

Sales were very poor due mainly to the price and the fact that consumers had so many cheaper and better alternative.

So what does this mean to the Android phones that were to be released this year? It is very likely the world would not see these two mid-ranged phones from the company.

Perhaps, if there is going to be a new Blackberry Android phone this year, it is going to be a branded Blackberry phone made by manufacturers in Asia.

Which is in line with what John Chen said is the future of Blackberry phones. The brand would be licensed to companies who are ready and willing to make smartphones with the Blackberry brand stamped on them.

Blackberry on the other hand would continue to develop the software side of the business which is doing quote well considering everything.

 

image credit: www.theverge.com; utbblogs.com; telegraph.co.uk; highcharts.com; thestar.com

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