On Wednesday, BlackBerry announced that it would stop manufacturing the namesake phones. The BlackBerry lived a long, prosperous life, and will always be remembered as one of the original smartphones. Once called the CrackBerry because of how hard it was to put it down, the BlackBerry has now been put to rest for good.
“The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” said John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry. “This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”
BlackBerry peaked between 2008 and 2010. During that time, it held 20 percent of world’s smartphone OS market share. By the end of 2010, it shipped 14.6 million smartphones around the world.
While once in the hands of every future forward businessperson and teen of the now-millennial generation, BlackBerry had been winding down since the iPhone picked up. Even when touch screens became popular, BlackBerry kept its signature mini keyboard.
BlackBerry’s first touch screen, the BlackBerry Storm, was released in late 2008, but wasn’t very well received. Then in 2013, BlackBerry caught up with the times and released a better touchscreen, the Blackberry Z10. The Z10 was a big though, in comparison to the Storm, because it used an all-new OS and was supposed to be a “reset” of sorts—though that’s not quite how it worked out. By that point everyone already had an iPhone or Samsung smartphone.
Then in 2015, BlackBerry released the Blackberry Priv. The $700 smartphone was the first to run Android, plus had a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The reviews were terrible. Then this past summer, BlackBerry released another Android phone called the DTEK50, which was grossly overshadowed by the iPhone 7 hype.
Financially the BlackBerry company is holding steady. Revenue this quarter was up from a year ago, but down from last quarter. In a press release, the company announced its plans to make BlackBerry brand devices with an Indonesian company. And BlackBerry will still develop its own secure version of Android OS to license for other companies. However, the phones themselves, were dead weight.
With CrackBerry officially dead, it’s the end of an era.
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