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BlackBerry gives up on making its own smartphones

(Image credit: Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pieter Beens)

BlackBerry, the once world renowned Canadian smartphone manufacturer, has announced that it will no longer be making its own smartphones and will instead focus on developing its software business.

BlackBerry devices will still be manufactured and sold but the company's latest devices will no longer be made in house. Instead Blackberry will rely entirely on other hardware manufacturers to design and construct its once iconic smartphones.

Before the release of Apple's iPhone and the start of the smartphone era, the company dominated the mobile phone market and its phones were considered the go-to device by enterprises and consumers. BlackBerry was never able to fully recover from its dismissal of the iPhone and the wave of Android smartphones that soon emerged on the scene.

The company has been planning to move away from the hardware side of the smartphone business for some time now and its recently released DTEK50 is a great example of how BlackBerry will operate going forward. The smartphone which was released through a partnership with Alcatel, is essentially just a reskinned version of the Idol 4.    

In September, BlackBerry's CEO John Chen foretold the company's latest move, saying: “If by September, I couldn't find a way to get (to profitability), then I need to seriously consider being a software company only.”

In a new statement, Chen further explains the new direction that BlackBerry will pursue: “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.”

Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at, commented: "In spite of a small yet loyal-to-the-death contingent of fans, BlackBerry simply couldn't survive a market dominated by two mobile behemoths.

"In a bid to ride the touchscreen boom, BlackBerry tried to diversify away from its physical QWERTY keyboard with the launch of the Z10, but abandoning its unique selling point was a bad idea, not to mention the severe lack of app support for its proprietary BlackBerry OS platform. It then pulled out all the stops with the BlackBerry Priv – a smartphone with a slide-out keyboard – but it was priced far too high to contest Samsung and Apple, and the decision to switch out BBOS for Android was too little, too late.

"But perhaps one of BlackBerry's most colossal missteps was in not making the ultra popular BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) available across other platforms from the off. It wasn't long before similar – yet cross-platform – messaging services like WhatsApp were available on every handset and BBM became irrelevant.

"BlackBerry addicts will no doubt be gutted by the news, but this is one mobile maker that just made too many mistakes." 

Image Credit: Pieter Beens / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.