QWERTY Keyboard BlackBerry Classic Is Discontinued

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

Follow on: Google +

BlackBerry Classic is abandoned as company takes next step in bid to stay relevant in smartphone amrket

BlackBerry is discontinuing the BlackBerry Classic smartphone to focus on other devices in one last attempt to stay relevant in the market.

The BlackBerry 10-powered handset was an attempt to appeal to the company’s core audience, boasting a QWERTY keyboard that was the trademark of the phones manufactured during its late-2000s heyday.

But the company’s attention has increasingly turned towards its software and services business, with CEO John Chen admitting it could exit the smartphone market if its fortunes do not change soon.

Review: BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry Classic“To keep innovating and advancing our portfolio, we are updating our smartphone lineup with state of the art devices,” explained Ralph Pini, chief operating officer and head of devices. “As part of this, and after many successful years in the market, we will no longer manufacture BlackBerry Classic.

“For many years, Classic (and its BBOS predecessors) has been in our portfolio. It has been an incredible workhorse device for customers, exceeding all expectations. But, the Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market. We are ready for this change so we can give our customers something better – entrenched in our legacy in security and pedigree in making the most productive smartphones.”

BlackBerry Classic

Image 1 of 8

BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry was once the market leader in smartphones but its market share has shrunk to less than one percent in recent times. While Apple, Samsung and others were able to erode BlackBerry’s advantage in security and compliance, BlackBerry’s perpetually delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system meant it was unable to offer devices that had the features end users desired.

BlackBerry says it is still committed to updating BlackBerry 10 but in recent times it has moved towards an Android-led strategy with the critically-acclaimed but less commercially successful Priv. There are also suggestions it is looking to build mid-range handsets rather than high end, premium smartphones.

Chen has repeatedly cast doubt on the future of its handset business and has reportedly given it until the end of the year to be profitable.

Think you’re a BlackBerry expert? Take our quiz!