BlackBerry has basically admitted defeat when it comes to QWERTY keyboards.
The company has just confirmed it will stop making the BlackBerry Classic, one of its most iconic smartphone models with a QWERTY keyboard for inputting text. The Classic, which launched in 2014, looks very similar to the Bold 9900 and harks back to the days when most smartphones came with a physical keyboard and a smaller screen. It has a 3.5-inch screen set atop a hardware QWERTY keyboard and navigation keys.
Keep in mind BlackBerry has continued to push handsets with physical keyboards, despite consumers being all about smooth panes of glass and touchscreen experiences. BlackBerry was once king in the smartphone arena, but ever since the iPhone launched in 2007, it's lost its stranglehold and has in fact transitioned from being a smartphone-maker to a vendor of security and management software for all types of mobile devices.
BlackBerry’s COO and GM for devices, Ralph Pini, confirmed the Classic will be axed via a blog post after news leaked over the weekend about the US Senate finally ditching BlackBerry handsets, which Politico described as 'dinosaur' devices. “Sometimes it can be very tough to let go,” Pini wrote. "For many years, Classic has been in our portfolio. It has been an incredible workhorse device for customers, exceeding all expectations."
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Pini added: "After many successful years in the market, we will no longer manufacture BlackBerry Classic... [It] 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."
In other words: BlackBerry's not entirely done with smartphone manufacturing. It's ramping up a new series of phone designs based on Android and BlackBerry 10 platforms. John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, even has a grand plan when it comes to BlackBerry's upcoming Android smartphones.
“We’re going to build the most secure Android phone that the market can see," he said in June, during BlackBerry’s annual meeting with investors.
So, goodbye to Classic - and hello to secure BlackBerry Android phones.