BlackBerry confirmed that it will no longer make its Classic smartphone, while yet again failing to provide a firm commitment to new devices running its BlackBerry 10 platform.
Ralph Pini, general manager for devices at BlackBerry, said that the smartphone has “long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market”. It will no longer be manufactured, although some inventory is still in the channel – BlackBerry’s own online store shows it as still in stock.
Unveiled late in 2014, BlackBerry Classic saw the return of BlackBerry’s familiar QWERTY keypad.
Although Pini said that the company will “actively support BlackBerry 10 with software updates”, with version 10.3.3 due next month and a second update to follow next year, the company has not launched a new device using the platform for some time. In the meantime, it has introduced its first Android-powered device, Priv, which features enhancements intended to appeal to BlackBerry’s enterprise customer base.
While in some ways BlackBerry’s reticence to confirm the demise of BlackBerry 10 is understandable – enterprise customers look for stability – it has now reached the point where the writing is on the wall.
With regard to its Android activities, in its last conference call BlackBerry chief John Chen promised an update “more in the July timeframe” – meaning it could be imminent. He also indicated that two smartphones will be announced before the end of the current financial year, and they are “not going to be high-end”.
One of the real issues for Priv is that it was too expensive for broad enterprise deployment.