End of an era: BlackBerry stops making phones

29/09/2016

Blackberry will no longer make handsets, as the once market leading smartphone pioneer shifts focus onto software, such as its BBM chat app.

The Canadian company has struggled to compete with the ikes of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone sector, after 14 years of making handsets.

The company’s devices were once the phone of choice for professionals, providing access to emails on the move, but BlackBerry has struggled to keep up with competition from rivals Apple and Samsung as mobile users increasingly opt for touchscreens.

John Chen, the company’s executive chairman and chief executive, said: “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.”

Chen said earlier this year that he would know by September whether the loss-making handset business was likely to become profitable.

In October 2015, Blackberry changed the direction of its handset business by producing its first smartphone running Google's Android operating system, rather than its own BB10 software.

However, Chen has admitted the device, which featured a slide-out physical keyboard, was too expensive to appeal to a mass market.

The company has since launched a less expensive touchscreen-only Android handset, based on a phone released by Alcatel owner TCL.

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