It took some time to reach this point, but the BlackBerry Classic is officially dead.
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In a blog post on Tuesday, BlackBerry's chief operating officer and general manager for devices, Ralph Pini, said that BlackBerry has decided to stop manufacturing the BlackBerry Classic. The company, however, will continue to build smartphones that feature "state of the art" components.
"For many years, Classic (and its BBOS predecessors) has been in our portfolio," Pini said in a statement. "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."
Those who still want one can purchase a Classic from remaining carrier stock or on BlackBerry's website. Existing owners will continue to get software updates, the company says. Version 10.3.3 is expected next month.
For years, BlackBerry has tried in vain to catch up with Apple and Google in the mobile OS game. Though it was once the dominant force in smartphones, BlackBerry missed the touch-screen boat that set sail with the iPhone in 2007. When it did release a touch-screen device, the BlackBerry Storm, it failed to impress.
Adding insult to injury was the delayed rollout of BlackBerry 10 and disastrous launch of its PlayBook tablet. It tried going back to basics with the all-new BlackBerry Classic and the unique, square BlackBerry Passport in 2014. But the company eventually acknowledged that most consumers no longer want BlackBerry-based devices and released the Android-based Priv.
BlackBerry's focus of late has been on the enterprise and bringing its software, including BBM, to other mobile operating systems.
Looking ahead, Pini says that while "it can be very tough to let go," BlackBerry needs to move forward. His strategy will be to expand the choices available to customers, focus on the security, and use the BlackBerry brand as an anchor point.
"These are the tenets that help keep us focused and the reasons why we are committed to the success of both BlackBerry 10 and Android devices," he said in a statement.