BlackBerry To Drop Smartphone Design and Build

Blackberry has said that it no longer plans to make its own handsets, as we suggested after comments in early August. (Blackberry Moves Towards Pure Software) Unique products will continue to be offered, but design manufacturing will be outsourced. New phones are expected to include the physical keyboard that has been the key feature for its own products. The company said in a talk to investors that software revenues have doubled over the last year.

Analyst Comment

Although this move makes sense for Blackberry, the reality is that the costs for someone else designing and making the same volume of smartphones as Blackberry will be exactly the same in the long term, so the sustainability has to be in question. By chance, last year at Gitex, I won a Blackberry Android phone in a competition. It seemed quite a good device, but I decided that it didn’t have enough memory, so rather than trading in my old phone, I sold the Blackberry on eBay. Sadly, that reflects the popularity and allure of Blackberry, although when I have had demos of the best of the phones, I have always been impressed. I was a big fan of physical keyboards, but the type ahead features of regular phones, plus the bigger screen real estate won me over to ‘slab’ designs as soon as I had owned one for a week or two.

After publication, we spotted this interesting chart on Blackberry’s mobile phone sales. It really says all you need to know about Blackberry’s development. (BR)

Blackberry's progress