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Blackberry Businesses

BlackBerry Says It's Done Designing and Building Its Own Phones (theverge.com) 90

BlackBerry today reported its fiscal second-quarter sales and said that it will stop making its iconic smartphones and focus on its software business. The Verge adds: BlackBerry has announced that it plans to stop making its own phones as the struggling company continues to focus on its software and security products. This is far from the end of BlackBerry devices, the production of which will be outsourced to third-party manufacturers -- as was the case with the company's recent DTEK 50, a clone of Alcatel's Idol 4 with BlackBerry branding. "The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners," said CEO John Chen in a statement. Elsewhere he stated: "We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy. Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold." This isn't surprising news considering BlackBerry's ongoing struggle in the mobile market. According to estimates from Gartner, the company claimed just 0.1 percent of the market in the second quarter, equating to sales of some 400,400 units. The last BlackBerry phone manufactured by the company was the Priv, the company's first Android-powered device, released November last year.
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BlackBerry Says It's Done Designing and Building Its Own Phones

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  • It's a shame. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr Caleb ( 121505 ) <thedarkknight@sh ... a minus math_god> on Wednesday September 28, 2016 @09:06AM (#52976035) Homepage Journal

    I like my Z10 and Z30. I really like BB OS 10. I love the way messages are organized in "Blackberry Hub"

    But if Blackberry is moving to an OS they don't write, on hardware they don't design or build - is there any reason to buy their stuff any more?

    Sad. I've had a Blackberry in my pocket since the 5790, a three line pager with the iconic keyboard. :(

    • Agreed. I'll keep my Passport until it dies - if not, they'll have to pry it from cold, dead fingers. Blackberry Hub is making my corporate life sooooo much simpler !

      • by Octorian ( 14086 )

        I switched to the Priv (Android) as a gentle introduction to a reality I'd ultimately have to accept. Of course I immediately noticed that:
        - The Passport got better cellular reception
        - The Passport had much better battery life
        - The Passport was much better at multitasking
        - The Passport never got laggy

        However, the Priv ran all the "official" versions of the software everyone wants you to be running these days... and at the end of the day, that's unfortunately all that matters.
        (Yes, I'm aware of the BB10 And

    • Re:It's a shame. (Score:5, Informative)

      by epiphani ( 254981 ) <epiphani@nOspAm.dal.net> on Wednesday September 28, 2016 @09:36AM (#52976237)

      Thankfully, they've ported the hub (and other tools such as the virtual keyboard) to android, and they're available on the play store. I've been using them for some time now - and the $1/month subscription fee is quite reasonable for what it gives me. I love the blackberry virtual keyboard, and the hub is far better than any other alternative that I've seen.

      • by cshay ( 79326 )

        FWIW I was never able to get the hub working on the BB Priv. Seems to be a problem, at least on Verizon.

    • 2003 is calling and wants its phone back. Also, time to put down that Cobal text book and start brushing up on your Go...
    • by mccalli ( 323026 )
      Yes - there's a reason. They've bought various bits of kit like Good Enterprise etc. which work well for keeping people on corporate email, intranet access, IM chats etc.. They also have server products for security, though to be honest I know a lot less of those.

      For a consumer, can't think of a reason. For a business looking for good BYOD-style options, yes - there's some decent stuff done by them.
    • But if Blackberry is moving to an OS they don't write, on hardware they don't design or build - is there any reason to buy their stuff any more?

      As long as some of those outsourced OS they don't write on Hardware they don't design or build combos has a physical keyboard, count me in.

      I have a friend who is daltonic, and is enthusiastic about the iPhone 7 because of the filters for the colour blind. I have a essential tremor, and I need a physical Keyboard, I do not care about brand or OS. Just about Phisical Keyboard, specs and Build Quality. And, so far, only blackberry makes those (other brands make physical keyboard phones, but the specs are krap)

    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      monthly OS updates and the custom blackberry software are worth it, priv and dtek50 were the first devices with patches for quadrooter and the secured boot process also mitigated the damage quadrooter could do even prior to patching.
  • Good riddance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2016 @09:11AM (#52976069)
    BlackBerry should've died the moment their CEO schizophrenically boasted about how they let law enforcement pry into BlackBerry devices while simultaneously denying that there's a backdoor.
  • Nope (Score:4, Funny)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2016 @09:12AM (#52976079)

    "This is far from the end of BlackBerry devices..."

    I suspect it's not that far.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "BlackBerry CEO John Chen has responded, ... to media reports that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police force has used a “global encryption key” to intercept and decrypt over one million “electronic communications on BlackBerry devices (Pin to Pin messaging)” between 2010 and 2012.... “When it comes to doing the right thing in difficult situations, BlackBerry’s guiding principle has been to do what is right for the citizenry, within legal and ethical boundaries,” write

    • by jofas ( 1081977 )
      This news is old AF. Not to mention everyone should have taken a clue from BlackBerry caving in to Iran and giving them their own encryption scheme with the keys to go with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just what we need, more Android phones!

    Am I the only one who remembers QNX? They used to have a decent desktop OS for x86 that booted on a Pentium II 450mhz/128MB machine in about 45 seconds. It had a full fledged GUI (Photon), and was approaching BeOS levels of speed. From what I've seen of the kernel source, it's pretty well written too.

    What did Blackberry do with it?

    Well, they turned it into a tablet OS that took 5+ minutes to boot up on a 1ghz processor with 1GB of RAM.

    How did they fuck that up so badly

    • by jofas ( 1081977 )
      two things:

      1. they tried to compete with the app-store model, got in too late, and got fucked

      2. they failed to bail out of making devices after the BBOS 9, where it was already not profitable, and focus on their excellent corporate control
    • QNX's problem is that it isn't the only RTOS out there. Vxworks is probably the biggest player on the scene.

    • by Octorian ( 14086 )

      System requirements (and boot time) aside, the BB10 incarnation of QNX actually ran really well.
      (I see the "Tablet OS" as more of a tech demonstrator, that didn't really live long once BB10 was out.)

      The problem is that they stopped putting real effort into marketing the devices (and designing new ones) about 6 months post-launch, and just coasted on inertia (and existing plans, half of them canceled) since. Once those existing projects reached completion, and the momentum fell off... well here we are.

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      Am I the only one who remembers QNX? They used to have a decent desktop OS for x86 that booted on a Pentium II 450mhz/128MB machine in about 45 seconds. It had a full fledged GUI (Photon), and was approaching BeOS levels of speed. From what I've seen of the kernel source, it's pretty well written too.

      What did Blackberry do with it?

      Blackberry bought QNX because they had a ton of cash, and the original BBOS wasn't up to competing with iOS or Android. They to differentiate themselves with a modern proprietary

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't know why they couldn't just continue to make Android devices with Blackberry features. The quality of their cellphone and software was superb compared to most Android device manufactures. I highly doubt that selling QNX can make as much money as selling smart phones.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bullshit, their phones were buggy, their encryption was backdoored, and they handed the key to the encryption FOR EVERYONE to a 5 eyes country for ONE investigation. There's zero doubt that key went to every 5 eyes partner and Blackberry messages were read and captured by all of them. The million or two messages they admit to, will be the tip of the iceberg.

      Which in turn means every password to every account sent on Blackberry is in a 5 eyes database. So all those passwords to all those servers sent using B

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Looks like I'll be keeping my Q10 until it dies. I was really hoping they'd produce a non-slider Android with a physical keyboard before throwing in the towel.

    • by Octorian ( 14086 )

      I'm still wondering what the Android-land replacement for the Q10 is.
      My wife is still using a Q10, and doesn't really know what to switch to. And yes, she hates typing on touchscreens.
      I personally switched from the Passport to the Priv, but the Priv is a bit to big for her (and the battery would likely die on her too quickly).

  • by kenj123 ( 658721 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2016 @09:34AM (#52976231)
    I wish blackberry would create a decent keyboard tightly integrated with a protective case to add to my android or iPhone. I miss physical phone keyboards very much.
    • by HBI ( 604924 )

      They sued that add-on out of existence.

      • So they own some ridiculous patent like using physical keys on any mobile device or some shit?

        • by HBI ( 604924 )

          Design patent on the BB keyboard I believe. So no matter how much you liked it, unless they produce or license the product, you're not getting one.

    • I will not miss the tiny buttons on a Blackberry Keyboard. Once I learned to Swype, it was like a dream come true.

      And if I can learn to Swype, anyone can. I have a big time small motor control problem with my hands, so typing on screen is only slightly worse than typing on little keyboards. Swype is much easier than trying finger type.

      • by kenj123 ( 658721 )
        can you swype without looking at the keyboard and see where your finger is? I can thumb type without looking at the keyboard. 100% of my focus is on the content I'm typing, not what my fingers are doing. your motor skill problem could make you an exception. If you can point out a youtube video showing a good usecase for swype I would appreciate it.
        • Old BB user here. The lack of physical kybd was my biggest worry with the new stuff. Once I got used to it, which didn't take too long, the soft kybd worked pretty well. I can type faster.

          Let's say I go to type the word "project". I start pr, and if I use "project" a lot, over the "o" will be "project", which I just swipe up and there it is. I'm quick, so often I'll have already typed the "o". In that case, "project" floats over the "j", ready for me to swipe up. And, if "protect" is a common word of mi
    • I miss them too. But I wouldn't buy one from the FBI even if it was the only one.

      Oh did I say FBI, I meant Blackberry. But really what's the difference anymore.

  • very sad, that BlaskBerry losing their popularity. It was a good alternative to the iPhone, but at this point Apple has gone far away in smartphone technology. Hopefully in the future Blackberry can still return their smartphones on the market
    • It was a good alternative to the iPhone, but at this point Apple has gone far away in smartphone technology.

      That hasn't been true for a long time if indeed it ever was true. Not just with regard to Apple either. Android phones surpassed Blackberry phones a long time ago as well. Heck even Microsoft's offering are arguably better even if they haven't been well received in the market.

      Hopefully in the future Blackberry can still return their smartphones on the market

      "Hopefully"? Why hopefully? They were an arrogant and stagnant company with products that couldn't keep up with the competition. They threw the privacy and security of their users under the bus to cater to governments around the

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy&tpno-co,org> on Wednesday September 28, 2016 @09:47AM (#52976303) Homepage

    ...probably because it's precisely what I've been saying they should do since the first android hit the shelves. They were outclassed, but they had a great corporate security reputation. They should have ditched the hardware and partnered up with an android maker to provide a corporate secure device, complete with the software backend.

    Instead, they sat around pretending their market position could never be threatened, and consequently got left in the dust.

    • but they had a great corporate security reputation

      Emphasis.

      Even if they followed your approach it wouldn't have mattered. They pissed their corporate security reputation against the wall. That was before actions this year show that absolutely nothing Blackberry is safe from any governments.

      • Wrong reputation.

        The C*O types would have lined up to throw money at BB had they made any serious software/hardware security collaborations. C*O types don't really care much about governmental meddling. Hell, as we can see from earlier stories, they don't really care about security in general; as long as lip service is paid to security, they're thrilled to write those checks.

  • I find this decision difficult to understand. I was forced to get a BlackBerry for work, ended up with a Z30. The hardware seems decent, but the absolute worst thing has always been the software. It's like the people designing the OS have never used a smartphone before. I can see the potential usefulness in some of the software for some people, but as a whole I consider their software to be their weakest point. I only have to charge this thing once a week, because I hate using it so much (ugh, remind m
    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      I find this decision difficult to understand. I was forced to get a BlackBerry for work, ended up with a Z30. The hardware seems decent, but the absolute worst thing has always been the software.

      I've heard that the corporate side for controlling, monitoring, and updating remote handsets is very good - and this is who they mostly sell it to.

    • by Maxwell ( 13985 )
      Yes. My users love the Z30/passport software, the HUB, the calendar and email management, intelligent CC'ing, intelligent meeting mode, quick notification for late meetings, quick delete of read messages it is all very well thought out. As a productivity tool it blows everything else out of the water. You can't play your games on it, sorry.
      • I almost never play games, so that's not an issue, though it would be nice to have at least one decent browser for the platform. As for the Hub, I see the appeal of the concept, but the app itself doesn't impress me. I don't use multiple accounts with it (though my coworkers that do seem to have problems) and I'm perfectly happy to have separate apps for mail, texts, and calls.

        Really, though, most of my gripes are with the UX: basic navigation is wildly inconsistent, menus are cluttered and disorganize
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      They're moving away from mobile and into other things software wise.

      In fact, Blackberry signed a contract for real-time trailer tracking. Real-time truck tracking is common, but usually it's only the tractor that's actually got the GPS unit and tracker.

      Blackberry's new device is a box that screws into the trailer and provides monitoring of the trailer itself, as well as interior sensor for monitoring temperature (critical for reefer trucks). Given trailer theft is extremely common, it's a niche that surpris

  • "Blackberry says It's Done"

    There. That is much more concise. AND Accurate.
  • by cshay ( 79326 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2016 @02:21PM (#52978739)

    Too bad. The Priv seems to be the last physical keyboard Android phone. Prior to the Priv, I had a Droid 4 which I liked even better (bigger physical keyboard still).

    Unfortunately, people like me who need to compose longer emails while on the road are a very small minority. Most people are happy typing one line "text speak" with their fingers or talking to the phone. That's not good enough for me.

    Not to mention that the onscreen keyboard takes away from screen real estate.

  • That BB management has taken 7 or 8 years to figure out what seemingly everyone else has known for years. The release of iPhone started it but once Android took off BB was done. All that money wasted developing new BB phones and then even a BB Android phone. Hubris I guess. Microsoft didn't get it either when they went and bought the Sidekick and then Nokia.
  • I know that 400 units is not a lot, but you don't have to state it twice, and if you do, keep a space after the comma.
  • Sounds a lot like Homer Simpsons boxing strategy where he lets the other guy punch him in the face...

    "OK, we've successfully been totally destroyed in the global mobile phone market, exactly how we had planned to do. Next step, world domination! Muhuhahaha!"

  • Now that they're letting a third party do it, any semblance of quality will cease to exist.

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