Blackberry to ditch Classic keyboard smartphone

Blackberry says 'change is only natural' as it announces plans to discontinue the Blackberry Classic

Emma Boyle
Wednesday 06 July 2016 10:27
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A customer's email to Blackberry requesting a refund went unanswered
A customer's email to Blackberry requesting a refund went unanswered

Fans of physical smartphone keyboards everywhere will be tapping out their sorrow as Blackberry has announced that it’s planning to discontinue its Classic model, the last Blackberry handset to feature the traditional keyboard and trackpad dominating the face of the phone.

The news was announced on a corporate blog post written by the Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Devices at Blackberry, Ralph Pinni who said that though “sometimes it can be very tough to let go [...] change makes way for new and better experiences.”

The Blackberry Classic was originally released in late 2014 in an attempt to appeal to consumers who might prefer the good old fashioned tactility of a physical keyboard and trackpad in a touchscreen dominated smartphone market.

Blackberry doesn’t release the sales figures for its individual phone models so it’s not easy to say how the Classic performed, however, considering the handset side of its business is in state of decline and it announced a quarterly loss of $670 million only last month, it can’t have been selling well enough to justify its continued production.

This is yet another sign that Blackberry is, probably quite rightly, turning the bulk of its attention away from hardware towards software. Despite falling sales, the company’s chief executive John Chen refuses to abandon handsets completely with plans to release two mid-range Android powered phones before the next fiscal year is out, likely in the hopes of turning a profit or at the very least breaking even.

Pinni said in the blog post that Blackberry is stopping production of the Classic because it’s ready to give its customers “something better” but finished up by encouraging anyone that wishes to cling onto the traditional Blackberry keyboard phone just a little longer to check with carriers for device availability or purchase an unlocked version from the company website.

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