The smartphone pioneer BlackBerry will stop making its Classic model, the company said on Tuesday, some 18 months after launching the device it had hoped would entice users who prefer a physical, rather than touchscreen, keyboard.
Blackberry’s move is the latest shift away from its money-losing handset business and toward its software. Shares in the Canadian technology company fell more than 3% after an executive confirmed the move in a company blog post.
Colello said BlackBerry needs a hit mid-range, Android-based device. Without that, he said, the segment will likely be shut down. He said he would not expect it to be sold to another company.
The Classic was launched early last year, with a physical keyboard in the vein of its Bold predecessor and powered by the company’s own overhauled BlackBerry 10 operating system, which has failed to regain market share ceded to Apple’siPhone and others.
BlackBerry has since launched a phone powered by Alphabet’s dominant Android software and plans several more. BlackBerry chief executive John Chen last month expressed confidence the company’s trimmed-down handset business can turn a profit by a self-imposed September deadline.
BlackBerry has turned from its once-dominant smartphones to the software that companies and governments need to manage their devices. Some analysts and investors have suggested BlackBerry jettison handsets entirely.
Asked specifically about the memo, a spokeswoman for BlackBerry said its device strategy is based on a cross-platform model and it will continue to support BlackBerry 10.
Verizon and AT&T did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The company will no longer manufacture the Classic as it updates its device lineup “to keep innovating and advancing our portfolio”, Ralph Pini, who joined BlackBerry in May as its new chief operating officer and devices head, said in ablog post.
BlackBerry’s stock has withered in recent quarters as its revenue fell. In Toronto, it was last down 3.8% at C$8.55. On Nasdaq it was off 2.4% at $6.60