BlackBerry will no longer manufacture its Classic smartphone

By Shawn Knight
Jul 5, 2016
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  1. BlackBerry is finally letting go of the past. The Canadian handset maker said on Tuesday that it will no longer manufacture the BlackBerry Classic, a retro-styled smartphone released a couple of years ago.

    Ralph Pini, chief operating officer and general manager for devices at BlackBerry, said the hardest part in letting go is accepting that change makes way for new and better experiences. In order to keep innovating and advancing its portfolio, Pini said they are updating their smartphone lineup with state-of-the-art devices.

    Naturally, the BlackBerry Classic didn’t make the cut.

    Pini acknowledged the fact that the Classic (and its BBOS predecessors) has been in BlackBerry’s stable for years, describing it as an incredible workhorse that has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market.

    Pini assured users that they will continue to actively support BlackBerry 10, noting that they are on track to deliver version 10.3.3 next month followed by a second update in 2017. If you recall, BlackBerry released its first Android-powered smartphone, the Priv, late last year.

    BlackBerry launched the Classic in late 2014 as a throwback aimed at the company’s traditional consumer base. It was more or less a BlackBerry Bold with a larger display, faster internals and a longer-lasting battery.

    Curiously enough, it arrived at a time when the former smartphone titan was trying to reinvent itself. Rather than focus on something totally new, BlackBerry elected to mirror a design that was beloved many years ago. Most would agree that BlackBerry fell from grace for this very reason – relying on its pedigree instead of trying to remain competitive via innovation. Hopefully it has learned from those mistakes.

    Permalink to story.

  2. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,560   +862

    Seriously, blackberry still has a place in the market with physical keyboards - if they can make a more affordable handset with a physical keyboard (thats actually a good phone), and get the product in more average-consumer markets, they might find themselves actually selling more phones again...
    Reehahs likes this.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,324   +711

    "Ralph Pini, chief operating officer and general manager for devices at BlackBerry, said the hardest part in letting go is accepting that change makes way for new and better experiences."

    Really? Because that sure as hell isn't what they've done for the past four years. Blackberry first managed to take what should have been a modest success in the Classic and crippled it beyond hope. Instead of OS 7 app emulation we got half-baked Android emulation. They removed the "exit" function for apps, forcing users to micromanage OS 10 phones just like Android devices. The transition to a mish-mash of Android and Metro UI conventions was bad enough but a multitasking experience that emphasized poorly designed gesture controls on a phone with physical buttons defied belief. Frankly, BBOS 10 never had a chance. Team Chen followed up that debacle with an even bigger one: they actually managed to make Android harder to use. They took a relatively straightforward Android experience and added a miasma of unwanted gestures and a bizarre, Metro-esque task screen. The PRIV's hardware, ironically, is actually pretty decent (if overpriced). The cursor-controlling keys are quite clever but a small virtual touchpad on the screen would have been cheaper, more versatile and simpler to implement by far. But the crippling blow was its basic inability to function like a Blackberry. At launch the PRIV had no single-character backspace function. Let me say that again: you could not backspace on character at a time. Hitting the backspace key deletes the entire previous word. Let that sink in for a moment...a text editing feature that can be found on every smartphone since Nokia invented them is missing from Blackberry's current flagship.

    At this point your best hope of getting something akin to a traditional portrait QWERTY experience is probably a Samsung Galaxy S6/S7 Edge Plus with the keyboard addon. You won't even have to relearn anything...the layout is taken directly from Blackberry.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,676   +780

    Perhaps they will also change the company name and logo from Blackberry to Dingleberry .... seems fitting.

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