BlackBerry Classic's death blow; can Android save the company?

blackberry classic

Shocking, I tell you, it's shocking. After only 18 months, BlackBerry is stopping production of its BlackBerry Classic smartphone -- you know, the one that still has a physical keyboard. Who would have guessed there wasn't a market for that?

In IT Blogwatch, we sound the death knell.

Want the background? We read the obit in RIP: BlackBerry kills its Classic phone:

Handheld phone, loved for its...keyboard and hated for its terrible web browser, dies at age 20. Was once the go-to device of millions...It was a good run. But the BlackBerry that you...knew and loved has passed away.
BlackBerry announced on would no longer make the BlackBerry Classic -- a model that used the old QWERTY keys and was popular before the age of touchscreen smartphones.
The Canadian tech company formerly known as Research in Motion has been struggling for years due to increased competition from Apple...Samsung and other companies.

Wait, smartphones with actual keyboards are still around? Don't feel bad if you didn't know -- few people did. Catherine Piner explains Blackberry's reasoning for having a phone with a QWERTY keyboard this day and age:

In 2015, BlackBerry made a retro reversal, releasing a new, familiar-looking model called the “Classic.” This throwback offered a physical keyboard and a slightly slimmer but still-clunky look...eyeing an older business crowd that missed the precision of a keyboard...and sturdiness of the old phones’ black synthetic material, the company made a leap to see if there was a market that it was missing.
Suffice it to say, the market wasn’t there. So once again, the BlackBerry Classic is disappearing.

So what's BlackBerry's next move? Ralph Pini, COO and GM for devices at BlackBerry, clears everything right up:

We are committed to the success of both BlackBerry 10 and Android devices. To keep innovating and advancing...we are updating our smartphone lineup with state of the art devices.
The Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone...We are ready for this change so we can give our customers something better -- entrenched in our legacy in security and pedigree in making the most productive smartphones.

Great, but what does that actually mean? Jacob Siegal spills the beans: planning one Android phone every quarter for the next three quarters.
The first, codenamed expected to go on sale in July or August at a budget price...Argon, the second phone, has significantly more impressive specs...Sources believe it should launch some time in October.
Mercury, the third and final phone...has fairly moderate specs, but the big news is that this 2017 device has been said to include a physical keyboard.

At least one person, at least, is upset over the demise of the BlackBerry Classic. Richard Quest wears his emotions on his smartphone:

Noooo @BlackBerry announced the death of the Classic. The end of civilisation.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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