BlackBerry stops production of Classic handset

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The decision comes 18 months after the handset was launched in December 2014

BlackBerry has officially stopped the production of its Classic handset just 18 months after the device first launched.

The handset marked the Canadian manufacturer’s return to releasing devices with a qwerty keyboard. Running on the BlackBerry 10 operating system, it came just a month after John Chen replaced Thorsten Heins as the company’s CEO.

BlackBerry’s decision to cease production was announced by COO and GM Ralph Pini yesterday (July 6). Pini claimed the device had passed its lifespan. He wrote: “To keep innovating and advancing our portfolio, we are updating our smartphone lineup with state of the art devices.

“As part of this, and after many successful years in the market, we will no longer manufacture BlackBerry Classic. For many years, Classic has been in our portfolio. It has been an incredible workhorse device for customers, exceeding all expectations.”

“But, the Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market. 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.”

The decision follows a turbulent period for the manufacturer. Individual sales of the Classic have never been revealed. However, overall hardware shipments had declined from 13.7 million in 2014 to seven million last year. Analysts expect total sales at the end of this year to top just 3.2 million. BlackBerry had also reported losses of $670 million in its last quarter.

Chen had recently set a target for the hardware division to become profitable over the next year, and warned it could be axed if it could not reach this goal.

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