BlackBerry has announced that it will no longer manufacture its own phones. The former giant in the smartphone world says that BlackBerry devices will continue to exist, but their production will be outsourced to third parties. In the future, the company will refocus its business on software rather than hardware.
Sales of BlackBerry phones have dropped precipitously in recent years. Judging by the global market share of its BlackBerry OS for smartphones, the company's best year was 2009, when it held 20.1% of the market. As of the second quarter of 2016, that market share figure was down to 0.1%. During those years, BlackBerry lost ground to Android smartphones and to Apple's iPhone, which debuted in 2007.
BlackBerry's second quarter financial report indicates that the company isn't short on cash or big plans for the future. This summer, it launched the DTEK50, which BlackBerry calls "the world's most secure Android smartphone." In keeping with this announcement, John Chen, the company's CEO, notes that BlackBerry doubled its software revenue year over year. He says the company's "pivot to software is taking hold," pointing to the recent launch of BlackBerry Radar, an asset tracking system, and BlackBerry Hub+ for Android, a set of productivity apps. If BlackBerry can secure more software licensing agreements like the joint venture it recently signed with an Indonesian telecom, the company's future might be a bit less bleak than its smartphone sales numbers suggest. Just don't expect it to be a household name.