BlackBerry officially halts ‘internal’ hardware development, outsourcing the ‘function to partners’
Having trouble grasping our euphemism-packed headline, taken almost verbatim from BlackBerry’s latest quarterly financial report? In layman’s terms, it basically means BlackBerry phones as we know them are dead.
No, the recently released DTEK50 and fast-approaching DTEK60 don’t technically count, setting up a new stage in the once thriving Canadian company’s evolution, where its brand and actual hardware production are “outsourced to partners.”
These include TCL, Alcatel’s China-based parent, which rebadged the Idol 4 to combine “BlackBerry’s unique security, privacy and productivity with the full Android experience in an all-touch design”, and thus create the self-proclaimed “world’s most secure Android smartphone.” Also, a newly formed telecom joint venture called BB Merah Putin tasked with manufacturing, distributing and promoting BlackBerry-branded devices in Indonesia.
Other licensees may join the two-name list down the line, although you probably shouldn’t expect any tier 1 OEMs jumping at the chance to do all the heavy lifting while BlackBerry prospectively scores the unlikely brand recognition.
As for the reasons that prompted John Chen’s decision to pull the plug on, say, an in-house Priv sequel, focusing instead solely on software development, look no further than the June – August numbers. In the three-month window, BlackBerry’s “Mobility Solutions” division posted an $8 million loss, just the latest in an extremely long line of quarterly missteps, with “Software & Services” and “SAF” (service access fees) segments balancing the checkbook by yielding $29M and $66M profit respectively.