Well, it was bound to happen eventually: BlackBerry has announced it will stop designing its own phones and focus exclusively on software - a move that comes following a $372 million loss last quarter.
It's hard to imagine nowadays, but back in the early 2000s, BlackBerry reigned as king in the smartphone world with its QWERTY-equipped handsets powered by the in-house BlackBerry OS. However, things began to take a dive after Apple and Google entered the fray with the iOS and Android. Over the last half-decade, the company has tried to adapt by building a more advanced and touch-friendly operating system, even going so far as to adopt the Android OS last year, but it was of little avail and mainstream consumers ignored the phones.
Now, BlackBerry exists as a mere shadow of its former self. In 2009, a time when it was already stagnating, it controlled a fifth of the phone market. Now, according to estimates from Gartner, the company claimed a paltry 0.1 percent of the last market in the second quarter, equating to about 400,400 sales.
And it is with that in mind that CEO John Chen decided to stop producing phones (that task will be outsourced) so it could focus exclusively on software.
"The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners," he said in a statement. "We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy. Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold."
It's a smart move on BlackBerry's part - in contrast to the $372 million loss in the second quarter, the company is actually on track to deliver 30 percent revenue growth in software and services for the full fiscal year.
To be clear, however, the news that BlackBerry will cease producing hardware does not mean that the company will no longer be a consumer tech company. Why? Because that already happened years ago. For the past several years, BlackBerry has been marketing its phones toward businesses and governments while bolstering its reputation for security.
For example, the company's most recent phone, the DTEK50, was really just a clone of Alcatel's Idol 4 with BlackBerry branding, but it also featured DTEK software, which provided protection from malware and other security issues that Android-powered phones are susceptible to. It also came with the DTEK app, which allows users to get a quick overview of the security status of their device and address any potential issues before they become actual problems.
So what's next for BlackBerry?
Before it moves on to software, the company has the DTEK60, which features a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4 GB of RAM. Afterward, it has a few things planned, such as BlackBerry Radar, which provides "end-to-end asset tracking" for the internet of things, and BlackBerry Hub+, a productivity suite for Android.