While a number of observers had predicted a possible BlackBerry shutdown, people were still taken aback when the news finally dropped. The move effectively marked the end of an era not just for BlackBerry but also for the industry in a way.
So there is now a flurry of speculation in terms of what will happen to the company. To address this, one can turn to the DTEK50 for clues.
The DTEK50 is the latest handset to sport the BlackBerry name. It is the company's second Android handset and it is distinguished by a key feature: it is manufactured by another company. This factor is aligned with the recently stated shift to software development from the previous business model where the company designs and builds its own hardware.
The DTEK50 is actually a version of the Idol 4 phone made by Alcatel. With the launch of the device, BlackBerry is in effect pursuing an outsourcing strategy, letting third-party manufacturers build its devices. In the DTEK50, the company adopted what Mark Hibben called a hybrid strategy, wherein it still exerted some degree of control in terms of the design and manufacture of components.
For example, the Alcatel variant of the DTEK50 is notorious for its poor battery life. BlackBerry has reportedly included a supplemental battery pack to address the problem. This could also include the possible input on devices that would feautre the proprietary keyboard, which BlackBerry is best known for. The company has also reportedly signed deals to tap manufacturers such as Foxconn to build its phones.
Another possible strategy involves the complete licensing of the brand. Here BlackBerry is not going to rebrand another manufacturer's handset. Rather, it will cede all control including a smartphone's manufacture, marketing, distribution and sales. The company will only profit from the royalty fees paid by handset manufacturers for using its name.
Observers such as Hibben believe that if BlackBerry pursues this last strategy, it could potentially wreck irreparable damage to the brand. This can be demonstrated in the possibility of subpar BlackBerry devices built by manufacturers eager to make a profit.
Some in the tech industry still marvel at BlackBerry's descent from the world's second largest smartphone manufacturer to its current circumstance. The company only now claims a measly fraction of 1 percent of the phone market.
The current management is gunning for a turnaround by focusing on software and services. For example, it is continuing the development of the BlackBerry software and high-security mobility solutions plus the company has embraced the Android OS.
Due to these recent developments, some are already wondering whether it will affect the rumored release of the device called BlackBerry DTEK60.