BlackBerry is to stop making phones


BlackBerry is to stop making phones - ending 14 years of business that at one point saw the brand as one of the biggest mobile manufacturers in the world.

However, BlackBerry's market share has been decimated in recent years by the explosion in popularity of iOS and Android devices, with users moving to touchscreen smartphones and away from BlackBerry's physical keyboards.

(Altaf Qadri/AP)

The Canadian firm's chief John Chen said that it will now focus on software, outsourcing hardware manufacturing to its partners.

"We are focusing on software development, including security and applications," Chen said.

"The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital."

BlackBerry stormed to prominence first among professionals who used the physical keyboard to quickly respond to emails while on the move. At its peak, there were around 85 million BlackBerry users according to analyst figures. Since then however, user number have more than halved to around 23 million in March of this year.

In an attempt to turn the phone business profitable again, BlackBerry also launched its first Android-powered phone last year. The PRIV also aimed to offer enhanced security, but failed to prove a hit with consumers.

BlackBerry's decision to outsource the design and manufacturing of phones will see them follow a process similar to what Google does with its Nexus line of devices - building the software to run on them, but leaving all aspects of design and manufacturing of the hardware to others. Google has linked up with the likes of LG and HTC to make Nexus devices in the past.