BlackBerry Isn’t Going to Make Its Own Phones Anymore

Talk about the end of an era: After dominating the smartphone market for years before the iPhone was even a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, Canadian company Blackberry (formerly Research In Motion) said Wednesday it would no longer make its iconic handsets, which have fallen out of a favor in a touchscreen era but are still prized by fans who loved the physical keyboards with the tiny buttons that gave the device its name.

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The company said it would shutter its hardware business and rely on partners to develop and build its phones in a bid to save money, CNET reports. Although BlackBerry once dominated, its market share has dwindled to nearly nothing. In the first half of this year, BlackBerry had less than 1% in the U.S. and globally, according to IDC research manager Ramon Llamas.

“BlackBerry can’t keep producing its own phones indefinitely just to serve a small subset of its clients addicted to its home-grown devices,” consultant Ben Wood told the BBC.

Earlier this year, the company attempted a turnaround by rolling out a high-end phone called the Priv that ran on Android instead of its proprietary BB10 operating system. It didn’t really gain traction with customers, even though it had a physical keyboard the company hoped would placate die-hard BlackBerry users. “We’ve seen more returns than we would like,” an unnamed AT&T executive told CNET.

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