BlackBerry to Stop Making Classic Smartphone

One Step Further Toward Eliminating BB10 Operating System

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BlackBerry will no longer manufacture the BlackBerry Classic, a beloved, updated model of the original that made the company a smartphone leader before Apple entered the scene.

Chief Executive Officer John Chen introduced the Classic after joining the company in 2013, bringing back the raised-button keyboard that BlackBerry enthusiasts loved, and which his predecessor, Thorsten Heins, let fall by the wayside with his push to full touch-screen devices.

The decision to end production of the Classic is one step further toward eliminating the BB10 operating system, which will now only be running on the Passport model, in a pivot to newer phones running on the Android platform.

"The Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today's market," Ralph Pini, general manager for devices and chief operating officer, said in a blog posting. "We are ready for this change so we can give our customers something better."

BlackBerry is still on track to deliver the next version of its BB10 software next month with a second update to follow in 2017, according to the memo.

One of the biggest group of Blackberry fans over the years has been government workers, due to the phone's reputation for security and its finger-friendly keyboard. Now it seems even senators will have to give them up.

An email to senate staffers last week said that once the company depleted its current stock of about 600 BlackBerry phones, there would be no more more BlackBerrys issued, except in the case of warranty exchanges, according to the Wall Street Journal.

-- Bloomberg News

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