UPDATE: BlackBerry has provided the following statement to Rapid Mobile.
“BlackBerry’s device strategy is based on a cross-platform model where we’ll continue to support our BlackBerry 10 platform while expanding our device offering to include Android-based devices. We are focused on software updates for BlackBerry 10, with version 10.3.3 scheduled for next month, and a second update to follow next year.
Similar to many other device makers, we are changing the lineup of smartphones as we innovate and advance our portfolio. And, we are updating our smartphone lineup with state of the art devices. As part of this, and after many successful years in the market, we have informed our US carriers that the manufacturing cycle of only our BlackBerry Classic will cease. However, we have informed our customers to check with their respective carrier for device availability or purchase Classic unlocked online. We continue to actively support sales of our BlackBerry 10 smartphones to customers in most markets. And for customers choosing our Android device as their next smartphone, there will be a seamless transition without any compromise to the security of their mobile platform or operations.
We believe that being truly cross platform, which includes support for BB10, Android, iOS and Windows Phone, will allow us to best serve our customers across the world.”
An email sent to US Senate staffers yesterday has informed them that BlackBerry smartphones will no longer be officially issued. The email was sent to Administrative Managers, Chief Clerks, and System Administrators.
While many government bodies in a lot of countries have been giving up BlackBerry smartphones, what sticks out in the email is the following part:
“BlackBerry has informed Verizon and AT&T that production of all BlackBerry OS 10 devices has been discontinued.”
While BlackBerry 10 phones will apparently no longer be produced, the email continues:
BlackBerry device support will continue for the foreseeable future and that BlackBerry is committed to maintaining their support of existing devices to include uninterrupted warranty and technical support.
This is completely in line with what BlackBerry have been stating for quite some time – that they will continue to support BlackBerry 10.
If BlackBerry have discontinued the production of all BlackBerry 10 smartphones, it will really comes as no surprise to the vast majority of BlackBerry users, as the company has become more and more entrenched towards supporting Android and iOS devices.
While BlackBerry smartphone sales continue to slump, the company has been doing a fantastic job of transforming themselves into a software company. They have been completely consistent in the fact that they will continue to support BlackBerry 10 but have been completely vague on the future of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, outside of the Enterprise. It also hasn’t gone unnoticed that BlackBerry 10 has been omitted from more and more of their software services, with no mention of any plans for another BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
There are many, many examples I could provide but here are a few of the most recent.
BBM Video calling is now globally available to both Android and iOS users, who can video call each other across both platforms. However, while BBM Video on BlackBerry 10 has been available for some time, the cross-platform facility is not available.
Only the other day, BlackBerry announced a major partnership with Emtek to bring enriched BBM content and services for Android, iOS and Windows Phones. Once again, BlackBerry 10 is omitted from the main focus. BBM users on Android, iOS and Windows Phone will gain access to:
- Content – music and video streaming, games, sports and news channels, celebrity blogs and more
- Commerce – shopping, gifting and coupons/vouchers
- Online to Offline Commerce – booking movies, travel, health services or job postings
- Finance – payment processing, money transfer, mobile phone re-charge, and utilities billing
While Emtek will be bring all this to non BlackBerry 10 users, BlackBerry will continue to advance the BBM platform for enterprise with BBM Protected.
Of course, the biggest indicator has been in BlackBerry’s recent production of smartphones. The last phone released by BlackBerry, the BlackBerry Priv, was the first phone to be released by the company that didn’t run a BlackBerry operating system but came with Android installed. BlackBerry’s upcoming two mid-range devices will also be running Android.
While many think that BlackBerry should give up smartphones all-together, BlackBerry CEO John Chen is pretty adamant that this will not happen until every single avenue has been explored. While it is universally accepted that BlackBerry 10 has been a dismal failure commercially, BlackBerry are continuing to pin their hopes in producing secure Android smartphones.
The following email has been forwarded to Rapid Mobile and verified. We have reached out to BlackBerry for comment.
From: Notice (SAA)
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 3:56 PM
Subject: BlackBerry Discontinuation
BlackBerry informed Verizon and AT&T that production of all BlackBerry OS 10 devices (Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport, and Classic) has been discontinued. Future carrier order fulfillment will not be guaranteed due to limited remaining stock.
BlackBerry device support will continue for the foreseeable future. BlackBerry is committed to maintaining their support of our devices to include uninterrupted warranty and technical support.
Once we have exhausted our current in-house stock, new device procurements will be limited, while supplies last, to warranty exchanges only.
As of June 29, 2016, our BlackBerry device stock levels are:
RIM Classic Verizon BlackBerry 275
RIM Z30 Verizon Black BlackBerry 160
RIM Classic AT&T BlackBerry 45
RIM Passport AT&T BlackBerry 45
RIM Z10 AT&T Black BlackBerry 45
RIM Q10 AT&T Black Blackberry 40
For offices wishing to make the transition from BlackBerry devices to other platforms, Verizon has agreed to suspend eligibility upgrade requirements for users migrating to Samsung S6 Android devices. Additionally, the $0 16GB iPhone SE has been added to the Technology Catalog, although current eligibility upgrade and mandatory AppleCare+ requirements apply.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Mobile Communications Services.