Is BlackBerry finally giving up on smartphones?

The new "BlackBerry Hamburg" is being made by an entirely different company...

Is BlackBerry finally giving up on smartphones?

us.blackberry.com

With BlackBerry set to decide whether or not it will continue making phones by September, new details about the upcoming "BlackBerry Hamburg" seem to indicate that the Canadian company is ready to put distance between it and the market.

A new listing at the Wi-Fi Alliance has shown that TCL – the company that produces Alcatel brand phones – has a new device on the way with similar privacy suites and model numbers to BlackBerry products.

BlackBerry had confirmed a number of years ago that it was looking at outsourcing the manufacturing of its mid-range smartphones, and now it would seem the Hamburg will be a TCL-creation.

It is set to be unveiled next month, with BlackBerry also planning to release two cheaper offerings in 2016.

After that, however, the future of BlackBerry’s smartphone dealings is very much up in the air.

Once the go-to brand for business people looking to get connected, it failed to adapt as touch screen models became de rigueur.

The company attempted to play catch-up last year, ditching its own operating system to release the Priv (pictured), which runs on Google’s popular Android OS, but sales were sluggish.

Figures released last week showed that 2016 hasn’t brought many positives when it comes to its mobile business.

For the three-month period to May 31st, BlackBerry posted net losses of $670m (€606m). Due chiefly to write-downs and impairments, it was triple the losses of the previous fiscal quarter. Revenue was also down 40% year-on-year, standing at $424m.

Its software and services revenue did climb 39%, however. Structural changes mean its phone sales and software licensing agreements now come under "mobility solutions", which accounts for 36% of total revenue.

It would appear that unit will continue to shrink, as security and identity software moves to the forefront of the company's plans.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said at the company’s latest AGM:

"The device business must be profitable, because we don't want to run a business that drags onto the bottom line. We've got to get there this year.

"I don’t personally believe handsets will be the future of any company."