28/09/2016 16:29 BST | Updated 28/09/2016 16:37 BST

Blackberry Announces It Will Stop Making Phones, Marks End Of An Era

The firm is going to outsource hardware development and focus on software instead.

Blackberry, once the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer, is set to stop designing and making phones.

The firm announced today that it will outsource hardware development to third parties, and focus on building software instead.

Mark Blinch / Reuters

In its early years, Blackberry successfully marketed its qwerty-keyboard-equipped smartphones as indispensable business tools.

Blackberry Messenger later became the group messaging service of choice for many young mobile users. 

But the Canadian company has since struggled to keep up with competition from Apple and Samsung, pioneers of touch screen technology.  

John Chen, chief executive of Blackberry, said in a statement: “The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners.

“We are focusing on software development, including security and applications.”

Commenting on the news, CCS Insight’s Ben Wood, said: “Blackberry can’t keep producing its own phones indefinitely just to serve a small subset of its clients addicted to its home-grown devices.

“Blackberry had made no secret of the fact that it might shut down its own phone-making business. Pushing it out to a third party is a sensible solution - but any manufacturer making Blackberry branded devices will ultimately face the same challenges.”

The manufacturer hasn’t yet announced when it will release its next phone.

It reported losses of £286m in the last quarter.