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Blackberry drops Blackberry Classic from its lineup

BlackBerry has tried a lot of things to stay relevant as mobile technology evolves faster than ever before. BlackBerry has dabbled in tablets, it tried running Android apps on BlackBerry OS, and it even dropped the name RIM for the more recognizable “BlackBerry.” When the company decided to move forward with Android as its main mobile platform, fans of the old BlackBerry at least had the BlackBerry Classic handset to keep them happy. That’s no longer the case today. BlackBerry has announced this device will no longer be manufactured, and there isn’t a replacement planned. 

The BlackBerry Classic was released 18 months ago to offer a modern take on the company’s most popular phones of yesteryear like the Pearl, Bold, and Curve. It was a candybar phone with a small screen on the front above a full BlackBerry-style physical keyboard. Lovers of thumb-typing still contend that these keyboards offer the best experience on a mobile device.

Apparently that keyboard was not enough to save the BlackBerry Classic. This device ran BlackBerry OS 10.3, which had been increasingly left in the dust as the company moves forward with Android. Although, BlackBerry will swear up and down that it is not abandoning BB OS. The Classic had apps via the anemic BlackBerry app store and could run some Android apps in emulation via the Amazon Appstore. Google services were not available, though.

Perhaps the greatest impediment to the BlackBerry Classic was the cost. Even though it’s been out for more than a year, BlackBerry never offered the device at a more competitive price. It’s been nearly $400 unlocked this whole time. Even today after the cancellation was announced, BlackBerry’s online store is asking $380 for the Classic. Several carriers had the Classic in stores when it was released, but it was dropped quickly. Now, AT&T is the only that sells it, and that’s just online.

This move leaves Blackberry relying even more on Android and the Priv, which it launched last year. The Priv is a portrait slider with a large touchscreen and physical keyboard. This device runs a full build of Android with Google services, but even this might not be enough to save BlackBerry. The Priv was priced very high compared to competing phones, and it has reportedly not sold very well. T-Mobile dropped the Priv from its lineup after just a few months, but Verizon and AT&T continue to sell it.

Even with mediocre performance of its first true Android phone, this is probably the only path forward BlackBerry has. The cancellation of the Classic indicates the company’s die-hard BlackBerry OS fans aren’t numerous enough to support even this one device. Rumors are now pointing to two or three Android-powered phones from BlackBerry coming out in the next year.

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