How poor management led to the untimely demise of BlackBerry 10

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BlackBerry is currently known for its launched Android smartphones the DTEK50 and the BlackBerry Priv which broke cover about a year ago. However, the company’s claim to fame was its native BlackBerry OS based QWERTY phones which were known for anti-theft/hack encryption. This particular feature made it an attractive proposition for political leaders from around the world. However, the emergence of Android and iOS pushed BlackBerry to a corner, meaning that they had to do something and quickly.

The rise

This is where BlackBerry 10 (popularly known as BB10) came into play, just a couple of years after the company acquired QNX, an operating system based on Unix. Then CEO of the company, Thorsten Heins, promised that phones with BB10 will be launched by late 2012. The timeline quickly changed to Q1 2013, with the operating system finally going live on January 2013, along with the all-touch BlackBerry Z10 as well as the QWERTY based Q10.

The quick fall

Before the devices were even launched, the entire tech world knew where BB10 was headed. The fears were substantiated by the kind of sales the two devices saw. Further, there were internal battles being fought within the company with regards to prioritizing the Z10 development over the Q10. It’s safe to say that these factors as well as the delays didn’t help the company’s cause. When asked about the BB10 release timeline in July 2012, Heins merely said that they were looking to bring the perfect product and didn’t want to “rush” things.

Including the release of the Z10, a total of five full-touch BlackBerry 10 based phones have launched. The BlackBerry Z30 (October 2013), the P'9982 (December 2013), the Z3 (February 2014), and the BlackBerry Leap (April 2015).

Phones like the Q5, P’9983, Passport and Classic with full-sized QWERTY keyboards were all launched between May 2013 and December 2014. The last known version of BB10 is v10.3.2, which can be found on devices like the Leap and Classic.

The future

BlackBerry has ceased development on the platform since early this year, deciding to concentrate full-time on Android. We have seen phones like the BlackBerry Priv and the DTEK50 running Google’s operating system with relative success so far. Although the phones haven’t been made available globally, BlackBerry does appear to be heading in the right direction.

The company decided to change things around significantly with the arrival of John Chen as the CEO of BlackBerry. He was open to embracing Android as a means to survive in the market, which has currently worked for the company. When asked recently about the fate of BB10, the company vaguely mentioned that it never took it off the table, mildly hinting that there might be something left to come from the BB10 camp.