BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is all prepared to launch its first pure Android phone code named Venice, but its phone ambitions are diminishing more than ever. A report from Reuters recently informed that the Canadian firm laid off around 200 hardware and design staff soon after it completed the work on Venice.
Android last hope
Such a move by the company is latest in a succession of ‘resource allocations’. BlackBerry launched BB10 in January 2013, and since then has been struggling to achieve significant sales volumes. The Canadian firm shipped only 1.1 million units last quarter.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has stated on several occasions that the company will remain in the handset business only if it is able to make it profitable. Chen also told several times that the break-even has not been reached as yet. In March, Chen made a commitment to come up with four phones this year. Going forward, this number could reduce down to one on an annual basis.
Chen has always tried to avoid making a commitment to enhance BlackBerry’s own BB10 platform. Therefore, BlackBerry is now resorting to Android devices or will have to shut down its handset business altogether. The company has placed BB10 in maintenance mode, and it continues to receive critical security updates.
BlackBerry moving away from BB10
Separately, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is hiring continuously for its QNX embedded systems division, and for quite some time now it has not advertised for BB10 developers. In August, the company released a redesigned version of its Passport device, but has not revealed any significant enhancements to BB10 this year.
Updating the Qt-based Cascades libraries essential for native BB10 development would be one of the major commitments for BlackBerry, says a report from The Register. This is so, because BB10’s libraries are based on a version of Qt so old that it’s no longer supported. However, no such commitments are in sight for now, and whether BlackBerry has the capacity to fulfil it anymore or not is a topic of debate, says the report.
In March, BlackBerry promised to port its ‘crown jewels’ to the iOS and Android. These include its distinctive keyboard, PIM apps, universal search and hub. It indicates that the Canadian firm is adopting an exit strategy away from making hardware of its own.
At around 11 am EDT today, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) shares were down 1.68% at $7.05. Year to date, the stock is down almost 36% while in the last one-year, they are down almost 33%.