BlackBerry's announcement that it will no longer build its own hardware signals another, very large nail in the coffin for the company's smartphone range, albeit one that many saw coming. It's been a long and steady decline for the Canadian firm, which once enjoyed a position as one of the most popular and influential mobile phone companies in the world, before the iPhone came along and changed the playing field forever.
BlackBerry has promised that it's not the end of the line for its famed QWERTY devices; the firm will license handset manufacturing to other companies, presumably meaning you'll still see BlackBerry phones on shelves in the future. In the meantime, here's a look back on 7 of the most iconic devices that defined the BlackBerry brand.
7. BlackBerry Passport (2014)
The BlackBerry Passport came at the tail-end of the company's handset-making days, a somewhat experimental phase during which it diverted from its tried-and-tested formulas in an attempt to recapture the imagination of consumers. The phone it was fairly well-received amongst critics, although the high price point stuck with many and its unconventionally wide design made it nigh-on impossible to operate with one hand.
6. BlackBerry Z10 (2013)
The Z10 was the first BlackBerry device to come running BB10, an operating system rebuilt from the ground-up for touchscreen use. It was also the first handset to be launched under the company's new name of BlackBerry Ltd, rather than Research in Motion. The Z10 was designed to compete directly with the likes of the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4, thus saving BlackBerry's ailing fortunes. So much for that.
5. BlackBerry Bold 9900 (2011)
The Bold 9900 was BlackBerry's first proper attempt to match rival manufacturers in the ongoing specs war, as well one of the first smartphones ever to receive NFC – which was cutting-edge at the time. It arrived sporting the biggest physical keyboard that had been seen on a BlackBerry, making it a very user-friendly and easy to use handset. Ultimately, it was let down by a ho-hum operating system, which was beginning to feel a bit stale by that point. Still, easily one of the best BlackBerry devices ever built.
4. BlackBerry Torch 9800 (2010)
One of the most daring smartphones to come from BlackBerry's factories was 2010's Torch 9800. By that time, the company was aware of the threat posed by Apple and Android devices, and desperately needed a new poster child to help slow the tide of users moving over to its rivals' much richer ecosystems. It was also the first device from BlackBerry to feature both a multi-touch display and slide-out keyboard, but ultimately fell short thanks to underwhelming hardware.
3. BlackBerry Pearl 8100 (2006)
BlackBerry took a break from QWERTY keyboards in 2006 when it launched the Pearl. The company wanted a phone that would appeal more widely to consumers, and so released a device that took on the look of the more typical 'candy bar' handsets of the time. It was the first BlackBerry to feature a trackball for navigation and the last handset to come from the company before Apple came along and revolutionised the smartphone industry.
2. BlackBerry Storm (2008)
After witnessing the furore cause by the Apple's touchscreen-touting iPhone, BlackBerry realised it could be in trouble. This led the company to launch the Storm, the first touchscreen BlackBerry phone and the least fondly-remembered devices in the company's history. The Storm was riddled with issues, from a poor touchscreen performance and buggy software to a lack of Wi-Fi and even parts of the handset falling off. Definitely not the iPhone killer the company was aiming for.
1. BlackBerry Curve 8520 (2009)
The Curve 850 was a truly consumer-grade BlackBerry phone and is surely the personification of the company's glory days. It brought us BBM and email push notifications – still somewhat of a rarity at the time – and was also the first BlackBerry device to receive a trackpad, ousting the trackball that had come before it. Fun, stylish and easy to use, it's the phone that marked the apex of the BlackBerry bubble, and one that we'll forever hold fond memories of.