Update: BlackBerry confirmed that the end of support by December 2015 was an incorrect statement.
BlackBerry’s Managing Director in India, Sunil Lalwani, gave an interesting interview to DNA India recently (via N4BB). In it he confirmed that BlackBerry is not exiting the device space but rather is focusing on the Z30 and Q10 as top devices and Z10 and Q5 as mid market devices. He also went on to say that BlackBerry 7 devices will be supported until December 2015 though he did not explain what that means. He says they will then discontinue selling older BlackBerry devices and provide exchange and upgrade offers to BlackBerry 10.
Lastly Lalwani confirmed that there are no plans for a tablet from BlackBerry in the near future. I also found it interesting to read how he boils down BlackBerry 10’s struggles this past year:
It’s been a difficult one year, but you only emerge stronger and learn what is your core strength based on which customer segments are still loyal to you. It’s not that we are not profitable anymore, but have taken several write-offs resulting in a hit on our books in the last one year. This was due to several reasons.
When we launched BB 10, it was a new platform built ground up to upgrade a decade old BB platform. The inherent new features of BB10 had to be clearly articulated to end-users, which wasn’t done well, leading to issues like inventory build-up of the Z10 but after cutting the price, sales have picked up again. In the last quarter, 60% of our revenue came from services and software – they generate higher margins. This is why, this year and beyond, services and software will be predominant focus for BlackBerry, and devices will be a pull through. We believe this strategy will be key to our turnaround and profitability in 2014, and we are extremely bullish about the future of BlackBerry.