BlackBerry Ltd was once the go-to mobile device in Congress, but all that is going to end. This week, Senate staffers were told that no new BlackBerry devices will be issued once the already-limited supplies are done with. Though the Canadian firm will continue to support the remaining few devices, it won’t be long before everyone on the Capitol Hill upgrades to Android or an iOS device.
BB OS 10 devices discontinued
A memo from the Sergeant at Arms office received by reporter Jim Swift, says “BlackBerry informed Verizon and AT&T that production of all BlackBerry OS 10 devices (Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport, and Classic) has been discontinued,” and “Future carrier order fulfillment will not be guaranteed due to limited remaining stock.”
As per the Sergeant at Arms, there are currently over 600 BlackBerry Ltd models stockpiled. And, the support for the current phones is expected to continue for the “foreseeable future.”
This news comes as one more bad news for the Canadian firm, who in the first fiscal quarter sold only 500,000 phones compared 600,000 in the prior quarter and 700,000 in the quarter before that. In comparison, for the quarter ended March 26, Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones.
Emotional connect with BlackBerry
BlackBerries with its long battery life, robust privacy features and exceptional keyboards have long been the favorite for Washington officials. After a boom in the smartphone industry, majority of public moved on to more modern devices. Only the government officials were mandated to stock the devices. A noted Apple fan – President Obama – was not allowed to shift to the iPhone while senior White House officials were only permitted to use iPhones this past April.
There will be many loyal bands of staffers who will have emotional connect with BlackBerry, but Millennial Hill staffers would scoff at such sentimental attachment. Nevertheless, BlackBerry has proven its worth over the years. In 2011, during an earthquake in D.C, when every other carriers were overloaded with texts and calls, BlackBerry’s messaging was the only service that was working.
Mr. Marter, who works as Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin’s communications director, told the WSJ that for most the staffers “It’s always been a love/hate thing,” but “no phone receives and sends emails faster, and the keyboard, which now seems like a relic of the past, is easy to use.”
New android phones?
This news comes amid rumors that BlackBerry Ltd is working on three new Android phones – Neon, Argon, and Mercury. Unlike Priv, these new phones are expected to modestly priced. All three phones are expected to come later this year.
On Friday, BlackBerry shares closed up 0.75% at $6.76. Year to date, the stock is down almost 28% while in the last one-year, it is down over 21%. The stock has a 52-week high of $9.46 and a 52-week low of $5.96.