In a press released published in late September, the Canadian tech giant BlackBerry officially confirmed it's stopping hardware development after struggling in the phone market for years. While the company's CEO, John Chen, specifically stated BlackBerry is planning to remain in the smartphone business (through partnerships with third-party manufacturers), that didn't stop the industry from fueling more speculation on the subject. This prompted BlackBerry's Chief Operating Officer, Marty Beard, to once again assert that BlackBerry phones aren't going away anytime soon.
Beard reiterated this strategy during a recent broadcast hosted after the official announcement of the BlackBerry DTEK60, the second BlackBerry-branded smartphone manufactured by Alcatel's subsidiary TCL. More specifically, the company's executive revealed that there's more to come after the BlackBerry DTEK60. As Beard himself put it, "this is absolutely not the last BlackBerry phone." While he didn't go into any more specifics regarding future BlackBerry smartphones, Beard did unveil more about the company's general hardware strategy. Namely, he claimed that BlackBerry's latest offering is more than capable of competing with latest flagships like the Google Pixel and the iPhone 7 and revealed that BlackBerry is currently working with more partners—presumably OEMs and wireless carriers—in order to figure out where to go from here.
Last but not least, Beard also asserted that he'd be "very surprised" if BlackBerry abandons the idea of making a phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard. While this obviously doesn't confirm that another classic BlackBerry device will hit the market in the near future, it shows that the Ontario-based company is still interested in more than just selling its brand to third-parties. This is significant because the BlackBerry DTEK50 and the BlackBerry DTEK60 suggested the opposite – the former was a rehash of the Alcatel Idol 4 while the latter is basically a redesigned TCL 950. Beard even specifically mentioned BlackBerry's recently announced partnership with the Indonesian wireless carrier PT Telekomunikasi as an example of a potential partner which could help produce future BlackBerry devices, just like it will do with the upcoming BlackBerry DTEK60.
All in all, this is promising news for all fans of traditional BlackBerry devices who still prefer to type with a physical keyboard and demonstrates the company's willingness to still deliver unique smartphones. While it's extremely unlikely BlackBerry will announce any new devices by the end of the year, more information will hopefully emerge through 2017.