BlackBerry is to stop designing smartphones after 14 years in the industry.

The BlackBerry, with its iconic keyboard, was once the white collar worker’s phone of choice as it provided mobile access to emails.

However the firm has been blown out of the water in recent years by touchscreen devices such as the iPhone and Android handsets made by the likes of Samsung and HTC.

John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and chief executive, said it would no longer focus on hardware.

“We are focusing on software development, including security and applications,” he said.

“The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners.

“This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”

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He did not confirm whether any further BlackBerry phones will be released, but said a phone with the keyboard design would continue to be sold to cater for a niche market which continues to use it.

In October 2015 BlackBerry released its first smartphone running Google's Android operating system – which featured a keyboard that slid out – rather than its own BB10 software. However it was too expensive to attract consumers.

It later launched a touchscreen-only Android handset, but that also failed to catch on with overall smartphone sales of only 400,000 in its second quarter this year, fewer than the previous three months.

BlackBerry also announced that its chief financial officer, James Yersh, was leaving the company at the end of October for personal reasons.

He will be replaced by former Sybase executive Steven Capelli.

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