Nokia, Motorola, Blackberry: which giant will collapse next?

AndroidPIT blackberry dtek 50 4204
© NextPit

On September 28, Blackberry announced that it would stop the development and production of smartphones. With this announcement, the technology world closes its doors on an epic era when the Canadian business was dominant in the smartphone marketplace.

Considered the greatest symbol of smartphones in the pre-iPhone era, Blackberry devices were famous for their QWERTY keyboards, great email client and the security of its servers, which were considered almost impenetrable. So much so, they were also dominant in the corporate world, being used by political powerhouses such as Barack Obama and Angela Merkel among many others.

Despite all of this, Blackberry (formerly known as Research in Motion Limited or RIM), committed deadly sins that would sink any company: disdaining the arrival of the iPhone and shortly after, Android and also refusing to evolve its design as well as its features. Over the years it began to stagnate while its rivals took huge bites out of the growing market.

Faced with all this, Blackberry was relegated to irrelevance more and more so until, at one point, it had less than 1% of the world's market. Losses added up year after year. It finally culminated with the company’s withdrawal from manufacturing smartphones and dedicating itself to selling software and services instead.

androidpit BlackBerry Priv 7
Priv was Blackberry's first Android smartphone. © NextPit

In an official statement John Chen, the current CEO, said that "Blackberry's new plan, Mobility Solutions, is showing signs of momentum (...) in the scope of the plan, we are focusing only on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to put an end to all internal hardware development and outsource that function to partners (specifically to BB Merah Putih in Indonesia)".

Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry are all out. Who will be next?

Dominant for the first half of the 90's and a large part of the last decade, Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry are now a shadow of their former selves. While Nokia is planning its return to the marketplace, Motorola meanwhile is just a (still popular) brand controlled by Lenovo.  Blackberry... well, its goal is to survive.

Nokia C1 2
Nokia is trying to return to its glory days. @ Nokia power users

Now, the question that mobile phone market professionals are asking themselves - including analysts, reporters etc - is: Who will be the next smartphone manufacturer to abandon ship?

The one at the head of the polls, for the moment, is HTC. In the last few years, quarter after quarter, the Taiwanese manufacturer has reported successive losses. In the first few months of 2016, the company's sales volume was down 64% from 2015. Last year wasn't very good either: sales decreased 35% when compared to the same period of 2014.

What's curious is that unlike Nokia, Blackberry and Motorola, HTC hasn’t stopped production and it has tried to continue evolving. The problem is that the company is the victim of being too scared to step outside of its "comfort zone" (basically the same thing that's happening to Sony), releasing smartphones that have been "pretty much the same" throughout the last two years. That is to say, good devices, that wouldn't necessarily be called cheap, but that don't bring new features that could be a consumer's deciding factor to buy one.

AndroidPIT HTC 10 Hands on 5043
HTC could be the next victim. © NextPit

Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers have discovered the secret of producing both good and cheap smartphones. Established brands such as Samsung, Lenovo and LG have been innovative while Apple has gained popularity in Asia over the last couple years. The result: HTC has been swallowed up in every country that it operates in.

Even so, HTC plans to resist, at least according to their CEO Cher Wang. At the end of 2015, he stated that the manufacturer would not disappear from the marketplace. They’ve been Investing in other smartphones and products such as smartbands and Vive, the brands virtual reality glasses.

Only that maybe, Wang isn't aware of their 2016 figures. So...

HTC's destined to land in the hands of a company that starts with the letter G

Market rumors say Google could buy HTC and finally unleash its project to produce 100% Google smartphones. They would come complete with their own DNA, as much in hardware as in software. The first step they've taken in this direction is their new line of phones, Pixel, which is to be launched on October 4th.

The devices in question, Pixel and Pixel XL will be manufactured by HTC but their logo will not be included on it like it was on the Nexus and the tablet Nexus 9. Some say, that by having to remove their logo, HTC is giving up a huge part of the benefits achieved by the sale of the two models. Considering that the business needs cash to stay competitive, this rumor is very likely true.

Therefore, if Pixel succeeds in attracting the public and HTC's sales don't improve, it's reasonable to believe that Google could be prepared to buy the Taiwanese manufacturer to give some continuity to its smartphone division. It's a business with which the Big G is more than familiar with and whose purchase would result in being much less expensive than its acquisition of Motorola in 2011 for $11.5 million (and resold at a quarter of the price to Lenovo in 2014).

Place your bets: Do you think HTC will be the next manufacturer to abandon ship or do you think there are other companies out there that could take its place?

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  • Reg Joo Oct 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Too bad these mfgs didn't see the writing on the wall. Consolidation with these three, could have made a super phone mfg. None of these, except motorola( because it's owned by lenovo) will survive, in a few years, or sooner.

  • CJ Brown Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment


    Any one of these manufacturing companies could go in the shitter (some deserve it - such as BlackBerry, some do not - such as Nokia); but I can't see any of them ceasing to exist (each Company mentioned deserves to be purchased by another Corporation, absorbed and re-branded, then guarantee products a Consumer could rely upon - did you hear that Motorola?!)

    I will add AZUS to the list because I got fucked over by their Zenfone (fuck you!! I deserve a 100% refund!) but I doubt they will go belly-up soon (even no they have not made a Nexus for Google in years!)

    Consumers do not need expensive smartphones - consumers do not deserve poorly made smartphones - consumers want affordable Flagship killers!

  • Wakfu Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

    Not HTC, not the one who made Android looking popular.

  •   31
    Deactivated Account Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

    change is the only constant..
    Nokia for all of its success didn't move with times.. same for Blackberry,
    Motorola was lost found and dumped,
    but Google got stuff out of that deal that was more about protecting Android..
    probably one of the best telephony Patent portfolios going...
    which really shows no matter how big or successful a company becomes, if you don't innovate you die..

  • Vulcan Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

    I am mostly certain Apple will be next after HTC. They don't listen to customers, they don't innovate and their phones don't even have a good display...

    • Suo Eno Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

      Except that their intended user base so far has been damn near willing enough to take anything thrown at them, including putting up with $150+ wireless earphones = Airpods. By that alone as long as their marketing people are still well oiled enough they're not gonna go nowhere anytime soon.

    • Glostermeteor Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

      And they have over $220 billion in cash. Apple isnt going anywhere no matter how arrogant they have become

      • Ralf Fensch Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

        Don't be so sure. If apple doesn't start listening to costumer's and change there obsolete design soon, they might stare down the barrel soon.

      • Gio Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

        The worst that could happen to Apple is become the next IBM/Microsoft/Oracle/HP.

    • Bastian Siewers Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

      Apple still has a huge fanbase. I don't really like Apple by any means, but they definitely made sure that they will survive for a couple of years, no matter what they do. Even if the phones are not top notch in terms of features anymore, they improve just enough that people feel the need to buy in. It is a dirty, and sometimes annoying strategy, but time has shown that it works perfectly for them.

      Deactivated Account

    • itprolonden Oct 12, 2016 Link to comment

      That will never happen. I use both platforms and Apple just executes better than Android on all levels

    • Reg Joo Oct 14, 2016 Link to comment


  • Eddie A Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

    Companies need to listen what their customers want and don't rush a product just to beat the competition. If customers like what they see and want, they will stay loyal to the brand of their choice! It's really not rocket science!

  •   46
    Deactivated Account Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

    One company you over look even as dominate as it is Samsung. They are pushing things to fast and not listening to their customer base. They are continually moving up launch dates rushing their products. If they have one or two more disasters like the Note 7 Launch they could easily knock them selves out of relevance in the smart phone industry. I hope that Nokia can make a come back they made great phones.

    • Arpit Saini Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

      Samsung don't listen to consumer requirements?

      I'm pretty sure they've actually launched a phone for each and every category of Consumers. it's not that they are rushing phones too fast, over the past year itself they have drastically reduced the number of smartphones they release. It's only A3 A5 A7 S7 S7edge and Note7 compared to last year when they had edge plus , mega ace etc.

      Also if by listening to consumers you mean removable battery, just no..... It's just not possible with their design innovation of 2015. This year they brought in Water resistance which also makes it harder for removable battery.

      Samsung have debloated touchwiz, Improved the camera drastically even though it was already one of the best in the market, Brought in the memory card support, designed better looking premium phones etc and you still say they don't listen to consumers.

      • Suo Eno Oct 6, 2016 Link to comment

        " It's only A3 A5 A7 S7 S7edge and Note7 compared to last year when they had edge plus , mega ace etc."
        Uhh yeah... and those got replaced immediately by these On, C and J series. Which by the way are all a weak lineup against anything out of China in the same price bracket.

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    • itprolonden Oct 12, 2016 Link to comment

      Samsung didn't rush anything. The put out the Note the same time EVERY year.

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