BlackBerry has laid off 250 employees at its new-product testing facility, which supports the research and development area of the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker.

The workers there are responsible for supporting the smartphone maker's manufacturing and R&D departments.

Employees were given notice on Tuesday, according to a statement emailed to CBC News from company spokeswoman Lisette Kwong.

"This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing," she wrote Thursday. "We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve."

The cuts come after the company announced plans last year to cut about 5,000 employees jobs as part of its restructuring efforts.

The company is trying to regain its footing in a highly competitive global smartphone market, going head-to-head against technology giants such as Apple and Samsung.

BlackBerry's new Z10 smartphone and operating system made their debut in the U.S. market in March, but analysts were underwhelmed by sales of the new touch screen phone.

The company also confirmed that David J. Smith, its executive vice president of mobile computing, had resigned "for personal reasons."

Smith was in charge of the company's PlayBook tablet, which has been phased out.

"He continues to come into work every day and is committed to working with BlackBerry through a proper transition," Kwong said in an email.

Additional layoffs are 'inevitable'

Peter Misek, a New York based analyst with Jefferies believes BlackBerry has until the end of the year to split its hardware and software assets into two companies, or its value will deteriorate to nothing.

"As time progresses we feel that layoffs are inevitable," Misek told CBC News. "As a Canadian I feel really sad for the people that are impacted. BlackBerry is a Canadian icon still — it employs a lot of people and it's a bit of a shame."

"We think management still has an opportunity between now and the end of the year to do something," he said.

"We have said for probably three years now that BlackBerry should really focus on becoming a software and services company, that that's the best future for them," he said, adding the company should either partner, sell or shut down its hardware business and then attempt to capitalize on the software and services business.

Misek said BlackBerry is "basically being valued at salvage value right now" by investors.

"We value it at a higher rate, we think it's worth somewhere between $5 and $15, and that difference really depends on when you try and unearth that value. The longer you wait, the more that value deteriorates."

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has hinted at products that could hit stores before the end of this year, but the company hasn't announced anything specific.

It's widely expected that the company will unveil a smaller tablet device to fill the void left by its decision to no longer update the PlayBook.

The company's stock closed the trading day at $9.26 a share on the Toronto Stock Exchange, down four cents from Wednesdaly's closing price.

BlackBerry shares fell below $10 earlier this month for the first time since last year.

With files from The Canadian Press