BlackBerry, maker of the Z10 and Q10 smartphones, informed 250 workers in a Waterloo, Ontario, product-testing facility that they would be fired.

The company operates a research and development office in the Research Triangle area.

The dismissals are part of BlackBerry’s turnaround plan to improve profits, Lisette Kwong, a company spokeswoman, said today in an e-mail. The department affected by the job cuts supports manufacturing, research and development, she said.

BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY) has about 12,700 employees.

BlackBerry is scaling back after the touch-screen Z10, introduced in February, failed to become a hit with consumers. The company is counting on the Q10, which sports a physical keyboard like earlier devices, to keep longtime customers loyal.

The company, based in Waterloo, is also preparing for more executive departures as retention bonuses expire and Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins sets tougher targets for managers, a person familiar with the matter said this month. David Smith, executive vice president of enterprise mobile computing, has resigned for personal reasons, Kwong said.

CTV News reported the product-testing firings earlier today, and the Wall Street Journal reported Smith’s departure Wednesday.