TCL Communication has announced it will no longer be making BlackBerry smartphones, after taking over the dormant brand at the end of 2016, and bringing it back to life with a series of ever-improving devices.
No More Blackberry Phones from TCL
In a statement tweeted out by the official BlackBerry Mobile account, TCL Communication does not have the rights to design, manufacture, or sell BlackBerry phones any longer.
Saying, however, that they will continue to provide support for existing BlackBerry devices, including customer and warranty services until as late as 31 August 2022 or
“for as long as required by local laws where the mobile device has been purchased”
This means the BlackBerry Key 2 LE will be the last BlackBerry-branded phone produced by TCL Communication to be released, and it follows the BlackBerry Key 2, and the BlackBerry KeyOne. TCL Communication’s BlackBerry phones took the features fans of the brand loved — the physical keyboard, long battery life, and extra levels of security — and put them inside modern hardware with Google Android software.
While not for everyone, they were successful with those either familiar with the brand, or those looking for something a little different.
“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many fans from all over the world during our world tour stops. The future is bright for both TCL Communications and BlackBerry Limited, and we hope you’ll continue to support both as we move ahead on our respective paths” the announcement reads.
TCL Venture into More Business
According to technology news site, My Broadband, the company behind BlackBerry itself has since shifted to cyber-security software in the stead of smartphone production. Distinct from competitors for its full QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry smartphones fell out of public favour because of the rising popularity of the iPhone and other smartphones will full touch screen displays.
The future of BlackBerry phones is once again unknown. While TCL Communication will not make another BlackBerry phone, it does not necessarily mean we will never see another BlackBerry phone. It’s possible the global license could be snapped up by another company eager to capitalize on the brand’s highly recognizable name.
HMD Global, for example, has seen considerable success with the Nokia name since acquiring the license, while British phone maker Bullitt owns the license to make phones from brands including Cat, JCB, and Land Rover.
The license agreement was described only as “long term” when it was announced in 2016, and may have simply reached the end of its lifetime, or if sales were not high enough for TCL to continue.
Blackberry Has Literally Thought TCL a Lesson
However, it may also have to do with TCL’s own plans for world domination in smartphones. It has learned a lot from making and selling BlackBerry phones internationally, including striking up important relationships with carriers. It will leverage all this to sell its new TCL 10 smartphones around the world this coming year and beyond.
TCL Communication’s license didn’t apply everywhere either. In India and several other Asian markets, a company named Optiemus owns the manufacturing license, and has produced two BlackBerry-branded phones named the Evolve and Evolve X. Neither have a physical keyboard, and instead have a full touchscreen, but they do use BlackBerry’s DTEK suite of apps and security services.