Today, TCL Communications has revealed that the company will be losing their BlackBerry brand license, and will stop selling such devices this August. The announcement is a bit of a shock, and what this actually means for the BlackBerry brand as well as BB mobile devices is currently still unclear.

BlackBerry phones under TCL had seen a resurgence over the last few years, and one would have assumed the partnership was successful. Whether BlackBerry will be partnering with a different OEM to continue making devices, or if this will be the end of BB devices is something we currently don’t know.

The full announcement:

When TCL Communication announced in December 2016 that we had entered into a brand licensing and technology support agreement with BlackBerry Limited to continue making new, modern BlackBerry smartphones available globally we were very excited and humbled to take on this challenge. Indeed, our KEY Series smartphones, starting with KEYone, were highly-anticipated by the BlackBerry community. What made these devices great wasn’t just the hardware developed and manufactured by TCL Communication, but also the critical security and software features provided by BlackBerry Limited to ensure these were genuine BlackBerry devices. The support of BlackBerry Limited was an essential element to bringing devices like BlackBerry KEYone, Motion, KEY2 and KEY2 LE to life and we’re proud to have partnered with them these past few years on those products.

We do regret to share however that as of August 31, 2020, TCL Communication will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices. TCL Communication will continue to provide support for the existing portfolio of mobile devices including customer service and warranty service until August 31, 2022 – or for as long as required by local laws where mobile device was purchased. Further details can be found at www.blackberrymobile.com or by phoning customer support at the numbers found at https://blackberrymobile.com/hotline-and-service-center/ .

For those of us at TCL Communication who were blessed enough to work on BlackBerry Mobile, we want to thank all our partners, customers and the BlackBerry fan community for their support over these past few years. 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 Communication and BlackBerry Limited, and we hope you’ll continue to support both as we move ahead on our respective paths.

From everyone who worked on the BlackBerry Mobile team at TCL Communication over the years, we want to say ‘Thank You’ for allowing us to be part of this journey.

As for TCL, the company is ramping up their own TCL-branded range of devices that seem to be extremely competitive in their capabilities and designs. Whilst it’s a loss for the company, I’m sure their own brand devices will be successful enough on their own – although we’ll be missing the classical BlackBerry devices with their characteristic physical keyboards.

Related Reading:

Source: BlackBerry Twitter

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  • rrinker - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    Well not EXACTLY. Us stick shift aficionados are not going out and buying automatics and then wondering why the stick shift is going away. It's all the other lazy people who would rather keep a hand free to twiddle with their touch screen phones.
    I've often said, there'd be less accidents if people actually had to DRIVE their cars.
    Reply
  • Cullinaire - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    The real problem for stick shift in America is that qualifying a drivetrain that would at most sell in the low single digits is financial suicide, especially in a market environment not kind to automakers in general.
    This is why even companies such as Porsche are abandoning them since splitting a low volume pie is not looking too smart these days.
    Reply
  • Korguz - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    nope.. rrinker is closer.. here.. there is a bad on cell phone use while the driver is.. well driving.. the passengers can use their phones.. but thats all.. if the driver is cought.. they are fined.. and each time the driver is cought.. the price of the fine goes up. one guy was fined with in like 3 blocks of each fine.. ended up paying almost 2k i think it was... and it will still go up from there Reply
  • milkywayer - Saturday, February 8, 2020 - link

    Its not being lazy tbh (although there are enough lazy drivers). For me, Automatic just means less worrying about the stop and go traffic in cities when you have to stop at almost every intersection every few minutes. I'd rather give my foot and hand some rest and let the machine do it for me. (doens't mean I'm not focused when driving in an automatic car) Reply
  • CampGareth - Sunday, February 9, 2020 - link

    As someone who owned a blackberry Priv and keyone but has for the last year been using an all-screen phone, I can see why people switched. An on-screen keyboard does suck for writing but we've come far enough that it's usable for comments like this one and so usable or tolerable for most people. We've come a long way from symbian and resistive touchscreens.

    Where the keyone suffered was media consumption. A 1:1 screen always has black bars when watching videos and a taller screen is better for reading websites, emails etc. It's amusing that the better device for writing emails was worse for reading them. In the meantime modern communication has become a lot shorter, there's no need to write a full letter-style email when a sentence or two will usually do and won't be seen as rude.

    I'd rather see larger-screened foldable devices take off than the return of physical keyboards. You'd have a larger screen for day to day usage but if you want to type a long message you could bend the phone 90 degrees into a clamshell shape and treat it like a laptop. You could have a £10 rubber membrane to lay over one half of the screen when needed for long sessions. All this was demonstrated at CES 2020.
    Reply
  • wr3zzz - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    I loved my old Blackberry keyboard but those were the days of 5lb VGA notebook with no wireless data tethering. Today if I need to email something in length I could just pull out my 2.5lb ultrabook and send it using my phone's wireless data. Not to mention that email in length usually accompanies additional files that Blackberry simply could not handle and requires a real PC. For short communiques the trade off of a larger screen without physical keyboard is worth it.

    Blackberry was a bridge device whose niche was compressed and its compromise was magnified by advances in the two devices it tried to replace. Free market did not fail, RIM, Nokia and to a much lesser degree Microsoft failed to respond to market demand.
    Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    KeyOne and passport sucked, you cannot sell a keyboard phone without a period and comma key. This actually makes it WORSE than a touchscreen keyboard because you can't even enable them in the options as a special key or anything.

    Keyboard phones are sorely lacking in the market, but the Blackberry designs are just terrible. The aspect ratios were all wrong, KeyOne and PRIV are way too tall, but the Passport is way too wide and square. Q10 was too flat and small. It's like they don't have anyone with a clue about using a phone.

    All they needed was a phone shaped like a gigantic Blackberry Bold (like between a passport and keyone) curved for easier grip, and curved keyboard for typing. Keyboards are still superior to touchscreens and they're perfect for messaging, e-mail, typing in URLs/search terms.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    I wrote my first published book mostly on a Blackberry 8820 using Docs to Go while I was working at a deployable communications site (did the first fourth or so of it on a HP iPAQ RX1950 Windows Mobile device using a pen to poke at the screen before switching to the much more efficient BB) where all I had was a primitive USB solar charger so laptops were not an option. I miss the physical keyboard, but bluetooth keyboards and a decent phone stand can also do a pretty decent job where data entry is concerned and I like the flexibility of having a larger screen for vidoe playback so most of my writing even now still happens on a mobile device rather than a PC platform. Modern Blackberries, as already mentioned, have a suboptimal keyboard design which is lacking punctuation. Reply
  • pbollwerk - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    My first reaction was ... "Someone still makes Blackberry devices?" Reply

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