It hasn’t been the best few years for Blackberry, though, to be fair, to be fair Blackberry have been living in the shadows since the fall of the companies Blackberry 10 operating systems fell and they were ‘forced’, if you like, to use Android.
The move to Blackberry using Android back in 2016 wasn’t just a software change, it was also when Blackberry signed a deal with Chinese manufacturer TCL to design and produce its Smartphone hardware for it.
However, it appears this is now going to end in August 2020 with the following statement announcing that TCL will be no longer producing Blackberry hardware for the company;
Statement from TCL Communication
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, started with the 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 projects.
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 has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices, however 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 the mobile device was purchased. Further details can be found at http://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.
Source: BlackBerry Mobile Twitter
Think it’s fair to say it doesn’t get more blunt than that, from August this year, you will stop seeing Blackberry Smartphones on sale from TCL.
What is unclear, however, is the next direction for Blackberry. TCL makes Smartphones for a collection of other companies, including some of its own, but Blackberry’s future is, as of yet, unproven. The company does have a collection of security features and Enterprise solutions, which they will likely continue, though on the hardware front, could this really be the end?