In a surprising announcement on Twitter (OK, maybe it wasn’t that surprising) BlackBerry Mobile reveals that the company and TCL Communication will be parting ways on the 31st of August 2020. TCL, who entered into a brand licensing deal with BlackBerry to manufacture modern BlackBerry smartphones, will no longer be making or selling BlackBerry-branded smartphones by the end of August.
That said, the company will continue to provide support for the existing portfolio of BlackBerry smartphones until the 31st of August 2022, or for as long as required by local laws.
When TCL picked up the mantle to continue BlackBerry’s smartphone legacy, I think a lot of us had mixed feelings. But, in hindsight, I think it was a pretty good move. After all, the devices they produced together, phones like the iconic KEYone and KEY2 were good attempts at converting the strengths of BlackBerry into an Android device. I certainly thought it was more BlackBerry than something like the Priv.
And, with a partnership like this, it allowed BB to focus on what it did best–build great software that was also super secure, something that’s not that common in the Android space. That, to me, looked a lot like a win-win everyone involved.
While it’s easy to point fingers and speculate why this partnership didn’t work out in the end, it’s almost impossible to know exactly why things ended without inside knowledge. Sometimes things just end.
Right now, there’s no information on whether anyone else will be picking up where TCL left off, or if we will ever see another BlackBerry smartphone. But we’ll definitely keep you updated if new information drops in the future.
You can read the full announcement here.