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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  • Makaveli - Monday, February 3, 2020 - link

    Blackberry as a company will be fine based on their last earning call.

    The question is will they license it to someone else or just get out of the handset business.
    Reply
  • brucethemoose - Monday, February 3, 2020 - link

    "TCL-branded range of devices that seem to be extremely competitive in their capabilities and designs."

    But will that actually sell handsets? Anyone who's not Samsung or Apple is barely staying afloat in the US, including recognizable, established brands like Motorola, HTC, OnePlus, etc. Even Google seems to be struggling, and they have some enormous market advantages.
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    BlackBerry smartphones as well all know have not been a major player in the United States for nearly a decade.

    But they have remained and always were popular in other parts of the world, particularly regions where voice recognition doesn’t work because the language is inherently incompatible with our modern voice analysis algorithms, or the alphabet works better on a physical keyboard than a touch keyboard. Arab countries throughout the Middle East have remained blackberry users while we all forgot they existed :P
    Reply
  • levizx - Friday, February 7, 2020 - link

    OnePlus is barely recognizable by 90% consumers anywhere on Earth, it's much less established than HTC which is already a borderline "established" compared to everyone else - HTC as a mobile phone brand has such a short history barely comparable to Samsung, Motorola, LG, Nokia Reply
  • wr3zzz - Monday, February 3, 2020 - link

    TCL sold TV mostly through the big box chains which likely did not translate to selling phones. Reply
  • 1_rick - Monday, February 3, 2020 - link

    "We do regret to share however that as of August 31, 2020, TCL Communication will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices."

    It's not clear from this line if they're losing the license or declining to renew it. I wonder which it is.
    Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Monday, February 3, 2020 - link

    I was turned off Blackberry-branded anything after the rather disastrous Priv I had the misfortune to buy years ago. Poorly supported even while Blackberry still made that phone, and no support afterwards. Wonder if the TCL-made Blackberries will continue to get software updates and for how long?
    Unless that is taken care of, I would hesitate to buy anything Blackberry-branded. In the meantime, would be nice if some more mainstream phone makers would consider making phones with an actual keyboard (again).
    Reply
  • alufan - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    never understood the desire for a physical keyboard had 2 x Blackberries in the past and am so glad they are no longer with me horrible devices Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    Nothing wrong with a physical keyboard. It's just much, much better than using a touchscreen.

    The fact that every single phone has a giant touchscreen-only means capitalism is a disastrous failure that can't provide basic options to the consumer. Besides Blackberry and Fold/Z/Mate X... every single phone looks identical to iPhone and it's quite pathetic.

    We used to have cool interesting features like banana curves, kevlar, soft-touch plastic, giant front speakers, special docking stations, Ubuntu running on phones, and of course keyboards/sliders. I blame unimaginative companies who have completely given up and just want a piece of the pie at this point. There are still tons of useful features and functionality that could vastly improve the experience, they just never did it. And keyboard is one of them.

    Trying to actually "use" a modern phone is a nightmare because the OS is designed poorly and way too slow for real multi-tasking.. Every individual action adds an extra 1-2 second delay as the phone slowly switches apps, animates, browser content jumps all over your screen, and slowly allows you to long-press a URL bar, popup menu to hit paste and carefully hit enter... But typing on a touchscreen just adds insult to injury. I can tell you I don't have any delays alt-tabbing apps or anything in MS Windows, the experience is easily 10x faster than android, and I don't have any difficulty typing because I use a keyboard.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - link

    "The fact that every single phone has a giant touchscreen-only means capitalism is a disastrous failure that can't provide basic options to the consumer. Besides Blackberry and Fold/Z/Mate X... every single phone looks identical to iPhone and it's quite pathetic."

    hilarious how you attribute consumers choosing touchscreens over keyboards, and the market responding to that, as the FAILURE of capitalism. You may need to take a course in "capitalism 101" to understand what capitalism actually is.

    Here is a hint: consumers had the choice of android phones with keyboards too. They chose the full touchscreen design we have today. Much like the stick shift aficionados in america, the keyboard warriors that profess their love of physical keyboards all bought touchscreens when push came to shove, and wonder why their keyboards went away.
    Reply

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