Long before the world got used to the modern-day Android phones and the fancy iPhones, the world was in love with BlackBerry smartphones.
The late 2000s was the era of BlackBerry dominating the market but as Android’s domination came across, BlackBerry had few takers. BlackBerry stopped making phones on its own and gave TCL the license to make and sell its phones back in 2016. However, as 2020 begins, BlackBerry is shutting its shop once again.
In an official announcement, BlackBerry Mobile announced that it is parting ways with TCL Communications and as a result, TCL won’t be manufacturing any more BlackBerry phones. The contract termination limits TCL to make phones until August 31, 2020, after which no BlackBerry phones will be manufactured. The company will continue to support the latest models until August 31, 2020, after which the support will be dropped.
“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,” said the official note.
“The future is bright for both TCL Communication and BlackBerry Limited, and we hope you’ll continue to provide support both as we move ahead on our respective paths,” it added.
The partnership with TCL saw some unique smartphone from the BlackBerry over the years. The KEY series phones were the only Android phones of late to come with physical QWERTY keyboards. The BlackBerry Motion, BlackBerry KEYone, BlackBerry KEY2 and BlackBerry KEY2 LE were some of the model that came out of this partnership. All these BlackBerry phones ran on Android but the company offered a more secure platform with enterprise-grade security.
TCL, meanwhile, is looking to manufacture its own phones and at the CES 2020, the company showcased a bunch of premium Android smartphones. TCL is also exploring foldable smartphones with a flexible display but none of them have made it to the commercial market.
While BlackBerry has terminated its manufacturing contract with TCL, it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a future BlackBerry smartphone. The manufacturing contract will cease in August and that gives Blackberry time to look for a new manufacturing partner. Chances are that the company may come up with secure Android phones meant for enterprise consumers coming later in the year.