The end of an era: BlackBerry smartphones will be no more


During the past two years there has only been trickle of new BlackBerry phones from TCL and most of these were "Purchased by Government Departments, large Corporations or Crooks" who wanted the security that the Blackberry delivered said one observer. It's not surprising then that today, BlackBerry Mobile's official Twitter account announced the end of the BlackBerry TCL era.

BlackBerry's brand licensing agreement with TCL Communication is due to end on August 31 and the TCL has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices.

And TCL says it will provide services and support for its BlackBerry phones until August 2022. On the other hand, BlackBerry has other partners for phone production, but the relations with these companies are much more limited and cover only a few countries in the Asian region.

Granted, TCL's investment in BlackBerry was always an uphill struggle. As of August 31, TCL no longer has the rights to use BlackBerry's name or technology. And now this once-legendary brand could be dead for good.

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TCL didn't announce a new BlackBerry phone past year (not counting the BlackBerry KEY2 RED Edition) and neither did any of the other two licensees - Optiemus and BB Merah Putih of India and Indonesia respectively.

This throws the BlackBerry name into an uncertain place. In 2016, we had the first news about the abandonment of device manufacturing to focus on software. The setup could spell out either a hiatus or potentially a complete disappearance of the BlackBerry brand. TCL had managed to replicate the satisfying feel of the original Bold and Curve phones, even turning the keyboard into a tactile gesture system, as seen on the novel BlackBerry Passport in 2014.

While potentially a loss for keyboard-loving smartphone users, BlackBerry itself no longer relies on mobile device sales for the bulk of its business.

BlackBerry cutting ties with the Chinese manufacturer that has been selling its mobile phone for the last three years in a move that will take its handsets off the market and potentially bring them one step closer to death.