Iconic yesteryear smartphone brand BlackBerry has announced that it will be parting ways with TCL Communications. The agreement between the two companies to manufacture and sell Blackberry smartphones was signed back in 2016. The partnership will now come to an end on August 31st this year. This means that TCL will no longer have the right to design, make and sell BlackBerry-branded devices. However, existing BlackBerry users will continue to receive after-sales service until August 31st, 2022. The brand had last announced a smartphone, the BlackBerry Key2 LE nearly two years ago.
Notable BlackBerry smartphones manufactured and sold by TCL include the BlackBerry KEYone, KEY2, and BlackBerry Motion. The brand had announced the Red variant of Key2 at MWC last year. All three smartphones are based on Android and feature a physical keyboard and a touchscreen panel.
BlackBerry posted a statement on Twitter saying that, “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,”
BlackBerry has been out of the smartphone market for a while now but this doesn’t mean the end of the road for the brand. The company still offers secure enterprise services to businesses and owns QNX, a popular OS for automotive applications.
Meanwhile, TCL has recently started making phones under its own brand. The company is working on a foldable smartphone and also has the license to use the Alcatel and Palm brands.