Today, TCL Communications revealed that the company will lose its BlackBerry brand license and stop selling such devices in August. The announcement comes as a bit of a shock, and what this actually means for the BlackBerry brand as well as BB mobile devices is still unclear.
BlackBerry phones under TCL had enjoyed a resurgence over the past few years, and one would have assumed the partnership was successful. Whether BlackBerry is partnering with another 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 bringing new, modern BlackBerry smartphones to the world, we were very excited and humbled to take on this challenge. Indeed, our KEY Series smartphones, starting with KEYone, were eagerly awaited by the BlackBerry community. What made these devices great was not only the hardware developed and manufactured by TCL Communication, but also the essential security and software features provided by BlackBerry Limited to ensure that they were genuine BlackBerry devices. Support from BlackBerry Limited has been a vital part of bringing devices such as the BlackBerry KEYone, Motion, KEY2 and KEY2 LE to life and we are proud to have worked with them over the past few years on these products.
However, we regret to share that from August 31, 2020, TCL Communication will no longer sell 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 as long as required by local laws where the mobile device has been bought. More information can be found at www.blackberrymobile.com or by calling customer support at the numbers listed at https://blackberrymobile.com/hotline-and-service-center/.
For those of us at TCL Communication who have had the chance to work on BlackBerry Mobile, we would like to thank all of our partners, customers and the community of BlackBerry fans for their support over the 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 TCL Communication and BlackBerry Limited, and we hope you will continue to support both as we move forward on our respective paths.
On behalf of everyone who has worked on the BlackBerry Mobile team at TCL Communication over the years, we would like to say “Thank you” for allowing us to be part of this journey.
As for TCL, the company is developing its own line of TCL-branded devices which appear to be extremely competitive in their capabilities and designs. Although it’s a loss for the company, I’m sure their own branded devices will be successful enough on their own – even if we’ll miss the classic BlackBerry devices with their signature physical keyboards.