For a number of years now, Blackberry and TCL Communication have been working together to release new phones with BlackBerry branding that run on Android. It looks like that partnership is coming to an end, as TCL has announced that it will stop offering BlackBerry-branded devices later this year.
August 31st, 2020 is the date to mark on your calendars, as that’s the day TCL says it will stop selling BlackBerry devices. The announcement was made today on the official BlackBerry Mobile Twitter account, though BlackBerry itself didn’t elaborate on the news. Check out TCL’s statement in full below.
It seems that TCL’s licensing agreement with BlackBerry Mobile has run out, with TCL saysing that it “has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices,” in today’s statement. We haven’t seen a new BlackBerry-branded phone since the KEY2 LE, which launched back in 2018, so that may have been a sign that things were winding down for this partnership.
Even though TCL will stop selling BlackBerry-branded devices on August 31st, it won’t stop offering support and warranty service on existing devices until August 31st, 2022 “or for as long as required by local laws where the mobile device was purchased.”
It’ll be interesting to see what happens once TCL stops selling the BlackBerry devices it helped create. Perhaps we’ll see BlackBerry enter into a licensing agreement with another company? Another possibility is that BlackBerry Mobile takes back the reins and starts designing new devices itself, but that feels like a long shot when you consider that BlackBerry shut down a number of Android apps last year. We’ll just have to wait and see how the whole thing plays out, but after today, one thing is for sure: Regardless of BlackBerry’s plans for the future, they won’t include TCL.