BlackBerry phones are dead. Again. However, the company that used to make them may still have something in store for the smartphone industry, and BlackBerry may yet see another resurrection.
TCL, which had snapped up the rights to manufacture BlackBerry-branded devices, has announced that as of August 31 2020 it will no longer continue selling such products.
Further explaining its position, TCL said that the devices, including BlackBerry KeyOne and the BlackBerry Key2 LE, will be supported until August 2022. It didn't elaborate on software updates, so we're not entirely sure if BlackBerry owners would be getting any new version of Android during this time.
In the announcement, TCL said it no longer has the rights “to design, manufacture, or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices.” This leaves the doors open for either BlackBerry itself, to pick things up where TCL left off, or to bring in someone entirely new - although nowhere did it say that it was completely exiting the market.
“From everyone who worked on the BlackBerry Mobile team at TCL Communication over the years, we want to say “thank you” for allowing us to be part of this journey,” the announcement concluded.
While there was no official explanation as to why the two companies decided to part ways, the media are speculating that it’s most likely due to poor sales.
Back in 2018, when KeyOne first entered the market, BlackBerry said the device accomplished its mission, as it sold more than 800,000 units.