The Chinese electronics giant TCL Communication has announced that it will no longer design, manufacture and sold BlackBerry-branded smartphones. This means the smartphones carrying the iconic BlackBerry logo may soon disappear from the market. TCL Communication in a statement said it will be parting ways with the Canadian brand. The deal signed between the two companies will end in August this year. The statement added that existing BlackBerry smartphone users will continue to get after-sales services. The services will be available until August 2022. BlackBerry smartphones unveiled by TCL Communication were decent devices. The smartphones impressed loyal BlackBerry fans. The phones came with the Android OS.
The Canadian smartphone maker was once a market leader. However, it struggled to retain the position. Rival companies like Samsung and Apple flooded the market with new devices, thus disrupting the BlackBerry business. The company then launched a new OS BlackBerry 10, but it too failed to turn its fortune. The company then shifted its focus from the smartphone market. It stopped in-house designing of smartphones after fourteen years. It was in 2016 when BlackBerry signed a deal with TCL Communication to manufacture and sell smartphones. TCL Communication since then released several BlackBerry-branded Android smartphones. A few smartphones even featured the classic BlackBerry keyboard. The smartphones launched by the Chinese company in major markets include the BlackBerry KEYone, BlackBerry KEY2, and BlackBerry Motion.
Under the signed agreement, BlackBerry mostly focused on software and cyber-security. It provided apps and a security-enhanced version of the Android OS. In return, TCL paid BlackBerry a royalty for each one sold. The last smartphone TCL Communication released was the BlackBerry KEY 2 LE. It was launched in August 2018. The end of the agreement was announced by the TCL Communication itself. The company said it had a good time partnering with BlackBerry. The company added it has no longer the license to design and manufacture smartphones for BlackBerry. It will now be interesting to see how BlackBerry manages to stay in the smartphone business.