If you are a fan of BlackBerry branded smartphones, 2020 will be a grim year for you as TCL has announced the end of the partnership with the brand.
TCL announced that they will no longer be selling BlackBerry branded mobile devices as of August 31st 2020. This means that TCL will not have further rights to design, manufacturer or sell any new Blackberry devices.
The company had entered into a brand licencing and tech support agreement with BlackBerry Limited back in 2016. BlackBerry stopped making its own phones and decided to licence out its brand instead.
This partnership with TCL led to a number of BlackBerry smartphones running Android and some devices still featured the much loved BlackBerry keyboard and security features. It was a much needed partnership since the use of BlackBerry OS had dipped to obscurity and we were at a market where we have a choice of two main smartphone operating systems.
The partnership enabled the release of such phones as the BlackBerry KEYone, Motion, KEY2 and KEY2 LE.
Although the partnership has ended, TCL says that they will continue to provide support for the existing portfolio of smartphones which includes customer service and warranty service until August 31st 2022.
With TCL out of the picture, the BlackBerry brand could disappear for a while. BlackBerry does not have any other partnerships to make their phones and it could mean that we will see another demise of the brand. TCL however has been getting such licecing deals to make other phones, like Alcatel for example so they will still be sticking around.