The future of BlackBerry’s smartphones is looking squishy.
The Chinese company that manufacturers the beloved smartphone for much of the world says it has to stop selling them.
TCL Communication will end sales of BlackBerry-branded phones as of Aug. 31 because it will no longer have the rights to design, make or sell them, the company said in a statement Monday. TCL added that it will provide customer and warranty service through Aug. 31, 2022, for existing BlackBerry devices, which are known for their physical keyboards and loyal fans.
“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,” TCL said in the statement on the BlackBerry Mobile Twitter account.
TCL made a licensing deal with BlackBerry Limited, the Canadian software company that initially developed the phones, to make and sell devices bearing the BlackBerry brand in 2016, the same year BlackBerry launched its final mobile device. Phones developed by TCL include the Key2, which has an old-school tactile keyboard, and the all-touch-screen Motion.
The pact allowed TCL to sell BlackBerry phones everywhere except Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. BlackBerry has similar deals with BB Merah Putih and Optiemus Infracom to sell them in those markets.
BlackBerry declined to comment when asked whether it plans to pursue a new licensing deal and why TCL will no longer have the rights. But the company thanked TCL for a “successful partnership” in a Twitter post.
“Together we produced great things,” BlackBerry said in the tweet. “Many thanks and appreciation to our BlackBerry community for your continued support.”
With Post wires