TCL‘s partnership with BlackBerry has officially come to an end, and as such, will stop selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices in August. With the end of their partnership, TCL has lost the rights to “design, manufacture or sell” any new Blackberry smartphone, according to a statement the company made on Twitter.
However, TCL will continue support for existing devices and customer warranty will last until 2022. Although the company could go into partnership with another production company to continue selling handheld devices, the company has yet to make a comment on such deals. “For those of us at TCL Communication who were blessed enough to work on BlackBerry Mobile, we want to thank all our partners, customers and the BlackBerry fan community for their support over these past few years,” TCL Communication continued in the statement.
TCL worked with BlackBerry to produce some of its most popular handhelds, including BlackBerry KEY2, KEY2 LE, and KEYonne Motion. BlackBerry was also one of the most popular handhelds on the market during the early beginnings of smartphone tech, even introducing a full QWERTY keyboard.
BlackBerry stopped making its own smartphones in 2016, and outsourced production of the devices instead to manufacturing partners like TCL Communication. This was due to declining phone sales, a saturated smartphone market, and the company’s inability to include a touchscreen to their devices fast enough.