BlackBerry started its failure as one of the well-known phone manufacturers and stopped making phones and in 2016, Blackberry licensed its brand to TCL. BlackBerry was going down since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, as well as premium Android phones from Samsung and others.
TCL has so far designed and sold Blackberry devices and that's about to end as BlackBerry has announced that TCL will no longer sell Blackberry-branded phones, starting this August 31, 2020, while their contract already expired on February 3, 2020.
Blackberry had taken to Twitter last night to share the news as an announcement to everyone.
Even though, BlackBerry has confirmed that until 31 August 2022 consumers who have bought a Blackberry smartphone will continue to receive assistance including customer service and warranty. This may also be able to comfort the existing customers to not worry about the announcement.
As recently as June 2018, TCL tried to keep the barely surviving brand alive with the launch of the BlackBerry Key2, an Android smartphone that aimed to exploit conventional BlackBerry strengths including a physical Qwerty-style mobile keyboard, solid protection, and long battery life. “An icon reborn” was a slogan to make its appearance and drove into its market again. BlackBerry was trying to keep its icon keypad on its smartphone lineups while this iconic appearance has been no more in users' hearts.
BlackBerry has been on the comeback trail in one way or another for many years now, and while BlackBerry's business wasn't exactly booming, there was some hope that there was even a Key2 launch on top of the KeyOne model launched. However, the dream has never been fulfilled.
By the way, you may remember that TCL announced its own TCL Plex smartphone product last September at IFA 2019. Later, at CES 2020, it experimented with foldable phones and introduced a prototype. It sounds like TCL is going to make its smartphone to appear in the market by itself rather than sell its smartphones under the BlackBerry brand.
It's unclear at this point whether this is the end of BlackBerry phones in the mainstream market. There are chances of Blackberry's possible resurrection by partnering with another brand, or the company again taking control of the business.