The final nail may have been driven into BlackBerry’s coffin

BlackBerry Key2
BlackBerry Key2. Image: IDGNS

Another one bites the dust

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4 February 2020 | 0

Yes, you can still walk into a store and buy a BlackBerry in 2020, but those days may soon be over given a recent announcement from BlackBerry phone maker TCL.

TCL says that as of 31 August 2020, it “will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices … (and) has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices.” That’s pretty much a death blow to the company’s slim hopes of mounting a revival.

If you own a BlackBerry KeyOne or Key2, TCL says it will continue to provide support for phones through August 2022.

 

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Granted, TCL’s investment in BlackBerry was always an uphill struggle. When it announced it was licensing the brand back in December 2016, it was met with an equal mix of quizzical stares and snickers, as BlackBerry’s heyday was long gone. The launch of the iPhone and the proliferation of Android handsets made the hardware keyboard seem quaint and antiquated.

Nonetheless, TCL persisted, but in a world of 6″ screens and powerful cameras, BlackBerry’s vision was a tough sell to anyone but a hopeless nostalgic. Even the once-popular BlackBerry Messenger service shuttered last May.

So it’s not at all surprising that TCL has opted not to renew its BlackBerry license. Any BlackBerry phone is destined to be a niche product, and as Android phones pick up more cameras and pixels, that niche is shrinking. Farewell BlackBerry and the physical keyboard, both of which will likely never be seen again.

IDG News Service

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