San Francisco: The future of the iconic BlackBerry smartphones has once again come under a cloud as Chinese electronics group TCL has announced that it will stop selling BlackBerry phones later this year.
In a note shared on Twitter Monday, TCL Communication said it ‘will no longer be selling’ BlackBerry-branded phones as of August 31, 2020.
“TCL Communication has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices,” said the note which added that the company will continue to provide support for the existing portfolio of mobile devices including customer service and warranty service until August 31,2022 – or for as long as required by local laws where the mobile device was purchased.
BlackBerry did not immediately reveal what the future holds for its phones in regions where TCL had rights to sell its phones.
After years of struggle, BlackBerry decided to stop making its own phones in 2016. TCL then entered the scene as one of the manufacturers of BlackBerry-branded phones.
According to a report in The Verge, TCL has done a decent job of it, pairing classically BlackBerry-style designs with the functions of modern Android phones, although none of the phones have been blockbuster hits.
However, recent devices have received poor reviews, it added.
The role of other manufacturers of BlackBerry phones has been limited as TCL received the biggest deal.
While Optiemus Infracom made some BlackBerry-branded devices for India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, BB Merah Putih launched a single phone in Indonesia in 2017.
For all other regions, TCL had the rights.