BlackBerry might finally be dead after licensing deal with manufacturer ends

BlackBerry might finally be dead after licensing deal with manufacturer ends
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Blackberry announced yesterday that TCL Communications, the company that manufactures its phones, will cease selling BlackBerry-branded hardware from August 31, 2020. The announcement came via the BlackBerry Mobile Twitter account which stated that: "TCL Communication has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices."

You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the Grim Reaper and it looks like BlackBerry’s time might finally have come if no more handsets are being designed or built. BlackBerry used to be one of the most prolific phone manufacturers in the world during the 2010s, but struggled to keep up with smartphones once their popularity exploded. It’s been a long time since a BlackBerry phone was anywhere near our best smartphones list.

Existing BlackBerry customers can breathe a sigh of relief though, as TCL Communications will continue to provide support, including customer support and warranty claims until August 31, 2020. Given the wording of the statement, it appears that TCL’s current licensing agreement has ended and it has decided not to renew it, though neither company has officially commented on why the relationship has ended.

BlackBerry stopped producing its own phones back in 2016, instead choosing to license its name out to the Chinese corporation who has designed, built, and sold all BlackBerry-branded phones since then. These new BlackBerry devices failed to reach the popularity that the brand had once enjoyed though, and have not made any significant dent in the market.

This isn’t a confirmed end for BlackBerry though. It could still license its brand out to another company, or even start manufacturing smartphones itself again, however unlikely that currently seems. We’ll keep you updated on BlackBerry’s fate going forwards.

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Ian Stokes

Ian Stokes is the Tech Editor here at Top Ten Reviews. He has extensive experience in tech and games journalism, with work published on IGN, Kotaku UK, Waypoint, GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, and many more. You'll find him covering everything from smartphones and home computers to 3D printers and headphones. He's also our resident cocktail expert.