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Bye-bye BlackBerry?

February 3, 2020.

BlackBerry Key2.

Key2. © TCL Communication.

Chinese phone-maker TCL tweeted on Monday that it would stop selling BlackBerry phones as of August 31. TCL has been making BlackBerry-branded Android phones with physical keyboards since December 2016, but will not be renewing its brand license — due to a trade dispute? — as it increasingly concentrates on producing phones under its own brand. Which once again raises the question of whether any telephones will bear the BlackBerry logo in the future. TCL says it will maintain support for existing devices until August 31, 2022. This is devastating news for the physical keyboard addicts.

Under the BlackBerry label, TCL had developed some interesting devices, the KEYone and the KEY2. But, while they were pretty cool, they mostly catered to the nostalgia niche. BlackBerry is a textbook case of an innovative company that led the industry, then coasted its way into oblivion. Indeed, the leaders at Research in Motion underestimated the technological and cultural revolution brought about by the iPhone in 2007. Canadian company BlackBerry Limited, formerly Research in Motion, is now entirely out of the hardware field, specializing in security software solutions for enterprises.

Ars Technica, Ron Amadeo, “The end of BlackBerry phones: TCL will cease sales in August 2020.”