TCL Communications has announced the end of its licensing agreement for BlackBerry naming rights, meaning the end is near for the famous brand.
In a Twitter post, TCL Communciations revealed that its licensing agreement for the use of the BlackBerry on mobile phones would expire on August 21, 2020 and that it would not be renewed. This means that the company will no longer design, sell, or manufacture any further BlackBerry devices, but it will maintain customer support and warranty service up until August 31, 2020.
Related: Best Phones
The statement went on to claim that “The future is bright for… BlackBerry Limited”, which may be hard to swallow seeing as the brand looks to fade into the void after this summer, but it could indicate that a different buyer has shown an interest in purchasing the naming rights (despite the fact that it will hardly be the lucrative proposition it would have been around 12 years ago).
Related: Best Android Phones
Our last review of a handset from the classic brand was for the BlackBerry Key2, to which we awarded 3.5 stars out of 5. We praised the improvements to the physical keyboard and the adoption of Android software to replace BlackBerry’s own efforts, but we criticised the bloated price and mediocre camera. Our verdict? “For BlackBerry die-hards only.” It seems there simply weren’t enough of them around to keep the brand viable.
However, BlackBerry is far more likely to be affectionately remembered for older devices from the early noughties BlackBerry Curve series, which offered a distinctive physical keyboard and the exclusive BBM messaging service. Since then, such devices have been superseded by smartphones with an all-touchscreen interface with physical keyboards largely consigned to the past. Long gone are the days when commentators would frequently make fruit-based puns to compare the brand to market leaders Apple; since its heyday, BlackBerry has crumbled.