After TCL announced the end of its licensing agreement with Blackberry, people were quick to put out gloomy forecasts about its future. But maybe we shouldn’t pour one out for BlackBerry just yet.
Let’s get the bad news over with first: we’re probably never going to get another BlackBerry phone. Mainly because the security benefits of a keyboard just aren’t as sexy as a smooth-screened smartphone competitor.
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As IDC research manager Marta Pinto told Trusted Reviews, “The keyboard is a physical and visible feature but not enough to capture the clients’ attention when the competition is showing bezel-less devices with high specs every quarter.”
This means that BlackBerry – which had previously licensed its mobile brand to TCL – will continue to struggle to convince that BlackBerry phones are a worthwhile investment. And that goes for both consumers and potential licensee partners.
As a company, BlackBerry is much more focused on security products.
At CES this year, it revealed some new flashy automotive and security technology. This is a lot less exciting than revealing a new all-singing smartphone – but given that we’re on the cusp of an uptake in autonomous vehicles, Blackberry could be about to cash in.
Blackberry itself was undeniably chipper when approached for comment, telling Trusted Reviews: “The future is bright for BlackBerry!”
It also confirmed that it was indeed focusing on “enterprise security software and services for enterprises and governments globally”.
No mention of mobiles in there. A spokesperson also declined to comment on future licensing plans for its mobile brand.
A return of the BlackBerry mobile is not entirely impossible – “the brand would need to capitalize on its most valuable asset: the connection that all audiences do between Blackberry, keyboard and security,” says Pinto – but it doesn’t look like it’s on the cards right now.
Instead, BlackBerry will probably focus on security solutions, unless an unexpected phones proposition lands in the company’s lap.
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The TCL and BlackBerry split was announced via Twitter – it’s not clear what drove the break-up but BlackBerry has said it was a mutual decision.