While plans beyond this obvious setback have not been announced, TCL Communication was confirmed this week to be ending the partnership that allowed them to design, manufacture, and sell new BlackBerry devices.
Back in December 2016, TCL began an agreement with BlackBerry Limited that allowed for brand licensing and tech support in an effort to roll out new devices around the world. Now, that is no more.
"We do regret to share, however, that as of Aug. 31, 2020, TCL Communication will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices," the company said in a statement on Monday. TCL, the statement added, will then have "no further rights" to make or sell "any new BlackBerry mobile devices."
A CNN report on this grave development notes that the BlackBerry company is still "struggling to turn a profit" in the current fiscal year. Its strategy in recent years to focus on software instead of hardware, however, has given the brand a noticeable boost.
As stated above, the prospect of another company stepping in to continue crafting new BlackBerry devices (as TCL did with its fleet of KEY smartphones) remains neither confirmed nor denied by the namesake brand. Current device owners, however, can look forward to maintaining access to customer and warranty-related service through 2022. After that, you may or may not be totally fucked.
To up the melodrama of it all, BlackBerry even unleashed a retrospective video: