Resurrected BlackBerry handsets from TCL to disappear from the market in August
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For anyone that still cared about being able to buy a BlackBerry branded handset, we have some sad news. TCL, the only major BlackBerry smartphone licensee has announced that it will cease production of any new BlackBerry branded smartphones from August 31. Although sales performance was probably underwhelming, the company simply states that the date is when its licensing agreement comes to an end. Had it been the hit it was looking for, undoubtedly TCL would have looked to extend the agreement.
This will mark the second major occasion where BlackBerry smartphones have ceased to be produced. BlackBerry announced back in September of 2016 that it would cease manufacturing and releasing its handsets but would instead license the brand to other OEMs. TCL was one the only one of a couple of eventual licensees that had permission to sell its BlackBerry-branded devices globally. Devices that it sold included the BlackBerry KEYOne and its sequel the KEY2, both of which featured hardware-based QWERTY keyboards but ran Android.
BlackBerry (formerly RIM) once held over a 50 percent share of the smartphone market its peak. Its fall was precipitous as it failed to develop a viable response to the rise of Apple’s iPhone and Android. The company was caught completely off-guard by the iPhone launch in 2007 and thought, initially, that Steve Jobs had to be bluffing about its capabilities. One RIM employee later wrote that the company thought a device like the iPhone was at least five years away but were shocked when they saw its internals, populated as they were by a tiny motherboard and huge (comparatively) battery.