BlackBerry phones ‘could vanish’ after manufacturer stops selling handsets

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Could this be the end for BlackBerry? (Getty)

One of the gadgets that launched the smartphone revolution could be about to disappear, after the manufacturer of BlackBerry said it would stop selling the phone this summer.

BlackBerry was one of the largest phone brands on Earth in the mid-2000s, but lost ground to Apple and then Android.

Chinese firm TCL said it would halt sales of BlackBerry-branded handsets at the end of August, and would end software support for current phones in August 2022.

The two companies entered into a brand licensing agreement in 2016, which saw TCL manufacture and sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones.

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The company ended its own in-house device development before entering into the deal with TCL in late 2016, releasing a number of new smartphones since with limited critical success.

In a statement posted to the BlackBerry Mobile Twitter page, the two companies said that "as of August 31, 2020, TCL Communication will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices".

"TCL Communication has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices, however TCL Communication will continue to provide support for the existing portfolio of mobile devices including customer service and warranty service until August 31, 2022 - or for as long as required by local laws where the mobile device was purchased," it continued.

"The future is bright for both TCL Communication and BlackBerry Limited, and we hope you'll continue to support both as we move ahead on our respective paths."

BlackBerry has since moved into cybersecurity and technology around the internet of things - including software designed to be used in connected cars.

Neither company has commented further, and it is not yet known if BlackBerry plans to enter into an agreement with another firm to continue manufacturing mobile devices carrying its name.