By Adedapo Adesanya
Mobile phone maker, Blackberry, which once dominated the global phone market, may soon cease to exist as its Chinese manufacturing partner-company, TCL, has confirmed that it will no longer produce smartphones for the company.
The company started making phones for Blackberry in 2016, and this year may mark the end of production as it would no longer retains the rights to sell, design, or manufacture BlackBerry phones as of August 31, 2020, this was according to a statement that BlackBerry Mobile posted on Twitter on Monday.
“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,” the statement reads in part.
It was, however, not declared whether the phone maker will work with a different partner to produce and sell devices, but disclosed that TCL will continue to provide support for the existing portfolio of devices until February 2022.
BlackBerry stopped making its own phones in 2016, when it began working with other companies like TCL for hardware-related products and with the end of the partnership, BlackBerry phones mark the end of an era for a smartphone brand that once claimed 20 percent of the global phone market.
The decision to partner with TCL Communication came when BlackBerry recorded falling phone sales as the market became saturated with new mobile phone players who brought new smartphones.
It was also revealed that BlackBerry did not latch onto the touchscreen design on time and this led it to lose out to Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy and other Android devices.
This led BlackBerry to turn its attention to the more lucrative business of software, particularly for cybersecurity and Internet connected devices like cars. While the company is still struggling to turn a profit so far in 2020, the strategy has helped bring BlackBerry back from the brink of failure, when investors were concerned about the company’s survival.
The company also shut down its once-popular messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), in May 2019.
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