Shouldn't buy Apple BlackBerry

TCL does not extend license: Blackberry on the verge of extinction

Michael Simon

In a pre-iPhone era, they were the dominant smartphones. But the last hour has struck for Blackberry handsets.

Yes, you can still go into a store and buy a BlackBerry even in 2020, but those days may soon be numbered, as BlackBerry maker TCL recently announced.

As of August 31, 2020, TCL will "no longer sell BlackBerry branded mobile devices ... (and) hold no further rights to develop, manufacture or sell new BlackBerry mobile devices". This is quite a fatal blow - and it lowers all hopes of the company for a revival.

If you own a BlackBerry KeyOne or Key2, TCL says it will continue to offer support for the phones through August 2022, but I wouldn't bet on an Android 10 update anytime soon.

Granted, TCL's investment in BlackBerry has always been an uphill battle. When the company announced it was licensing the brand in December 2016, it was greeted with a mixture of questioning glances and giggles as BlackBerry's heyday was long over. The advent of the iPhone and the proliferation of Android phones made the hardware keyboard seem out of date, and the mere thought of using one hurt our thumbs.

Nonetheless, TCL kept going, and to be honest, we didn't even hate the BlackBerry Key2 at all. But in a world of six-inch screens and powerful cameras, the BlackBerry's vision was barely recognizable except to a hopeless nostalgic. Even the once popular BlackBerry messenger service will close in May.

So it's no surprise that TCL chose not to renew its BlackBerry license. Every BlackBerry phone is destined to be a niche product, and as even Android phones keep getting better, that niche seems to be shrinking more and more. So raise your glass to BlackBerry and the physical keyboard goodbye - you will probably never see either of them again.