It's the end of an era. Or, well, it might be. The BlackBerry Mobile Twitter account tweeted today that as of August 31 of this year, TCL Communication will no longer be able to sell BlackBerry smartphones, as the licensing deal is coming to an end. Existing devices will still be supported through August 31, 2022.
It was September 2016 when BlackBerry announced that it would no longer make its own first-party handsets. Less then three months later though, the TCL brand licensing deal was struck, and the BlackBerry name lived on.
Under TCL's tenure, new BlackBerry launches included the KEYone and the KEY2, Android handsets with physical keyboards. While they were popular for fans of the brand, overall enthusiasm around the devices was tepid. Indeed, the rest of the world has moved on to full touchscreens.
Of course, this doesn't have to be the end of the line for BlackBerry-branded smartphones. Just like TCL licensed the brand after BlackBerry stopped making its own phones, some other hardware manufacturer could swoop in to make a similar deal, now that the brand is up for grabs.