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The end for BlackBerry phones? TCL confirms it won't make them anymore

BlackBerry Key2 LE
The BlackBerry Key2 LE that was launched in 2018 (Image credit: Future)

The current manufacturer of BlackBerry devices has confirmed it won't be making any new phones that sport the iconic brand name. 

TCL Communication has produced BlackBerry devices since late 2016 - those include phones like the BlackBerry KeyOne and Key2 - but now it has confirmed its partnership is ending.

The company won't sell anymore BlackBerry devices after August 31, 2020, and it has no rights to "design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices" beyond that, either.

TCL Communication will continue to support warranties for devices until August 31, 2022 but it hasn't confirmed whether it'll be offering new software updates to existing devices through to that date.

We've asked TCL Communication if that would be the case, but we've yet to hear back from the company.

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This throws the BlackBerry name into an uncertain place. If no other companies decide to take on the brand name from BlackBerry Limited, it may mean we won't see any further devices with the branding.

BlackBerry Limited remains a company that focuses on other areas rather than smartphones, but it hasn't produced its own handsets for some years now. 

That means it'd be unlikely for the company to take on the responsibility of manufacturing again, but we may see another company take on the mantel in the future.

BlackBerry was at one stage one of the world's biggest phone brands with the company selling over 50 million new handsets in 2011 alone. The company's market share has declined rapidly in recent years though as it has struggled to compete with other Android manufacturers and the iPhone.

James Peckham

James is Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.