Back in 2016, BlackBerry ceased production of its own smartphones and manufacturing was taken over by TCL Communication.
Since then, the electronics company produced BlackBerry’s KEY Series smartphones, which included devices such as the KEYone, KEY2, and KEY2 LE. However, TCL Communication has now announced that it will stop selling BlackBerry smartphones on 31 August 2020.
“TCL Communication has no further rights to design, manufacture, or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices,” it said in a statement. Current BlackBerry owners will still be provided with customer and warranty service for a further two years, the company stated.
The demise of BlackBerry smartphones is not the end of BlackBerry, however. Despite being unable to compete with major smartphone brands, BlackBerry devices are renowned for their solid enterprise-level security features.
The company has subsequently shifted its main business to software which caters for cybersecurity and IoT-connected devices.
From around 2007 to 2011, BlackBerry enjoyed a healthy share of the smartphone market and proved to be very popular in South Africa.
At first, its business features and full QWERTY keyboard appealed to working professionals.
Its optimal text-input method then gradually gained more widespread appeal among the general public until it reached 20% of market share globally and 50% in the US at its peak.
The smartphones fell out of favour due to the rising popularity of the iPhone and a host of other smartphones that opted for full touch screen displays.