BlackBerry once made phones everybody wanted to own. And then the competition, namely Android and iOS — upped its game, and things quickly went sour. Now, BlackBerry is dead in all but name, with Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL acquiring the BlackBerry brand.
In September, BlackBerry announced it would no longer be developing or producing its own handsets. The company essentially shut down its hardware division, focusing instead on software and services. Because, to put it bluntly, no one was buying BlackBerries any more.
Now, according to Bloomberg, the Canadian company has sold the rights to “design, manufacture, sell, and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices” to Chinese company TCL. This is the same TCL that made the last two BlackBerry-branded handsets, the Android-powered DTEK50 and DTEK60.
This is a global deal with several caveats. It won’t apply in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, or Indonesia, with BlackBerry already having a licensing agreement in Indonesia, and currently working on one in India. The BlackBerry brand also still means something in these countries, unlike most of the rest of the world.
The New BlackBerry, Same As the Old Palm
Interestingly, TCL previously announced plans to resurrect the long-defunct Palm brand, having acquired it from HP. This was way back in January 2015, and nothing further has yet surfaced. However, TCL clearly thinks there’s some value in acquiring these once-loved-but-now-forgotten brands.
As for BlackBerry, this is surely now the time to declare the brand dead and buried. Yes, the name will be slapped on TCL handsets released in the future, but if I plaster my Chromebook with Apple logos does it suddenly become a Mac? The answer is No, No, and thrice No.
So, BlackBerry the company is alive and well and managing just fine. But BlackBerry the brand is deader than a dead thing which died mourning the demise of the dodo. Or something.
Do you still own a BlackBerry? Why have you stuck with the brand? How do you feel about TCL acquiring the BlackBerry brand? Would you consider buying a BlackBerry-branded, TCL-made handset? Please let us know in the comments below!