Massive modifications are forward for BlackBerry and TCL because the smartphone market continues to see slowing progress. The pair announced today that they might finish their four-year model licensing and tech assist partnership in August 2020, with TCL ceasing to make new fashions of BlackBerry handsets after then. TCL — which has solely a 1% share of the entire smartphone market in the present day — will proceed to assist fashions which are already available in the market till August 31, 2022.
“We… remorse to share… that as of August 31, 2020, TCL Communication will now not be promoting BlackBerry-branded cellular units,” says the notice, posted on BlackBerry’s Twitter account. “TCL has no additional rights to design, producers or promote any new BlackBerry cellular units.”
The corporate has but to observe up with any extra particulars about what this implies for brand new BlackBerry handsets after that time. (We now have requested immediately however haven’t heard again. Individuals asking on Twitter are additionally not getting any responses.)
The announcement caps off what has been a tricky 4 years for the 2 firms.
BlackBerry, making units utilizing its personal working system, was as soon as a market chief and trailblazer on the planet of smartphones with its small, full-qwerty keyboard gaining a loyal following amongst skilled customers, “prosumers” and different early adopters. That recognition result in the Canada-founded firm controlling some 50 % of the smartphone market within the US and a few 20 % globally at its peak.
That was, nevertheless, earlier than the rise of the touchscreen. After the launch of Apple’s iPhone and a slew of Android -powered handsets, Analysis In Movement (as the corporate was known as then) steadily noticed its market share begin to decline because it failed to provide compelling sufficient handsets to suit altering tastes.
RIM/BlackBerry seemed to be prepared to go away the smartphone market altogether to focus as an alternative on safety, enterprise providers and techniques for different kinds of “” like linked automobiles till TCL got here alongside.
TCL’s announcement in December of 2016 that it could take over making handsets, with BlackBerry to offer safety and apps, however not the working system, which might be Android — not not like the partnership that one other once-huge however now ageing handset model, Nokia, struck up with HMD, just months before that, to make smartphones constructed on Android — regarded like a brand new lease of life for BlackBerry.
However the change might have been too little, too late. The previous couple of years have seen a common slowing down of smartphone progress, largely on account of market penetration in lots of international locations. It’s a lot more durable to shift units than it was once. There’s additionally a military of latest handset makers out of Asia, additionally constructing on Android, which are dominating gross sales. Huawei, together with the likes Xiaomi and Oppo, make the gross sales funnel much more difficult.
The top consequence has been that TCL and BlackBerry have struggled to interrupt by with vital gross sales — falling as an alternative into the big, and largely fragmented, “different” class in smartphone market share studies.
StrategyAnalytics tells me that TCL has solely a 1% share of the worldwide smartphone market protecting each its BlackBerry and Alcatel manufacturers (the latter is one other legacy cellular handset model that TCL resuscitated).
Extra not too long ago, TCL has been wading into the market with its own-branded devices alongside its efforts with BlackBerry and Alcate), and so the writing was, maybe, already on the touchscreen, so to talk.
We’ve reached out to BlackBerry to seek out out if it might probably inform us any extra on its plans for handsets going ahead or if that is actually it. BlackBerry has inked some licensing partnerships in particular markets, corresponding to this handset deal in Indonesia, so there could also be but extra to return.