Today BlackBerry Mobile officially announced on Twitter that TCL will stop selling BlackBerrys on August 31, 2020. TCL Communications will not have the authority to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices. That means BlackBerry is finally “leaving” the smartphone battleground after four years of “renewal.”
BlackBerry and TCL Destiny Intertwined
BlackBerry, once a popular brand in the smartphone market, has matched the smartphone giants Apple and Samsung with its own operating system and excellent keyboard feel.
Its compact full keyboard design is popular among some professional users and players, and has won a lot of fans. The hottest period was almost 50 per cent of the US smartphone market and 20 per cent of the global market.
But after the rise of touch screens, BlackBerry’s persistence has sent the Canadian company on a downward spiral. Before TCL, BlackBerry seemed ready to leave the smartphone market and devote itself to hardware systems such as security services, corporate services and car connectivity.
Until September 2016, BlackBerry handed the fate of smartphones to TCL to reduce capital spending. The Chinese company will be responsible for the development, design and sale of BlackBerry-branded smartphones, while BlackBerry will only provide security services and ancillary software. Also from this day on, BlackBerry is no longer the old BlackBerry, it is on a similar path to HMD Nokia, Lenovo Motorola.
Transition from BlackBerry to TCL
After TCL took over BlackBerry, it soon launched its first product, the DTEK60. Instead of continuing BlackBerry’s classic full keyboard, the phone is more in line with the smartphone’s wide-stiletto stoic phone at the time, and it uses AnAndroid, which is mainly secure.
BlackBerry puts the then-unique DTEK security app into this product, which helps the system monitor calls to user privacy from other apps. But the BlackBerry DTEK60 was designed so similar to an Idol 4S under TCL’s Alcatel brand that many media at the time saw it as a label for Alcatel’s phones.
Apparently tcl sits not quite ready for this period, and TCL’s BlackBerry first shot seems a bit sloppy.
TCL Brings BlackBerry back to China
Although the Chinese terminal manufacturer contract, but the BlackBerry DTEK60 did not enter the Chinese market. The first BlackBerry that Chinese consumers can buy from formal sources is called KEYone, a combination of touch screen and full keyboard. At the time, the phone was enough to excite BlackBerry fans, with its heritage and new-age elements.
However, after the premiere of CES International Consumer Electronics Show, the MWC Mobile World Congress’s looping performance, BlackBerry KEYone has not been able to appear before us. TCL, the phone’s actual operator, looked a little sluggish, pulling the phone’s warm-up promotional cycle too long: warm-up in January and officially released at the end of February, but it was not available two months later.
For an electronic product, this slow pace will no doubt allow it to cool down quickly, especially as the flagships of Samsung, Xiaomi and others continue to brush the screen.
It’s been four months since BlackBerry KEYone officially entered China. It does have a more “Blackberry-flavoured” look than the previous DTEK series, with a mash-up design of the touch screen and physical keyboard, and a unique textured plastic material on the back that makes the phone look so different. TCL, meanwhile, is gearing up for blackberry’s return at the launch.
And in the same way, Blackberry KEYone also has some problems. Its proud touch-screen-and-physical keyboard mash-up design, while eye-catching, also poses a logical problem with the need for users to constantly switch their habits between the touch screen and the keyboard. Local application adaptation sits less perfectly, and BlackBerry’s signature security software suite looks vulnerable because of the lack of server support. (Blackberry KEYone Review)
And, of course, the price of 3,999 yuan is hard for BlackBerry KEYone, which arrived in China late in the day, to attract users outside the fan base. After all, china’s mobile phone market competition is still very fierce, consumers can choose too many products too much.
Shortly after BlackBerry’s KEYone launched in China, the phone had problems abroad. According to multiplemedia reports, the BlackBerry KEYone screen glass is easy to separate from the body, under moderate pressure, the screen will pop from the fuselage. TCL quickly responded by adjusting the adhesive for the new machine screen glass to solve the problem.
TCL never announced shipments of the product, noting only that it had more than 140,000 reservations in Jd.com and sold 5,000 units in eight minutes on the first day of sales. But TCL’s BlackBerry and Alcatel brands account for only 1% of the global smartphone market, making it “other” in data forms, according to Strategy Analytics.
KEY2 series into the final product
BlackBerry KEYone didn’t bring THE TCL to its glory as it thought, but the phone maker stuck with the blackberry KEY2, the second product in its all-keyboard line. Compared to keyone’s stunning debut, THE KEY2 has become a bit of a force.
More like a 2.0 upgrade to KEYone, the phone inherits KEYone’s core design, the full keyboard and touch screen mix, and builds on the configuration and detail. The launch was more focused on fan propaganda, and while the official external caliber wanted the unique design to attract more young people, in fact its user base was only retained in the fan base.
It is still the price of 3999 yuan, but the use of a “long-lasting sand field” of the mid-range chip, which is difficult for both domestic and foreign users to accept. That’s why TCL launched the Key2 LE overseas, retaining key2’s classic all-keyboard components, further driving down prices.
At this time, TCL under the BlackBerry in China in addition to online cooperation with JD.com, but also opened the first star store in Shanghai, and full of confidence in the future, want to open eight or so star stores in first- and second-tier cities, to provide BlackBerry local services and experience.
It’s just that by the time we hear the news again, the rumor that BlackBerry will be turned over by TCL has spread. Although BlackBerry’s China operations director, Indus, denied the news in a private communication with Sina Digital, BlackBerry did have a silent amount at the time.
In the hearts of fans, the BlackBerry brand has never been indelible, like Motorola, nokia in the era of the function machine. But with the changes of the times, these classic brands finally embarked on the road of labeling, and never returned.