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As BlackBerry phone makers exit manufacturing contract; is this the end of this once super smartphone?



BlackBerry Limited’s signed partners and phone makers, TCL Communication, has announced its exit from a 2016 contract that bound the Chinese electronics company (TCL) to design and manufacture smartphones for the BlackBerry mobile company.

The contract, which lasted a period of 4 years, expired on Monday, February 3, 2020, reducing the responsibility of TCL to merely customer aider for existing users until their warranty expires.

According to TCL, the companies have reached mutual understanding to go different path in the pursuit of individual’s company business.

“TCL Communication has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices, however TCL Communication will continue to provide support for the existing portfolio of mobile devices including customer service and warranty service until August 31, 2022 – or for as long as required by local laws where the mobile device was purchased,” TCL stated in a tweet confirming the new development.

Following this end-of-deal news, speculations have trailed the internet as to the possibilities of the BlackBerry device (soon) going into extinction, or at least rebuilding new offerings should the company intend to remain in the mobile phone business.

These speculations are, however, unexpected as the BlackBerry’s market fallout story remains of the most shocking tech stories in recent times.

Indisputably, moving from the most sought after smartphone sometimes in 2013, to a handheld struggling to remain marketable; the BlackBerry device has tolled a line of loss, for largely failing to withstand competition when the heat was up following the emergence of both android and iphone smartphones.

Going by the dramatic fall in its market and the collapse of its tech might, things have, in a long way, fallen apart for this one-time mobile giant, and perhaps, will only be remembered for building and designing a device with the best workable, user keyboard.

BlackBerry market timeline:
Appraising the market growth index of BlackBerry, we see a company that could not sustain its hold of its market after climbing to its all time high in 2012 with about 80 million users globally.

And, while there was apparently simultaneous fluctuation that could have been stabilised through keen attention to the market and being more sensitive to competition, BlackBerry did not make moves to protect its power house against innovative invaders that sneaked into the space to dethrone its leadership.

• 534,000 March 1, 2003
• 1,069,000 February 28, 2004
• 41,000,000 February 27, 2010
• 70,000,000 August 27, 2011
• 77,000,000 March 3, 2012
• 80,000,000 December 1, 2012
• 76,000,000 March 2, 2013
• 72,000,000 June 1, 2013
• 79,000,000 September 2013
• 37,000,000 February 2015
• 30,000,000 September 2015
• 16,000,000 December 2016
• 14,000,000 March 2017
• 11,000,000 May 2017

From 80 down to 11, in just the span of 5 years tells how horribly the BlackBerry market fell. For a phone so much priced above others in the competition, more was expected from the company.

Perhaps, signs of a near time closure should have been read clearly in 2016 when it approached TCL to take over its manufacturing rights. Evidently, its capacity has slacked and its vault can no longer continue the business without some element of external business leanings.

Flash back:
Aside being a durable phone with an amazing design architecture, the BlackBerry soon became the most trusted handheld by corporate workers and security operatives.

In fact, its high encryption standard earned for the device the respect of the US Government as it (US) only approved it (BlackBerry) for its department’s missions abroad. In the same light, many police forces soon become its unpaid ambassadors.

The android/iphone effect:
BlackBerry will not forget the year 2013 quite soon. And, not just the company has a thing to learn from this; BlackBerry users worldwide and other tech players will better understand that staying in business is a result of one’s commitment to stay innovative on one hand and one’s swift responsiveness to the market.

As TCL steps down, the BlackBerry company might be forced to seek another partner in business, or simply slide into history.

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