Android Tech News

BlackBerry Is Dead in All But Name

Dave Parrack 17-12-2016

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 BlackBerry Stops Making Phones and Nobody Cares The long and drawn-out decline of BlackBerry continues. The latest twist in the tale being BlackBerry announcing it will no longer be developing or producing its own handsets. Read More . 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 Palm Returns From The Dead, Making Money From BitTorrent [Tech News Digest] Palm is declared alive and well, Radiohead frontman makes money on BitTorrent, play free MS-DOS games in your browser, use AnyPen on Lenovo tablets, and how to draw without using your hands. Read More , 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!

Image Credit: Aaron Yoo via Flickr

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  1. Gary Gemmell
    December 28, 2016 at 3:12 am

    Still use my Blackberry Curve 9000 more reliable than any of my other phones.

    I did like the Blackberry 9800 its Camera and excellent photos were something I will always remember fondly!

    Blackberry server enterprise and Besx were also superb to administer!

    Most secure handsets as well great privacy!

  2. James
    December 22, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    My BB Passport is the best phone I've owned. It looks great. The keyboard is superb. Its design is just beautiful - it always attracts favourable attention whenever people see it. The OS is slick and the whole system operates smoothly when running software designed for BB10. Android- based stuff can run OK, but not everything does and, if it does, it doesn't always work smoothly. Hacks can get the Google family of Play Store apps running but there are problems getting updates. And it is here that BB has failed - apps. No one is now developing BB 10 apps. Windows may well be going the same way. The future seems to belong to IOS and Android. Something about Blackberry keeps me hoping they might survive and prosper, but then I remember the shameful abandonment of loyal Playbook users and a part of me thinks they deserve commercial obliteration.

  3. Shawn A
    December 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    I still think my old Blackberry was the greatest phone I ever had. The reception was terrific, the call quality was great, the OS was a bit clunky and hard to use for a first timer, but once you got to know all the ins and outs, it was fantastic, and pretty power user friendly just due to all the advanced settings you could change. The OS was very stable and never crashed. The best part? The battery life would last 3 days with heavy use. My iPhone 6S is down to 40% by the time I get home from work at the end of the day! My Android phone was even worse than that!

    • Falconwign17
      December 22, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      What was your Android phone?

      • Shawn A
        December 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm

        I had a Galaxy S4 before my iPhone 6S

  4. Shawn
    December 19, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    BlackBerry devices will be here to stay. Just because someone else produces the hardware, (that BlackBerry will also oversee) the software and security is all BlackBerry. From the root of trust, to the beautiful BlackBerry Hub. It's really no different then other companies who rely on China to produce the device. I wish this site would get the facts correct.

  5. Dwayne
    December 19, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Have always loved blackberry since my BlackBerry flip phone. Sorry to see them go. Just purchased the BlackBerry dtek60 and I love it.

    • Ebs
      December 19, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      BlackBerry won't go anywhere. This article is sadly another haters product or just a click-bait mash up.
      BlackBerry just licensed the right to build Smartphones to TCL and an Indonesian manufacturer, while those two companies still have to work closely with BlackBerry together in terms of e.g. the hardware root of trust. So next BlackBerries will still strongly be influenced by Waterloo.
      iPhones are being fully manufactured by (chinese) Foxconn over maybe a decade now. Does anyone care??
      BlackBerry clearly outsourced the hardware production to Asia to lower financial risks like all the other big IT-companies of the Western world.
      PS: listen to the next fiscal numbers coming out tomorrow!

  6. Rosalyn Johnson
    December 19, 2016 at 1:23 am

    Yes, I own the blackberry PRIV and love it. I work for the State of New York and they have given me an
    I-Phone. In comparison, my personal BlackBerry I bettter!

  7. Doyle L. Wynn Jr.
    December 18, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    I have a BB10 Passport, I everything about this device, EVERYTHING!!! I recently switched carriers From ATT Business to T-Mobile. During the number porting I find out that the Device is still lock by ATT. The Tech Rep was helping me unlock my Passport with the codes he had. You only get 10 attempts then the phone is permently lock. Guess what, the phone is locked and can't be unlocked!!! I love this phone so much I'm going to Purchase the Silver Edition. I really wish Blackberry would have stayed in the game. I Hate Virtual keypad's and as good as voice to text works really well, I just feel weird talk to my phone. I tried the Private but the Keyboard was to small, like the tourch. RIP to an Awesome era of the BB10 physical keyboards.

  8. Weegens coty
    December 18, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Yes I've been an owner of Blackberry for 13 years, and I bought most of them that came out. I still owned the passport, priv and now the dtek60. It's very fluid, sexy and beautiful. I love it very well

  9. Patrick Weaver
    December 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I have a Blackberry Curve, through work, and have turned down the opportunity to exchange it for an iPhone. I realise it is obsolete BUT its keyboard means it is perfect for sending texts and emails.
    I have a Google Nexus 7 of my own for accessing the net, as the Curve is useless for that.
    I have NO intention of switching from, or exchanging, my Curve. I will take it to my grave, unless I can be persuaded that Apple phones and their predictive text are any better.

  10. Tony
    December 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    I still own and use two BB10 devices: the Classic and Passport. There is no intention to buy an Android or iOS device anytime in the foreseeable future. My BB10 devices do everything I need it to do. These phones can probably last me another 20 years if necessary. I've had previous BlackBerry devices that lasted me 5-10 years. No need to change getting into ridiculous cycles of 'cool phones, big debt, no purpose'. Why should people be upgrading their phones each time a manufacture tells you to? Who wins? People are simply slaves to the phone game.

  11. steve power
    December 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Simply the ease of blackberry Hub, and pdf opening so easily ...running a priv at moment not sure to go go for dtek 60 or pixel
    Best phone BlackBerry ever made was passport ,unbelievable battery length ease of use and grateful display ,but ran bb10 a operating system 2 years too late .
    Priv is a great phone but at launched with a ridiculous price tag against Samsung s6 and BlackBerry wondered why it wasn't successful.
    All in a sad state of affairs blackberry hang your head in shame ,I feel sorry for the designers and app developers ,but hold the marketing and CEO to blame

  12. Mohit soni india
    December 18, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    No i need the blackberry to make device
    Bcoz its the safest hand we can get

  13. Pete
    December 18, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I love my BlackBerry Priv it's does everything an android does with a hard keyboard not taking any of the screen. It's a pity Blackberry came to android market a bit too late

    • Wade
      December 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Yeah they really wanted too long. If they would have taken the Android route sooner I think they would be a lot more relevant today. I own the Priv and liked it but unfortunately it stopped taking a charge and now won't turn on.

  14. blackberry forever
    December 18, 2016 at 11:57 am

    yes I use blackberry allready 12 years now I use z10 and when I need a new one I stay with blackberry so I hope it's will stay like all the good quality like the old bold and z10 handheld

  15. Art Todd
    December 18, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I have owned a Blackberry for many years. I bought the Z10 and I liked it quite a bit. I just bought the DTEK 50 to stay with Blackberry but use a different OS in hopes that it would be an improvement. I will hold on to the Z10, and use the DTEK 50 with hopes that I may workout (not holding my breath). I am disappointed that Blackberry had to give up on the hardware because buyers flocked to iOS and Android. Oh well, nothing lasts forever.

  16. Shahriar Balouchi
    December 18, 2016 at 6:08 am

    I own the DTek 60 and it's best phone I have ever owned. Software is great. The BlackBerry Hub is the best thing since sliced bread. Camera is better than any other in the market. I've owned it all from Samsung to Elephant to iPhone etc etc. The people writing and reading this article rather pay $1000 for an iPhone brand that hasn't invented a damn thing since retina and that's not even theirs. and what does Samsung have? What's new and innovative about samsung? Oh ya it blows up. Great. I will put the Dtek 60 up against any device. It will win hands down. These articles are garbage and biased. Pick up the phone and use it for yourself.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      December 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      The article isn't biased. If a phone company stops making phones, then it's dead.

  17. Brian
    December 18, 2016 at 5:47 am

    I've owned several BlackBerrys, currently both a Priv(the android phone) and a Classic(qnx). The priv is a good phone, the camera is really nice, it has a mediocre slide out keyboard, but I think it's too big and android is a mess. The classic I prefer a lot more. It has the best keyboard and the track pad, I can get things done twice as fast on it compared to the android one, everything in the OS works together and doesn't seem like a patchwork. I also use a nexus at work daily and had the early model nexus for personal use.
    I'm not happy that they ditched their own OS or sold the name. I don't plan to buy another phone at all- not just from TCL, but from anyone, I'll hold onto the Classic as long as I can until I see an OS that doesn't suck. I get stuck putting songs on my kids iPhone with the crap iTunes software also. I won't hold my breath, I ditched Windows for personal use and have OpenBSD on my desktop for similar reasons - I'm not putting up with questionable software and I'm not storing my files on someone else computer either like Google and Microsoft would like. I'm pretty much done, you'll have to contact me on my radio soon.(I'll gladly recommend the Kenwood TH-F6)

  18. Joey Gladstone
    December 18, 2016 at 5:19 am

    This is one of the dumbest articles I have ever read. It mentions nothing of BlackBerrys new UEM software which handles and secures any device out there. BlackBerry doesn't care about making phones anymore. It's all about securing them and managing them now and guess what...THEY ARE THE INDUSTRY LEADER. So I think the BlackBerry name still means a lot to Enterprise and security concerned companies and users.

    • Ben Dova
      December 18, 2016 at 7:09 am

      Hear, hear! This article is totally out to lunch. Three minutes of my life that I won't get back. 3½ actually, including the comment.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      December 18, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Blackberry doesn't care about making phones anymore. That's a great synopsis of this article. The article wasn't about software at was about Blackberry phones. Soooo...the Blackberry name is dead as pertaining to the subject of this article.

      And the phone and security divisions would necessarily need to be totally separate...who wouldn't run from Blackberry security solutions manufactured in China?

  19. Joseph
    December 18, 2016 at 4:08 am

    I owned almost every single Blackberry Bold: from 9000, 9700, 9780, 9900, then Z10, Q10, Z30, then Passport, Classic, and finally Flip. Recently, I almost purchase Dtek60 if I didn't read an article about where it was manufactured. That's it for Blackberry. Farewell.

    • Joey Gladstone
      December 18, 2016 at 5:21 am

      So your not going to buy a device that's made overseas then? Good luck finding one that isn't...

  20. likefunbutnot
    December 18, 2016 at 3:22 am

    I've deployed the slightly expensive but vanilla BlackBerry Android handsets. They're decent hardware for the privacy conscious, but I couldn't help but think a less expensive Motorola handset would've been a better deal since my users didn't wind up using any of that BlackBerry specific software.

    On the other hand, I am glad that BES isn't important any more. I supported a bunch of dumb Exchange implementations because somebody HAD to have a Blackberry. It was a pain in my butt and I'm all too glad that everything just syncs directly to Google Apps now. One less stupid thing for ne to deal with.

  21. John Dalton
    December 18, 2016 at 2:49 am

    I've owned BlackBerry phones for 14 years and I must say I love them. The current PRIV is an excellent.
    I will be sorry to see them go.