BlackBerry once ruled the shelves of Carphone Warehouse, with every business executive and teenager desperate to own the latest model to manage spreadsheets or message on BBM, respectively. That all changed with the launch of the iPhone and the raft of other touchscreen-based Android smartphones that followed.
However, BlackBerry partnered with appliance manufacturer TCL to launch the KEYone in April 2017. This new handset had both a touchscreen and a keypad – designed to attract back customers who had left the BlackBerry brand in favour of Android or iOS touchscreen smartphones.
TCL emphasised the security of the BlackBerry brand as well as a number of exclusive software features included with the handset (including a revamped version of BBM to try and tempt people away from WhatsApp and other rivals) and support for the millions of apps, eBooks, movies and more in the Google Play Store.
With 850,000 units sold worldwide, TCL declared the KEYone as a success. The KEYone was soon followed by the KEYone 2.
It’s been four years since the partnership between TCL and BlackBerry began. Unfortunately for those hoping for a KEYone 3 on the horizon, TCL has today announced that both companies will part ways in August 2020.
If you ever needed one reason NOT to buy a BlackBerry phone, THIS is probably it
TCL, which is partially owned by the Chinese government, has confirmed plans to continue to support existing KEYone models with new software updates and bug fixes until August 31, 2022. After that, BlackBerry phone owners will have to look elsewhere to get the latest software.