There are many of us who remember a time when the BlackBerry phone was so cool that people called it a “crackberry” to indicate its more addictive qualities … like email and internet access.
And then the iPhone came along and made short work of BlackBerry’s sales, and our collective memories of the full keyboard.
In 2016, amid severely waning phone sales, BlackBerry announced that it would no longer manufacture its own devices and, rather, would shift its focus to software and contract out the production of its phones to an Indonesia telecom company called TCL Communications.
TCL announced Monday that its contract with BlackBerry has come to an end and that it is no longer licensed to produce or sell BlackBerry devices. TCL says it will still support existing devices until 2022, but that’s about it.
So what does it mean for the BlackBerry? According to CNN Business, BlackBerry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment and it's uncertain, at this time, whether the company has plans to resurrect device manufacturing with another partner.
But if you look at the BlackBerry of today, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think the company could exit the smartphone game altogether. CEO John Chen has been working for the better part of a decade to pivot the company towards software products with a focus on security and IoT – and he’s had some success, though the company’s stock price is still a fraction of where it was 10 or 15 years ago.
Despite this, some experts believe that BlackBerry’s repositioning of itself is a solid approach, and the company has a lot of growth ahead of it. Just probably not from selling crackberries.