At one point, BlackBerry was a big deal. It was the phone brand, adored by overworked financiers and street hoodlums alike. Every year, tens of millions of devices were sold. And then the iPhone happened, followed by the launch of Android, and then things started to go drastically south for the Canadian manufacturer.
After six years of slowly circling the drain, like an un-flushable hunk of stool, the embattled company recently announced in October that it would cease to design its own handsets, instead releasing re-branded handsets from other manufacturers.
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And today, it was announced that the global rights to the BlackBerry name have been sold to Chinese manufacturer TCL – who also produce phones under the Alcatel marque.
TCL, who designed the DTEK50 and DTEK60, will be able to produce, market, and sell BlackBerry branded phones, as well as provide customer service. What remains of BlackBerry Limited will assist in software and services.
There are a few exceptions though. The deal isn’t valid in India and Indonesia, where BlackBerry has agreements with local manufacturers, and there’s still a lot of enthusiasm for the BlackBerry brand. It also doesn’t cover Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
On the basis that a.) the Blackberry name doesn’t carry that much weight, b.) TCL’s devices aren’t all that high-end or exciting, and c.) TCL bought the Palm name in January and did nothing with it, I’d be surprised if this arrangement lasts all that long.
But either way, from this point forward, a Blackberry phone is about as authentic as a CBGB t-shirt bought from Hot Topic, and there’s no reason to buy one.