TCL Communication announced its brand licensing deal with BlackBerry will end, closing a four-year partnership and leaving an uncertain future for the smartphones.

In a statement, TCL Communication said the deal will end on 31 August, after which the Chinese vendor will no longer have the rights to design, manufacture or sell new BlackBerry mobile devices.

TCL Communication will continue to offer customer support and fulfil warranties of devices until 31 August, 2022, subject to local laws, it stated.

The last device TCL Communication released under the BlackBerry brand was the Key 2 LE in 2018. It featured a QWERTY keyboard, a staple feature on most BlackBerry devices.

In October 2019, TCL Communication ruled out ending its licensing deal with BlackBerry when it announced its own-brand smartphone range, claiming the two would continue to exist along with the Alcatel brand, with price a key differentiator.

The company unveiled a new range of own-brand models at the CES event in Las Vegas last month, among which was its first 5G smartphone, the TCL 10 5G.