BlackBerry has inked a deal with China’s TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd under which the Canadian has handed over the global rights of BlackBerry-branded smartphones to the Chinese company.
The move is in line with BlackBerry’s strategic decision of parting ways from the smartphone manufacturing business and to strengthen its position as a software and services giant. BlackBerry has immense presence in enterprise mobility and security solutions and that’s something that the company intends to build on post the smartphone deal with TCL. BlackBerry effectively lost the smartphone game to Apple and Samsung and decided to call it quits from this niche earlier this year.
BlackBerry DTEK60 was the last smartphone that was launched directly by BlackBerry and now it will be TCL that will release BlackBerry branded smartphones. TCL has revealed that its devices will be coupled with BlackBerry’s security software and service suite and then sold in the market.
The new agreement gives TCL, the fourth-largest handset maker in North America, the right to make and sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones in all countries except India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia, some of BlackBerry’s biggest handset markets.
“This agreement with TCL Communication represents a key step in our strategy to focus on putting the ‘smart in the phone’ by providing state-of-the-art security and device software on a platform that mobile users prefer and are comfortable with,” said Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, Mobility Solutions, BlackBerry, in a statement.
BlackBerry in September signed a deal giving Indonesia’s BB Merah Putih the rights to make and sell new devices in that country, its largest handset market.