BlackBerry has officially announced that it has sold its global rights to the Chinese manufacturer, TCL Corporation, who also produce phones under the Alcatel marque. Previously, BlackBerry and TCL had collaborated to manufacture two BlackBerry-branded Android powered handsets: the DTEK50 and DTEK60.
“At TCL Communication, we are committed to creating the best portfolio solutions, while ensuring the quality support to consumers and enterprise users who trust the integrity of the BlackBerry device and the brand’s security leadership, coupled with the Android platform,” said Nicolas Zibell, CEO of TCL Communication. “Together with BlackBerry’s smartphone software platform, this partnership will strengthen our position in the global mobile market.”
Under the “long-term licensing agreement”, TCL (also Alcatel’s parent company) will “design, manufacture, sell, and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices.” However, BlackBerry will continue to concentrate on software development, particularly around its security and enterprise software. The Chinese company will make and market future BlackBerry handsets worldwide except for India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, where BlackBerry has already struck local licensing deals.
“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 of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry. “TCL Communication is the natural choice to license BlackBerry’s software and brand on a global scale. We successfully partnered with them on the DTEK series of secure smartphones and we’ve been impressed with their excellence in hardware design,” he added.
Recently, BlackBerry had announced that it is pulling out the smartphone-making business, and would instead release re-branded handsets from other manufacturers. With the current announcement, it appears that Blackberry has bid goodbye forever.