It’s Official, Blackberry Confirms Alcatel TCL Deal
BlackBerry Ltd has officially confirmed what ChannelNews told you a week ago. TCL the Chinese TV and smartphone maker who owns Alcatel now has the right to use its brand on future phones and sell them around the world.
The deal, which was announced last night without terms, gives investors and fans of the ailing smartphone brand a clearer picture of the future of the device that helped usher in the mobile age claims Bloomberg. The first Blackberry TCL phones are set to go on sale in Australia early in 2017.
TCL has already built two phones for BlackBerry using off-the-shelf parts and blueprints: the touch screen, Android-equipped DTEK50 and DTEK60.
All of the new BlackBerry-branded devices will run on the Android operating system while featuring the BlackBerry Secure software.
In a statement, BlackBerry’s Ralph Pini said: “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 TCL Communication is the natural choice to license BlackBerry’s software and brand on a global scale.”
The COO and GM of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry added: “We successfully partnered with them on the DTEK series of secure smartphones and we’ve been impressed with their excellence in hardware design, development, and manufacturing.
“With our unparalleled expertise in mobile security and software and TCL Communication’s vast global reach and consumer access, we are confident that BlackBerry-branded products developed and distributed by TCL Communication will address the needs of BlackBerry users and expand the availability of BlackBerry Secure products throughout the world.”
Chief Executive Officer John Chen has been weaning the company off phones since he took over the top job three years ago, replacing falling handset revenue with software acquisitions and saying in September he would outsource all device design, production and marketing.
This deal gives TCL and Alcatel exclusive rights to sell BlackBerrys everywhere except Indonesia, where BlackBerry has an existing licensing deal, and India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
When Chen announced the outsourcing plan, he said the company could sign many licensing deals with manufacturers around the world, opening the possibility of dozens of BlackBerry-branded smartphones popping up in different countries. The TCL agreement limits this to just a small handful of manufacturers, depending on what the final deal in India looks like.