In a partnership similar to that between Nokia and HMD, BlackBerry has signed a deal with Chinese firm TCL. The new BlackBerry partnership covers software and brand licensing. In essence, TCL will handle manufacture, sales and distribution of future BlackBerry handsets. BlackBerry is leasing out its security software and service suite, as well as related brand assets to TCL. The latter will manage all sales and distribution, more like a global distributor of the new BlackBerry-branded mobile devices.
About The BlackBerry Partnership
A few excerpts from the press release about the BlackBerry partnership with TCL:
“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.”
Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry had this to say:
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, 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.
We already know that BlackBerry’s CEO has promised to release another smartphone with a hardware QWERTY keyboard soon. We have already seen leaks, though there’s no confirmation whether or not it is part of this deal.
Global Minus Five Countries
The following clause is also included in the BlackBerry partnership press release:
TCL Communication will be the exclusive global manufacturer and distributor for all BlackBerry-branded smartphones with the exception of the following countries: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
So this partnership with TCL excludes those five countries. In an earlier article – Understanding The New BlackBerry – that we published, we already mentioned a BlackBerry joint venture in Indonesia. The joint venture is called BB Merah Putih and will source, distribute and promote BlackBerry-branded handsets for the Indonesia market only.
We wait to see what will be announced for the four other Asian countries that are excluded from the TCL partnership.