BlackBerry confirmed a couple of months ago that it’s no longer going to make its own smartphones, it’s going to outsource the job to third-party manufacturers. The company’s recent handsets – DTEK50 and DTEK60 – have both been designed and manufactured by TCL, the Chinese company behind the Alcatel brand. BlackBerry today announced that it has signed a long-term licensing agreement which will see TCL exclusively making BlackBerry-branded smartphones.
Under this deal, BlackBerry is going to license its security software and service suite as well as related brand assets to TCL. The Chinese company will design, manufacture, sell, and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded smartphones.
While TCL is going to handle the hardware aspect, BlackBerry will continue to control and develop all of its security and software solutions. TCL is going to manage all sales and distribution, it’s also going to serve as a global distributor for new BlackBerry-branded smartphones.
The press release sent out today mentions that TCL is going to be the exclusive global manufacturer and distributor for all BlackBerry-branded smartphones with the exception of a handful of countries which include India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.
This deal basically keeps BlackBerry alive in the hardware market while assigning none of the risk related to competing in the highly competitive global smartphone market. TCL gets the benefit of being the only contract manufacturer that gets to build BlackBerry smartphone. This deal goes to show that BlackBerry has truly reinvented itself as a software company as it looks to kickstart long-term growth.