Blackberry had earlier confirmed to end its hardware business. However, there are rumors about the launch of one last device called as Blackberry Mercury which is expected to feature the iconic qwerty keyboard. Apart from this, we won’t be seeing any more in-house development regarding the Blackberry devices. Though the company is exiting from the hardware manufacturing, we will still see the Blackberry smartphones in the future. Yesterday, the company made an agreement with the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, TCL regarding the manufacturing of Blackberry branded smartphones. With this deal, Blackberry will move towards becoming a security software and services company rather than remaining as a loss making software manufacturer.
Speaking on this occasion, Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer & General Manager of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry, said,
“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.”
TCL is one of the largest smartphone OEM companies in China. It also owns the Alcatel brand which has a market presence in the Western markets. Just like the Nokia-HMD deal, Blackberry branded smartphones will be designed, manufactured, and marketed by TCL, while Blackberry offers only the software support. Though this deal is made on a global scale, few south Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia are exempted from the agreement. As of now, there is no clear information what Blackberry will be offering in these countries. We expect the earlier made agreements with other companies for the distribution and marketing of their Blackberry devices might be the reason.
While the TCL made Alcatel Idol 4 is rebranded as Blackberry DTEK 50, the flagship DTEK 60 is the same Idol 4S. Unlike the Alcatel devices, the DTEK smartphones run on Android based Blackberry OS including the exclusive security features. As seen with the DTEK 50 and DTEK 60, from now on, we can expect the upcoming Blackberry smartphones to come with a slightly affordable price tag. In the first week of November, both the TCL made Blackberry DTEK 50 and DTEK 60 smartphones are launched here in India. While the DTEK 50 comes with a price tag of Rs. 21,990, the DTEK 60 with flagship specifications is priced at Rs. 46,990. The company is even promoting these devices as the world’s most secure Android smartphones.
Both the devices include Blackberry enterprise services along with the enterprise mobility management solutions making them most preferable devices for the business purposes. As of now, the Blackberry Priv with a touch screen and qwerty keyboard is the last smartphone to feature Blackberry’s in-house design. Stay tuned on Phone Radar for more details!