BlackBerry and TCL Communication have announced a long-term licensing agreement, giving TCL the rights to design, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices. BlackBerry will continue to control and develop its security and software solutions, serve its customers and maintain trusted BlackBerry security software, while TCL Communication will manage all sales and distribution and serve as a global distributor of new BlackBerry-branded mobile devices along with dedicated sales teams.
BlackBerry recently announced it is transitioning its handheld devices strategy to focus on continued software innovation – “ultimately providing the most secure and comprehensive software for devices around the world, while working with third parties to develop hardware and distribute and market the BlackBerry handset brand”.
The agreement with TCL Communication is BlackBerry’s first global licensing agreement and expands on its existing relationship, which led to the introduction of the DTEK50 and DTEK60 handsets on Android which deliver a high standard of security.
“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.”
The relationship between TCL Communication and BlackBerry builds upon their respective positions in mobile communications, as well as existing work together on the DTEK50 and DTEK60 handsets. By working with TCL Communication, the fourth largest handset manufacturer in North America and top-10 globally according to IDC, BlackBerry says it is ensuring its branded devices will be available around the world.
“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, 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 Communication will be the exclusive global manufacturer and distributor for all BlackBerry-branded smartphones with the exception of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Additional information on the product roadmap and availability of devices will be announced in coming months.