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TCL to design, manufacture, sell and support all future BlackBerry handsets

Posted: , by Alan F.

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TCL to design, manufacture, sell and support all future BlackBerry handsets
Washing its hands of the hardware business entirely, BlackBerry announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement with TCL. BlackBerry will license its security software and service suite along with the BlackBerry name, logo and all brand assets, to TCL. The latter will now design, manufacture, sell and handle customer service for all BlackBerry handsets moving forward. BlackBerry will continue to supply TCL with the software, and TCL will have a dedicated sales team distributing new BlackBerry handsets globally.

The last two BlackBerry branded phones were re-branded versions of TCL handsets. The mid-range BlackBerry DTEK50 is actually the Android flavored Alcatel Idol 4, with BlackBerry's software inside. The high-end BlackBerry DTEK60 is based on the TCL 950. Today's announcement basically expands on the dealings that allowed the DTEK50 and DTEK60 to be launched. Alcatel is a joint venture between TCL and Alcatel-Lucent.

"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. 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."-Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, BlackBerry Mobility Solutions"

Meanwhile, BlackBerry CEO John Chen had promised BlackBerry fans that the company would produce one more home grown handset with the iconic BlackBerry physical QWERTY on board. The press release announcing the deal with TCL doesn't make mention of this phone, which has been given the code name of BlackBerry Mercury.

source: BlackBerry

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posted on 15 Dec 2016, 13:33 1

2. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

TCL makes great phones. I think blackberry has made a good decision to partner with them for future handsets. The fact that they have ffs is a huge win. They really need to make them universally unlocked or available for all carriers.

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 13:44 4

7. Crispin_Gatieza (Posts: 2076; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)

Alcatel does indeed make good, quality handsets with top-notch materials and specs. The sound systems are some of the best out there and they're good looking phones. Now, all is not peaches and cream. Their cameras might be well-spec'd but their imaging is sub-par as compared to their competition and their price range. Shore up the photography department and I can truly give them my blessing. For now, I'll stick with my Passport for daily use.

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 14:26 4

15. meanestgenius (Posts: 16144; Member since: 28 May 2014)

Great to see that BlackBerry has secured this deal, and right before earnings. It's also great to see that BlackBerry Branded handsets will still be produced. If the next batch of BlackBerry handsets are anything like the DTEK60, BlackBerry will have a string of winners.

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 14:53 1

22. Johnnokia (Posts: 1144; Member since: 27 May 2012)

I wish BlackBerry had at least stayed with in-house designing. it is also so weird that the press release never mentioned any hardware or patents licensing. That means only the brand and those few apps are being licensed.
After the Mercury release, I highly doubt anyone would care about BlackBerry phones. They are simply going to be just like Philips or Alcatel branded phones.

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 15:16 4

30. meanestgenius (Posts: 16144; Member since: 28 May 2014)

"BlackBerry Secures Global Smart Phone Software and Brand Licensing Agreement with TCL Communication

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 15, 2016) - BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB) and TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited ("TCL Communication") today announced they have entered into a long-term licensing agreement, providing acceleration to BlackBerry's transition into a security software and services company. Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry will license its security software and service suite, as well as related brand assets to TCL Communication who will 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."

That's from the press release, John. I do believe that "related brand assets" includes hardware patents. Also, if the DTEK60, another TCL designed phone, is any indication, I think people will care about BlackBerry Branded handsets. BlackBerry has stated themselves that they will work hand in hand on hardware design to ensure the quality that BlackBerry has been known for. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 21:04

52. peegieislim (Posts: 68; Member since: 14 Dec 2016)

Blackberry and nokia are just trying to stay alive until they improve their market share.

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 15:49 1

37. Plasticsh1t (Posts: 2038; Member since: 01 Sep 2014)

Why do people say BB is dead? If they are making good and secure devices for specific targets doesn't mean they are dead. To each their own.

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 19:40 1

48. Chuck007 (Posts: 1302; Member since: 02 Mar 2014)

Secure software and not so secure Chinese hardware. Interesting..

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 20:05 1

49. meanestgenius (Posts: 16144; Member since: 28 May 2014)

The BlackBerry DTEK50 and the BlackBerry DTEK60 are made by the same Chinese company, so what's changed to make them not-so-secure now?

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 21:07 3

53. Crispin_Gatieza (Posts: 2076; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)

How does suspect Chinese hardware make a phone unsecured? Oh right, loose screws lead to root access.

posted on 15 Dec 2016, 21:09 1

55. meanestgenius (Posts: 16144; Member since: 28 May 2014)


posted on 16 Dec 2016, 02:18

61. Chuck007 (Posts: 1302; Member since: 02 Mar 2014)

I used to think these claims of Chinese manufacturers having insecure hardware was nothing but an American smear campaign. That is, until I got my Lenovo Ideapad 710s (made for the HK market though). Thing was literally riddled with government related spyware out of the box. After all similar reports about Chinese made/designed hardware I really don't know. To be fair though I am sure Blackberry will never allow TCL to release an insecure phone.

posted on 16 Dec 2016, 19:05 1

69. Crispin_Gatieza (Posts: 2076; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)

Ignorant people deserve every bit of spyware, malware, viruses and trojans they get. If you can't discern the difference between hardware and software while pretending to know, you'll be perpetually bent over grabbing your ankles.

posted on 16 Dec 2016, 01:39

57. Bozzor (Posts: 188; Member since: 02 May 2012)

The question I have is if this licensing agreement for phone software is for modified versions of Android only, or will it include Blackberry OS 10.3?

posted on 16 Dec 2016, 02:40

63. meanestgenius (Posts: 16144; Member since: 28 May 2014)

Android only.

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