It is perhaps to no one’s surprise. After all the BlackBerry DTEK50, and the DTEK60 as well, were made by Alcatel. Now the two companies are just making things official and public. BlackBerry and Alcatel parent company TCL has announced the signing of a deal that fully brings a chapter in BlackBerry’s history to a close. BlackBerry will simply be licensing its software and brand to TCL, who will the design, make, and sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones, which pretty much makes it the exclusive BlackBerry hardware partner.
So here is how it will go down in the future. BlackBerry will continue to focus on software development, particularly around its security and enterprise software. It also retains ownership of the BlackBerry brand. Everything else, however, will be handled by TCL: design, manufacturing, sales, distribution, and even customer support.
Although BlackBerry has already made it known that it is leaving the smartphone-making business, this announcement provides the missing pieces regarding the future of BlackBerry smartphones. While BlackBerry could have licensed its software and brand to multiple hardware makers, it decided to play it safe and stick to one that has already made two models already in the market.
This most likely means that the BlackBerry “Mercury” leaked recently, BlackBerry’s last self-made QWERTY smartphone, would be made by TCL as well. The question is when that will actually happen. The year is practically over so the chances of that happening before 2017 is quite slim. With CES and MWC coming soon, we could catch a glimpse or even some more news about this still unnamed phone.
The bigger question for BlackBerry fans is what will happen now to BlackBerry 10. The announcement made no mention of BlackBerry’s own OS, while it does talk about Android. While the Canadian company insists that it is still committed to BB10, without any device maker taking it up, it is as good as dead.