BlackBerry may have given up on making its own smartphones, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never see a new BlackBerry phone ever again. At least not yet. And no, we’re not referring to the still to be formally announced BlackBerry “Mercury”. This is, instead, about future BlackBerry-branded smartphones not made by BlackBerry itself. Instead, these will be made by Optiemus, a manufacturer in India, who will then be selling these devices mostly in India and a few of its neighboring countries.
There are some implications to this partnership, its second (or third) after TCL. There will still be BlackBerry phones, but they will no longer be as widely available as previous models. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the markets where they’ll be sold or if OEMs like TCL decide to make more and sell them everywhere.
It also means that these BlackBerry phones might no longer be the kind that made fans swoon. It’s not yet known how much influence BlackBerry will have over the design of the smartphones itself, but, by choosing India as its next target market, it might have accepted some hard limits on what those phones can have.
Although one of the largest next to the US and China, India’s smartphone market is significantly different from those other two. It is populated by very affordable but also mid-range devices. Even Apple is having a difficult time making a dent, both because of its iPhone prices as well as local import regulations. In other words, chances are the BlackBerry smartphones that will come from Optiemus might not be as high end as most of the BlackBerry’s previous models. Even if it’s targeting enterprise customers and not regular consumers.