BlackBerry is to officially step away from mobile hardware, after concluding a licensing agreement with China’s TCL Communication. The news is not a surprise, as BlackBerry has been struggling to compete against rivals such as Samsung in recent years, and already had an existing relationship with TCL.
In 2016 two handsets have been launched in cooperation with TCL – the BlackBerry DTEK50 and BlackBerry DTEK60, both based on TCL reference designs.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 is also available under another brand that TCL licenses. With a few relatively minor design changes, the device sells around the world as the ALCATEL Idol 4.
A key difference between BlackBerry and ALCATEL handsets from 2016 is the software, with BlackBerry’s flavour of Android built as a security-focussed operating system.
A join statement released by the two companies indicated that BlackBerry will continue to work on its software, while TCL takes care of the hardware:
“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.”