Blackberry Tapped This Chinese Company to Make BlackBerry-Branded Devices

December 15, 2016, 6:09 PM UTC
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MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 04: Blackberry cell phones are seen for sale at Fixx wireless on November 4, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Blackberry announced today it has abandoned plans to sell the company and that CEO Thorsten Heins will be leaving the company and step down from the board. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Photo by Joe Raedle — Getty Images

BlackBerry said China’s TCL Communication Technology Holdings would make and sell BlackBerry-branded mobile devices globally, the Canadian smartphone pioneer’s first licensing deal since its transition to a software company.

The devices made by TCL, which also makes Alcatel-branded mobile devices, will be coupled with BlackBerry’s security software and service suite, the company said on Thursday.

BlackBerry (BBRY) is betting its future on the more profitable business of making software and managing mobile devices after largely ceding the smartphone market to rivals such as Apple (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics (SSNLF).

BlackBerry said in September that would outsource the development of its smartphones, and a month later launched its last mobile device—the Android-based DTEK60, which was made under an agreement with TCL.

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The new agreement gives TCL, the fourth-largest handset maker in North America, the right to make and sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones in all countries except India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, some of BlackBerry’s biggest handset markets.

For more, read: Nokia Brand Returns on Super Cheap Dumb Phones

BlackBerry in September signed a deal giving Indonesia’s BB Merah Putih the rights to make and sell new devices in that country, its largest handset market.

BlackBerry’s revenue from software and services was $156 million in its latest quarter, down from $166 million in the prior quarter. The device business contributed $105 million in revenue.

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