BlackBerry has announced it has entered into a long-term licensing agreement with TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited.
Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry said it 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.
The move is intended to allow BlackBerry to continue to control and develop its security and software solutions and maintain it security software, while TCL Communication manages all sales and distribution and serves as a global distributor of new BlackBerry-branded mobile devices.
It follows BlackBerry’s recent announcement that it is transitioning its handheld devices strategy to focus on continued software innovation. The company said this will ultimately provide “the most secure and comprehensive software for devices around the world, while working with third parties to develop hardware and distribute and market the BlackBerry handset brand”.
The agreement with TCL Communication is BlackBerry's first global licensing agreement and expands on the existing relationship between the brands, which led to the release of the recent DTEK50 and DTEK60 handsets.
Nicolas Zibell, chief executive of TCL Communication, said: "At TCL Communication, we are committed to creating the best portfolio solutions, while ensuring the quality support to consumers and enterprise users who trust the integrity of the BlackBerry device and the brand's security leadership, coupled with the Android platform.
"Together with BlackBerry's smartphone software platform, this partnership will strengthen our position in the global mobile market."
Also commenting on the agreement was Ralph Pini, chief operating officer and general manager of mobility solutions are BlackBerry, who said: "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.”