BlackBerry sells branding rights to China’s TCL

TCL will design, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices, while the Canadian brand will provide TCL the software and services for its phones

The Android-based BlackBerry DTEK60

Against all odds, BlackBerry continues to find its way into the news cycle. The latest update from the Canadian company is that it has signed over most of its global branding rights to Chinese manufacturer TCL. In September BlackBerry had said its final goodbyes to the smartphone industry. It said it would stop making its own smartphones and concentrate on services and software.

TCL will design, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices. RIM will provide TCL with its software and services for its phones. Though the deal is labeled as “global”, it does not include parts of South-East Asia such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia. Bloomberg says this is because BlackBerry has licensing agreements already in place in some of these countries. TCL bought Palm in January this year, though hasn’t done anything with it yet.

We haven’t seen the last of BlackBerry. Though the Canadian company may have given up, TCL believes the name still may hold weight. Chinese manufacturers aren’t new to the smartphone game. It’s plausible we could see good hardware with the RIM brand on it. Proof of this are the DTEK50 and DTEK60, the company’s last Android phones that were manufactured by TCL. The brand that made its name with business people may shine yet again in the eyes of the consumers. We can only wait and see.

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