BlackBerry, the smartphone maker, announced over the weekend that it had licensed out its phone brand to China-based TCL to market their handsets under the BlackBerry moniker. The Waterloo-based smartphone making giant is working on a same kind of deal in India, and has another deal in Indonesia with BB Merah Putih. The deal had its limitations as well and the agreement does not apply to most parts of Southeast Asia.
BlackBerry deader than dead
In the launch of DTEK60, clues that TCL might take over the brand name of the smartphone were evident. According to Android Police, the DTEK60 resembled the TCL Alcatel Idol 4. However, the announcement brought a couple confusing headlines about the smartphone as well.
Writer Dave Parrack wrote, “MakeUseOf went with “BlackBerry is dead in all but name.” He said the smartphone maker ‘BlackBerry’ is alive and well and managing quite fine but the brand ‘BlackBerry’ is deader than a dead thing which died mourning the demise of “the dodo. Or something.”
Further, he said, “After six years of slowly circling the drain, like an un-flushable hunk of stool, the embattled company recently announced in October that it would cease to design its own handsets, instead releasing re-branded handsets from other manufacturers.”
According to Android observers, the DTEK60 had all the telltale signs of TCL smartphones. The Canada based smartphone maker announced just last month that it would back a trial of self-driving vehicles in Ontario, the hometown of the company.
The BlackBerry QNX subsidiary of the smartphone maker will use a Lincoln, subsidiary of Ford, for its part of the trial working alongside the Center of the University of Waterloo for Automotive Research and Erwin Hymer Group. Also, this is only the start of software offensive of BlackBerry.
BlackBerry leaving hardware for software
Since mid-2012, the stock of the tech giant has been stable, hovering a bit above the $10 most of that period. That, of course, does not even start to approach where the company was in mid-2007 ($241.90). The new business model of the smartphone maker reflects another hardware-making giant changing with the markets – Motorola. In 2011, the smartphone maker split its phone brand off completely as Motorola Mobility, while keeping the name of “Motorola Solutions” to focus on emergency communications management.
The smartphone maker has a more expansive portfolio of services, as seen in IoT, cyber security, cars and what they call the “Enterprises of Things.” According to the smartphone making giant, the software and services of the smartphone maker exploded in second quarter of last year, up 111% on second quarter of 2015, up to $156 million. At the end of September, BlackBerry CEO John Chen told reporters, “We are reaching an inflection point with our financial picture stable and our pivot to software taking hold.”