BlackBerry, TCL sign smartphone software, brand licensing deal

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​Toronto, Dec 16 (IANS) Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry and TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited on Friday entered into a long-term licensing agreement that will provide acceleration to BlackBerry's transition into a security software and services company. Under the terms, 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. "This agreement with TCL Communication represents a key step in our strategy to focus on putting the 'smart in the phone' by providing state-of-the-art security and device software on a platform that mobile users prefer and are comfortable with," said Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, Mobility Solutions, BlackBerry, in a statement. TCL Communication will be the exclusive global manufacturer and distributor for all BlackBerry-branded smartphones with the exception of the following countries -- India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. "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," added Nicolas Zibell, CEO, TCL Communication. The partnership with TCL Communication is BlackBerry's first global licensing agreement and expands on its existing relationship, which led to the introduction of the DTEK50 and DTEK60 handsets on Android. Additional information on the product roadmap and availability of devices will be available in coming months, the company said. After failing to revive its smartphone business despite several efforts, BlackBerry, earlier this year, announced it will cease internal hardware development and will focus on software and services.

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