BlackBerry has already made known that it will no longer manufacture its own handsets. Although the company has released several devices after that announcement, the expectation is that it will be content with collaborating with partners or merely license its name for third-party phone makers.
BlackBerry At CES 2017
This could be demonstrated in the upcoming CES 2017 as TCL seems poised to launch its own BlackBerry phone. This speculation stemmed from a curious tweet posted by Steve Cistulli, president and general manager of TCL Communication in North America.
Remington No. 2 of 1878 #TheNewBlackBerry
— Steve Cistulli (@SteveCistulli) Dec. 16, 2016
The Remington No. 2 is an ancient typewriter and most tech pundits believe that Cistulli is referring to a QWERTY keyboard for the new BlackBerry phone. This particular typewriter is also said to be game-changing due to its introduction of the Shift key. This could articulate TCL's ambition and expectations when CES kicks off on Jan. 5.
No details have been provided so far including the date of its global debut, although Cistulli's previous Twitter post has mentioned CES 2017. This also means that the world is still in the dark whether the phone will be entry-level, mid-range or premium.
The software side is also similarly shrouded in mystery but there is a possibility that the device will run Android OS. This should be ironic since the reason given for BlackBerry's shift in strategy is that it wants to reduce cost in its research and development so that the company can focus on developing its software solutions.
A TCL BlackBerry phone should no longer surprise anyone. Aside from the previous BlackBerry pronouncement that established how it will be partnering with third-party phone manufacturers, the company just announced an official agreement with TCL last Dec. 15. This development has made a TCL BlackBerry or a BlackBerry TCL a done deal.
One should note that this agreement has placed BlackBerry as a mere licensor and TCL will do all the work, from design, production, sales and even support. The agreement is roughly similar to the deal between Microsoft and HMD Global. The latter has retained exclusive rights to manufacture Nokia handsets for a specific period.
It is also worth noting that BlackBerry has already used two TCL phones before, the BlackBerry DTEK50 and DTEK60. These devices are sold by TCL as Alcatel Idol. For these two handsets, however, BlackBerry was still heavily involved especially in the area of marketing and support. The last handset that BlackBerry has developed on its own was the Priv.