Even though TCL Communication Technology Holdings (TCT) recently confirmed to Gadgets360 that last phone to be designed and engineered by BlackBerry - the smartphone codenamed Mercury - won't make it to the Indian market, it seems like there is a chance that the phone might make it to the country after all, albeit from a different manufacturer. This is because BlackBerry has now said in a blog post that the company is looking at more licensing partners to bring the BlackBerry Mercury and future smartphones to the rest of the world.
As per the licensing agreement made between BlackBerry and TCL in December last year, TCL holds the right to make and sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones in all countries except India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Notably, these are among the biggest markets for BlackBerry. However, BlackBerry has said that the company is looking to partner with more manufacturers and distributors to compete in local space.
Interestingly, the company has already tied up with BB Merah Putih to bring BlackBerry-branded phones to Indonesia, and says that they can be expected to launch soon. "There's going to be more BlackBerry phones out there because now I have multiple parties creating and distributing and I have local partners to compete in the local space," company's CEO John Chen was quoted as saying in the company's blog post.
"We are starting to gain great momentum with our licensing strategy. Look for us to continue pursuing additional licensing partners to bring Mercury as well as other new smartphones to the rest of the world," Ralph Pini, COO and GM, Mobility Solutions, BlackBerry.
This effectively means that even if TCL's licensing agreement prevents it from bringing the Mercury smartphone to certain territories, BlackBerry might partner with local manufacturers to launch the device for these regions going ahead. It certainly does imply BlackBerry is not ignoring India and Indonesia, two of its biggest markets.
TCL gave just a glimpse of its BlackBerry Mercury smartphone, which is the "last phone designed and engineered in-house by BlackBerry", at CES 2017 but more details about the Android smartphone are due to be announced at MWC 2017 later next month.