BlackBerry continues to make deals to ensure its software services and branding continue to be sold around the world — even if they are no longer the ones really behind the hardware. Today, it announced a partnership with India-based Optiemus that will allow the company to make and sell Android-based phones in the country. The phones will use the BlackBerry brand and will also include BlackBerry-developed software and services.
In addition to its home country of India, Optiemus will also sell its BlackBerry-branded Android phones in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry will license its security software and services suite to the Optiemus-made phones, and will also offer regular Android security updates. The specific financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. There’s no word on when the first Optiemus-made BlackBerry phones will go on sale, but the press announcement said more information will be revealed in the coming months.
BlackBerry is still a well-known name for smartphones around the world, and this agreement to have phones with that brand made and sold in India could be a huge deal for the Canadian company. BlackBerry has already announced a similar deal with TCL Communication that will allow it to make and sell Android phones with the BlackBerry name in the rest of the world. One exception is in Indonesia, where a company called PT BB Merah Putih will perform those duties in that country.
BlackBerry and TCL are already making plans to officially announced their next Android phone, code-named “Mercury”, in a few weeks at the 2017 Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain. The phone, which we got a chance to briefly check out at CES 2017, will be unveiled on Feb. 25 at a special press event. The phone is already getting a lot of attention for its hardware QWERTY keyboard, and it even made a quick cameo recently on the Tim Allen TV sitcom Last Man Standing.