Canadian smartphone vendor BlackBerry and New Delhi-based Optiemus Infracom have released a joint statement announcing a partnership to bring BlackBerry-branded Android smartphones to India, years after the Canadian smartphone vendor exited the country amidst falling sales and mounting losses from its smartphone business. The two companies had initially announced a partnership last November that enabled the Indian firm to market and distribute some of the latest BlackBerry smartphones in the country including, the DTE60 and the DTEK50. As part of the latest deal, Optiemus will locally manufacture and market BlackBerry-branded devices, but the Canadian firm will continue to develop security and software solutions for the devices and also provide regular Android security updates. The India-manufactured devices will be sold across South Asia, in countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Optiemus will also provide after-sales support for the devices throughout the region.
BlackBerry, of course, no longer designs its own smartphones, having failed to turn around its fortunes with the BlackBerry Priv. The company late last year signed a licensing deal with China-based TCL Communication to design, manufacture and distribute BlackBerry-branded mobile devices in all countries except India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Following the announcement of that deal last December, BlackBerry had revealed to the Indian media that it was looking to partner with a different manufacturer in the country. As for Indonesia, which remains one of the largest markets for BlackBerry globally, the company last month announced a tie-up with local firm, BB Merah Putih, to bring BlackBerry-branded phones to the country. While those devices are expected to be launched shortly, there’s no definitive word right now on when the Optiemus-manufactured BlackBerry devices will be available for purchase in India.
In prepared statements released earlier today, the senior managerial staff from both BlackBerry and Optiemus expressed their satisfaction with the deal that is expected to bring back BlackBerry smartphones to the country after a prolonged absence. According to Mr. Alex Thurber, BlackBerry’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions, “India is a very important market for BlackBerry, so we are delighted our latest licensing partnership will extend the BlackBerry software experience to more customers”. The Chairman of Optiemus Infracom, Mr. Ashok Gupta, emphasized the company’s experience and expertise in the mobile ecosystem and expressed hope that the partnership with BlackBerry will be a long and successful one.