Smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry has announced that it is outsourcing production to newly formed joint venture PT BB Merah Putih.
As a result of the move, BlackBerry will no longer be designing its own handsets, having fallen behind major rivals Apple and Samsung.
The Canadian firm helped to pioneer the smartphone market and was once famed for its tiny physical keyboards.
However, the growing popularity of touchscreen technology prompted BlackBerry to struggle to keep pace with the changing market.
Handsets with the BlackBerry name will be produced under license by PT Tiphone Mobile Indonesia Tbk – and the move is expected to allow the former producer to concentrate on software and services. BlackBerry will take a royalty on devices sold by the Indonesian firm.
A joint statement released by the two companies emphasised the fact that the move has the potential to accelerate BlackBerry’s overall focus on driving software growth – particularly with regards to developing and licensing device software offerings.
This includes security solutions and applications, which will be delivered through BlackBerry’s Mobility Solutions business unit.
BB Merah Putih – led by PT Tiphone Mobile Indonesia Tbk – will source, distribute and promote BlackBerry-branded devices that use BlackBerry’s secure Android software and applications. The company will have access to the full BlackBerry experience, which includes the trusted secure software such as BlackBerry for Android.
The joint venture was created in support of the Indonesian government’s ongoing efforts to promote the development, manufacturing and creation of locally sourced products, in addition to expanding on the number of smartphones available and sold in the south-east Asian country.
Tan Lie Pin, chief executive officer of PT Tiphone Mobile Indonesia Tbk, said Indonesians trust and respect the brand name BlackBerry, so the partnership will enable his company to offer a mobile experience that its customers have come to expect, with the added security and productivity offered by BlackBerry.
“Leveraging BlackBerry’s secure Android smartphone software will be a significant opportunity for us and we hope to deliver innovative and high quality devices for our customers,” he commented.
Executive chairman and chief executive officer of BlackBerry John Chen said: “BlackBerry is no longer just about the smartphone, but the smart in the phone. Working with trusted partners to extend the reach and availability of our secure mobility software remains a key focus for the Mobility Solutions unit and this joint venture is just one of our next steps in making our software licensing strategy successful.”