BlackBerry announced a couple of years ago that to save its declining smartphone business, it is outsourcing the manufacturing of mid-range smartphones to contract manufacturers. According to a rumor, the Canadian firm is working with TCL Corporation for the mid-range Hamburg smartphone. Also a TCL-made BlackBerry Hamburg has surfaced online, suggesting this partnership is indeed real.
BlackBerry Hamburg by TCL?
Twitter user Roland Quandt found a Wi-Fi Alliance certificate showing the model number STH100-2 and the manufacturer TCL. The certificate is needed to ensure that the smartphone meets international wireless communication standards. For a while, the exact designation “STH100-2” has been linked with BlackBerry’s upcoming Android phone.
TCL received a certification for a new handset named DTEK 50 with model number STH100-2 (RJD211LW), according to a listing at Wi-Fi Alliance. The handset is powered by Android Marshmallow with build number AAF295.
TCL is in the business of manufacturing smartphones, and it already produces smartphones under the Alcatel brand. If contracted, TCL Corporation will be producing handsets under the Canadian company’s branding.
Unless Alcatel is secretly making a separate phone with the same model number as well, it is highly likely that the Waterloo-based company has decided to outsource its hardware production going forward.
It is not yet certain if the other rumored mid-range Android handset, the BlackBerry Rome, will be made by TCL as well.
No confirmation yet
These rumors indicate that either the Canadian firm and TCL are collaborating on a smartphone, or the listing is a coincidence. No official confirmation of a partnership has been made, so we will have to wait for an official announcement. Also there is no information about when the Canadian firm will come out with a new smartphone.
Previously, the company publicly pulled out of making handsets around its own operating system and opted for layering its own security software onto Android. It has been a long time since BlackBerry released a new device, though it is expected to release a couple of handsets later this year. BlackBerry is at a point where its business is extremely efficient, and it’s no longer really making any hardware, said CEO John Chen recently.
“We are really a hardware design house. I do design, I don’t really make hardware,” Chen said.
At 10:27 a.m. Eastern today, BlackBerry shares closed down 3.75% at $6.41. Year to date, the stock is down by over 31%, while in the last year, it is down by over 25%.