Optiemus To Make And Sell BlackBerry Branded Handsets In India [REPORT]

BlackBerry smartphones will soon be made and sold by India-based Optiemus Infracom, according to ET. The firm has bagged the exclusive rights to make and sell devices for BlackBerry in India. The Delhi-based distributor of mobile phones and other accessories is targeting the sub-Rs 20,000 (approx $300) segment for selling new devices, according to BGR.

Exclusive rights to make and sell devices for BlackBerry in India

Earlier, Optiemus Infracom tied up with the Canadian firm to assist it in spreading its reach in the Indian market. Optiemus has been BlackBerry’s smartphone distributor in the country since last year. It has handled smartphones like the DTEK 60 and DTEK 50.

In the most recent development, the two firms entered into a 10-year brand licensing agreement, under which the Indian firm will design and sell phones for the Waterloo-based company and offer customer support.

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Optiemus holds the license for BlackBerry’s brand in not just India, but also in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and will be offering customer support to these countries as well. Optiemus expects to sell 2 million devices in a year, according to an industry executive.

The Indian firm recently set up smartphone contract manufacturing operations with Taiwan’s Wistron in the country. The BlackBerry-branded smartphones will be made at this facility. Optiemus will fully localize the BlackBerry handsets for the Indian market.

Targeting the fastest-growing segment

In a bid to resurrect its smartphone segment, BlackBerry undertook several measures such as using a touch-based design and incorporating rival Google’s Android OS. The Canadian firm may have stopped manufacturing smartphone devices, but TCL is expected to release a host of BlackBerry-branded handsets running on the Android OS. TCL is expected to showcase the BlackBerry-branded Mercury smartphone at this month’s MWC 2017.

In line with this recent shift, Optiemus will also be making smartphones running Android and BlackBerry’s security software and service suite. These secure smartphones will get security updates directly from the Waterloo-based smartphone maker, notes BGR.

The Indian smartphone market is ruled by affordability, and keeping that in mind, Optiemus is expected to make smartphones in the sub-Rs. 20,000 (approx. $300) segment. An ET report quotes a senior industry executive as saying that the company will be focusing on smartphones priced between Rs12,000 and Rs20,000, which is the fastest-growing segment in the country.

As of now, there have been no comments from BlackBerry and Optiemus on the matter.