BlackBerry will announce its next Android smartphone in July and another device by the end of the year, according to BlackBerry CEO John Chen. While details are sparse, BlackBerry will reportedly launch a mid-range handset rather than another premium smartphone like the Priv.
“I have spoken about having two of them in between now and the end of this fiscal year, and they usually they both of them more in the mid range and mid to high, not going to be a high end phone,” said Chen during the company’s earnings results last week.
In 2013, BlackBerry signed a 5-year manufacturing partnership with Foxconn. The latest rumblings, however, indicate we could see the company outsource its next Android device to another manufacture, specifically TCL Communications, the manufacturer behind Alcatel’s smartphones.
A recent filing on the Wi-Fi Alliance certification page points to a device produced by TCL called DTEK 50. This is out of the ordinary as DTEK is the exclusive privacy suite that comes pre-loaded on the Priv. In addition, the model number is STH100-2, which follows the Priv’s STV100-1 model number.
Could TCL make the next BlackBerry Android device? Possibly. Chen announced during the quarterly conference call that the company made efforts to de-risk its balance sheet by “entering into new and more favourable agreements with manufacturing partners.” There was no indication as to who this partner was.
However, BlackBerry also hinted that it was interested in licensing its software, such as BlackBerry Hub and power management capabilities. So there could be something happening between the two companies that will see an Alcatel device with added security features powered by DTEK.