Along with its latest financial results, BlackBerry today announced a new five-year strategic partnership with Foxconn that will see the two companies collaborate on new devices for “fast-growing markets.” The initial focus will be on a new smartphone for Indonesia and other emerging markets where BlackBerry still has considerable presence. The move also signals BlackBerry’s intention to remain in the hardware business although it also suggests a greater emphasis on entry-level devices going forward.
The agreement will see Foxconn take on a role in both the development and manufacturing of certain new BlackBerry devices. Manufacturing will take place at facilities in Indonesia and Mexico. It will also manage the inventory for those devices, hopefully allowing BlackBerry to avoid costly writedowns such as the US$1 billion “Z10 Inventory Charge” it recorded earlier this year. BlackBerry will also retain all intellectual property and will be responsible for quality assurance.
“This partnership demonstrates BlackBerry’s commitment to the device market for the long-term and our determination to remain the innovation leader in secure end-to-end mobile solutions,” said Chen. “Partnering with Foxconn allows BlackBerry to focus on what we do best – iconic design, world-class security, software development and enterprise mobility management – while simultaneously addressing fast-growing markets leveraging Foxconn’s scale and efficiency that will allow us to compete more effectively.”
It’s not immediately clear if the new devices being built with Foxconn will be among the rumoured C-Series or ‘Cafe’ series devices that were the topic of earlier rumours.
Source : BlackBerry