Optiemus Infracom — a Delhi-based distributor of mobile phones and accessories — has bagged exclusive rights to design and sell handsets for BlackBerry in India. The company had earlier tied up with the Canadian smartphone maker to help spread its reach in the Indian market. In the latest development, the two firms have entered into a 10-year brand licensing agreement under which Optiemus will not only make and sell phones for BlackBerry but also offer customer support. Also Read - Blackberry 5G smartphone 2021 comeback confirmed again, to bring physical keyboardsAlso Read - Blackberry is coming back once more, will debut in 2021 with a flagship keyboard phone
The Indian smartphone market is one which is ruled by affordability and keeping that in consideration, Optiemus is expected to build mobile handsets in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment. The company will focus on BlackBerry handsets priced between Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000, which is the fastest growing segment in India, an ET report quotes a senior industry executive as saying. Also Read - TCL will not design, manufacture or sell BlackBerry smartphones from August 31
BlackBerry may have stopped manufacturing smartphones, but TCL is expected to launch a host of BlackBerry-branded smartphones running on Android OS. In line with this recent shift, Optiemus will also be developing smartphones running Android along with the security software and service suite by BlackBerry. These secured handsets will receive security updates directly from BlackBerry. BGR India has reached out to BlackBerry and Optiemus for comments.
In addition to India, Optiemus has the license for the BlackBerry brand in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The company will offer customer support to these neighbouring countries. According to one of the industry executives, the company will localize BlackBerry handsets completely for the Indian market and expects to sell two million handsets in one year. Recently, Optiemus set up smartphone contract manufacturing operations with Taiwan s Wistron in the India. It is this facility where the BlackBerry-branded smartphones will be made.
Optiemus has been the distributor for BlackBerry smartphones in the country since November last year. Under its earlier tie-up the company has sold smartphones such as the DTEK 60 and DTEK 50. Priced at Rs 46,990 and Rs 21,990 respectively, the smartphones come with an alert system that tells the user if their privacy was at risk. ALSO READ: It s official, BlackBerry won t make smartphones anymore
BlackBerry, which started its journey in the mobile market in the late 90s, had been once a popular device maker that promised robust security with the ease of QWERTY keypads. However, the Canada-based manufacturer soon lost its sheen in a market that was suddenly flooded with touch-based smartphones and the iPhones. In a bid to resurrect its failing smartphone business, the company undertook some key steps including adoption of a touch-based design and the latest move towards incorporating rival Google s Android OS. Going forward, TCL is expected to unveil the BlackBerry Mercury smartphone at this month s MWC 2017.