I suppose one way to keep your brand alive is to sell it off to someone else. That’s what IBM did with its ThinkPad business and now it looks like BlackBerry is doing the same with its smartphones. To be fair, BlackBerry isn’t selling its smartphone business to TCL, per se; it’s just signing over global rights to use BlackBerry branding.

Well, not quite global, but pretty close. With the noted exception of Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia, Chinese manufacturer TCL will soon be able to sell BlackBerry-branded smartphones directly to consumers. This presumably also means that TCL can similarly establish its own deals with wireless carriers, online stores and so forth.

This almost makes sense, seeing how BlackBerry isn’t terribly interested in the hardware business anymore. We also have to remember that TCL is the company that actually makes the DTEK50 and DTEK60. Whenever the DTEK70 “Mercury” hits the market, it could be sold and marketed by TCL directly using BlackBerry branding.

It’s pretty safe to say that TCL is not exactly a household name anywhere, but BlackBerry is. It’ll be interesting to see if they actually follow through and build on this, though, since they didn’t really do anything after buying the Palm name back in January 2015. That said, I think average Joe consumer is more inclined to buy a BlackBerry these days than a Palm phone, right?

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