BlackBerry signs five-year partnership with Foxconn for cheap phones in emerging markets

BlackBerry's cheap 9720 model

Above: BlackBerry's cheap 9720 model

Image Credit: BlackBerry
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Amid a rough earnings report, BlackBerry has a plan to stay focused on emerging markets.

BlackBerry today announced a five-year partnership with Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer used by Apple and other electronics companies, to jointly develop and build some upcoming budget smartphones.

All of the new devices will run BB10, BlackBerry’s new CEO, John Chen, stressed in the company’s earnings call. Although BlackBerry’s North American designers will be focusing their energy more on the company’s higher-end enterprise devices.

The company expects to release the first Foxconn-built phone around March or April. (Chen said during the earnings call that he already had one unit in his hands.) Foxconn will manufacture the BlackBerry phones in its Indonesia and Mexico plants.

For BlackBerry, a company that’s historically designed and manufactured its own devices, such a partnership could offer some much-needed relief.

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