Foxconn will develop some Blackberry phones

The move marks a major change in strategy for Blackberry

Blackberry is turning to Foxconn, the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronics, to jointly develop and produce some models of handset, the two companies said on Friday.

The deal marks a major change in strategy at Blackberry and is the first step away from the hardware market by the struggling company, which until now had developed its own phones.

Working jointly with Foxconn, the partnership will begin with joint development of a handset for the Indonesian market, said John Chen, CEO of Blackberry, in a conference call with analysts. Indonesia is one of Blackberry's most important markets.

The phone will be produced at a new factory Foxconn is building in Indonesia and is expected to be available in the country in March or April 2014, said Chen.

But going forward, Chen said he wants to shift more design and development work to Foxconn, especially for handsets aimed at developing markets.

"We're taking advantage of their efficiencies, their parts, their ability with logistics," he said. "Over time, I'd love them to design more handsets for us and I'd just do some really cool, high-end devices."

Chen said Blackberry's designers in North America will focus on smartphones aimed at enterprise users in the short term.

"That does not imply over the long term that we won't get ourselves back into the consumer space, but in the foreseeable future until we get our finances back on solid footing, that is what we will do," said Chen.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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