(Pocket-lint) - It's not exactly the most shocking news of the year to find out Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL has signed a licensing agreement with BlackBerry that will see the former design and produce phones for the latter.

We already had our suspicions a deal was on the way after the recently released DTEK50 and DTEK60 BlackBerry smartphones were essentially rebranded Alcatel handsets, also made by TCL. BlackBerry also announced back in September it was stopping all hardware manufacture, but at the time, no official announcement had been made to say which company would make phones going forward.

The deal doesn't spell the end for BlackBerry however, as the Canadian company will continue to "develop its security and software solutions", which run alongside Android in recent phone releases, and it's these security features that help BlackBerry devices to separate themselves from the competition.

TCL will handle all other aspects of smartphone production: design, manufacture, sales and distribution.

Nicolas Zibell, CEO of TCL Communication said of the deal: "We [TCL Communication] are committed to creating the best portfolio solutions, while ensuring the quality support to consumers and enterprise users who trust the integrity of the BlackBerry device and the brand's security leadership, coupled with the Android platform",

"Together with BlackBerry's smartphone software platform, this partnership will strengthen our position in the global mobile market".

Ralph Pini, COO of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry added: "TCL Communication is the natural choice to license BlackBerry's software and brand on a global scale. We successfully partnered with them on the DTEK series of secure smartphones and we've been impressed with their excellence in hardware design, development and manufacturing.

"We are confident that BlackBerry-branded products developed and distributed by TCL will address the needs of BlackBerry users and expand the availability of BlackBerry Secure products throughout the world".

Writing by Max Langridge.