BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has launched its first app in the healthcare category for doctors and nurses who use smartphones. BlackBerry phone users will now be able to run apps developed by Los Angeles-based NantHealth, a healthcare company headed by billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.
BlackBerry healthcare app coming next year
The app is expected at the beginning of next year, according to both companies. On a joint phone interview to Bloomberg, both Chen and Soon-Shiong confirmed that there are more applications lined up as well. BlackBerry CEO John Chen has mentioned previously that healthcare is a focus for the company. Initially, under the deal with NantHealth, the company will connect doctors’ BlackBerry smartphones with NantHealth systems that will scrutinize tumors and recommend treatment options.
“We do have many hospitals and clinical groups that use our devices,” Chen said. “But what we’re talking here is much larger-scale if we become successful.”
Chen has already come out with a plan to double their software revenue to $500 million by March 2016, but he did not discuss the picture of their healthcare business in the future. Chen has shifted his focus toward segments demanding fool-proof security, such as banking, government and healthcare.
Soon-Shiong, who holds a small stake in the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, believes security is a priority and that there cannot be a more secure organization than BlackBerry.
New app to come pre-installed on the Passport
There has not been any specified date for the launch of the new app, which will be factory installed in BlackBerry’s Passport smartphones. The Canadian smartphone company is hopeful from the sales of the Passport and is targeting 10 million smartphones annually, which according to the phone maker will help it in earning a profit. In the first two days of its launch, the Passport was ordered more than 200,000 times.
Analysts have acknowledged that the Passport is a premium category product, but many think the launch of the new Classic device, which is the successor of the popular Bold smartphone, will be more decisive in the future of BlackBerry. The Classic is set to launch on Dec. 17.
BlackBerry has not revealed the magnitude of its investment in NantHealth, which is primarily supported by the Kuwait Investment authority, a sovereign-wealth fund that invested $250 million in the company in October. The Canadian smartphone manufacturer made an investment in NantHealth last April.