BlackBerry Is Working On Licensing Its Own Version Of Android

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BlackBerry is planning to release BlackBerry Secure, its own version of Android, which will have a string of security features to meet the requirements of enterprise users. The Economic Times states that the Canadian firm will announce some partner deals soon.

Second phase of licensing strategy

BlackBerry stock has been losing its sheen lately, tumbling from its nearly two-year high on the back of dismal earnings and intense competition. In March, the shares rallied on the hopes that BlackBerry’s QNX industrial operating system for self-driving cars can stable the company. However, investors are losing patience and have started to question management’s turnaround efforts. Joel Kulina of Wedbush Securities stated that the turnaround story has been going on for five years, and people do not have patience anymore.

Nevertheless, the company has not given up hope and seems to be starting the second phase of its licensing strategy. The first phase, of course, was providing its software for phones and partnering with third-party companies to have them handle the hardware. For the second phase, the Canadian will make its secure version of Android available to global smartphone manufacturers.

BlackBerry working on cutting deals

When asked about the development, BlackBerry Senior Vice President and General Manager for Mobility Solutions Alex Thurber told ET, “We have a number of different contracts that we are working on right now. We expect some to be announced soon.”

Thurber added that to release Android Secure in India, they have teamed up with Optiemus.

Opteimus is one of the three companies licensed to sell BlackBerry phones, with the other two being TCL and BB Merah Putih. Opteimus has a 10-year brand licensing deal with BlackBerry under which it will design, manufacture and sell BlackBerry phones and offer customer support in India and neighboring countries, such as Nepal and Sri Lanka.

For the Indonesian market, the Canadian firm has inked a deal with BB Merah Putih, while TCL is the licensed partner for rest of the world.

“We have three partners today that cover the world. We are not looking at any other partners for pure BlackBerry brand,” Thurber said.

BlackBerry Secure for IoT too

For BlackBerry Secure, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company is most interested in India. Thurber notes that India could be a major market for the product, as consumers there are more inclined toward privacy. BlackBerry has yet to reveal whether it will provide the updates for every device using BlackBerry Secure or if the licensing deals will only include the apps.

BlackBerry Secure isn’t just for smartphones. The company is also planning to release a version for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Google is also looking to push Android for the Internet of Things, specifically with the Android Things operating system.

In other BlackBerry news, the company’s latest flagship, the KeyOne, will be available in a space black version on AT&T starting September 1. Except for the new matte black finish, all the specifications, functionality and features will be same as the original model. For now, the price of the space black handset on AT&T has not been revealed, but it will be close to $599, the price quoted for the GSM-unlocked silver model supported by the T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon networks, notes ZDNet.

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