2014 is without a doubt the year of the wearables. In fact, everyone seems to be making a smartwatch this year, or at least planning to. Well, with the exception of HTC who bucked the trend by categorically stating they were not pursuing in a wearable direction. Chances are this will change in the future but for now HTC consider themselves out of the race. We have seen (and heard) announcements from Samsung and LG (on their second smartwatches), ASUS, Sony, Huawei, Apple…the list goes on. Everyone wants to get on board the smartwatch train. In fact, today we heard of a much unexpected addition to the smartwatch arena. It seems BlackBerry is ‘thinking’ about a smartwatch. Yep, you heard it! BlackBerry!
John Sims, president of Enterprise at BlackBerry has made very clear indications that BlackBerry are entertaining the thought of making a smartwatch. The comments by Simms were made in an interview in Las Vegas at the Super Mobility Week included “We’re doing internal research on different wearables“. Further adding “I would love to have BBM on a wearable” and “It’s definitely an area of research for us“. This does clearly suggest BlackBerry is taking the thought of wearables seriously although it is not clear whether they could enter the market successfully.
Although BlackBerry was an extremely big company they have seen a significant drop in their usage over the last few years. According to IDC, back in 2011 BlackBerry had a 13.6% share of the operating system (OS) market (second only to Android and Apple). However a year later in 2012 this significantly fell to 4.9%, then in 2013 their share fell again to 2.8% and at the end of the second quarter in 2014 BlackBerry’s OS share dropped to 0.5%. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why BlackBerry is looking into the smartwear market but the reality of whether they can financially produce a device that will match up with the alternatives expected from Android Wear is doubtful. Sims may love to have BBM on a wearable but does not mean anyone else would want it? After all, it is difficult to foresee a QWERTY keyboard on a smartwatch and this in a sense is BlackBerry’s thing. So what, if anything, could BlackBerry offer in a smartwatch that we are not already seeing by the onslaught of wearables set to hit the market? What do you guys think? Would you trust BlackBerry to make a smartwatch? Would you buy one?