BlackBerry will license its operating system to third-party smartphone manufacturers, according to the company's Senior Vice President, Alex Thurber. Dubbed as the second phase of its licensing plan, the Canadian firm will allow other handset makers to use the BlackBerry Secure operating system for their own devices. Thurber claims that the company is currently negotiating with several smartphone manufacturers regarding potential partnerships, but he did not specify the brands that are interested in utilizing BlackBerry's Android-based software offering, though such info might be revealed in the near future.
It is not yet clear how this licensing deal will work, but it seems that the manufacturer will outsource the development of the operating system to BlackBerry. The Canadian firm, on the other hand, will develop software that is compatible with the phone's hardware. This licensing deal could prove beneficial for both manufacturers and consumers. Licensing the BlackBerry Secure OS could be an alternative for smartphone manufacturers, who want to develop more secure handsets without the huge software development cost. On the other hand, consumers who utilize these phones will be well-protected against vulnerability exploits and malware attacks. This partnership could also prove beneficial to third-party OEMs when it comes to software updates, BlackBerry isn't exactly the first OEM to get Android updates, but it is much faster than some other manufacturers, so it all depends on who decides to license BlackBerry OS, but it is possible that it will benefit some OEMs.
BlackBerry is also hoping to capitalize in the growing connected devices market by incorporating its solutions in IoT products and systems. John Chen, the company's CEO and Executive Chairman, believes that IoT systems will only fully realize its potential to improve lives if the privacy and security of the user are protected. Right now, the firm is offering software solutions for television sets, wearables, and medical devices. The company noted that many smart TVs run Android, making it easy for its developers to create the appropriate software. Medical devices, on the other hand, must be secured against hackers, as these pieces of equipment store very important personal and medical data. The company has also recently released a product for connected cars, with more than 60 million cars already using BlackBerry's offerings for communication.