Rising from the electronics grave, BlackBerry is reportedly planning on licensing its own secure Android operating system, BlackBerry Secure.
In February, multinational electronics company TCL unveiled the BlackBerry KEYone, a premium Android handset that gained BlackBerry some much needed attention.
The KEYone is a relic of forgotten times, featuring a full keyboard made of physical buttons rather than the now standard digital offerings. This apparently was popular enough that BlackBerry is now attempting to license out its BlackBerry Secure platform to other device makers.
Last year, Blackberry announced it will cease manufacturing hardware since they’ve been losing for quite some time, with a whopping 47 percent revenue decrease for the quarter to add insult to injury.
However, their custom software is in high demand.
Now the company is reportedly in talks with several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) besides TCL to run its software on non-BlackBerry Android devices. According to the company, “there is an amazing amount of products that run Android and since we are able to make a very secure Android, we think there are a lot of opportunities.”
Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry noted, “We have a number of different contracts that we are working on right now. We expect some to be announced soon. We have an agreement with Optiemus for the India market for BlackBerry Secure.”
Optiemus is one of three companies (including TCL and BB Merah Putih) that license the BlackBerry brand to sell phones. Similar to HMD Global’s deal with Nokia, this allows Optiemus to manufacture, distribute, and market devices under BlackBerry’s name.
BERRY, BERRY SECURE
BlackBerry Secure will include security features currently enabled on all its Android devices, but license to other companies. The company is also looking into using the operating system for securing Internet of Things devices.
Currently, all of BlackBerry’s Android phones come with a DTEK security suite, which helps users monitor which apps are using features to access information. This includes monitoring whenever an app takes photos, assesses your location, edits your contacts in any way, or utilizes your microphone. An overall security rating ranging from poor to excellent lets users know where they stand.
At this time, it’s unclear if updates will be available for every device that uses BlackBerry Secure, or if new licensing deals will only include apps.