In the past, BlackBerry had plans to move the company forward by licensing its operating system BB10 to OEMs, but those plans never materialized due to the lack of dedicated applications and updates. Now the company is making similar plans, only this time for its secure version of Android, and is targeting brands such as Sony and Samsung.
Lack of Competition
This move could prove to be a good idea for the lagging company, as it would add a new revenue stream with no major investment needed. The system already exists, so the revenue could start coming in almost immediately after licensing it, at no financial risk for the company.
Considering that its only true secure Android competitor, Blackphone’s PriveteOS, is not available for licensing, taking the step in this direction would make BlackBerry the main player in the licensing market. Any OEM who wanted to enter the market of more secure devices would have no choice but to use Blackberry’s secured Android OS. This lack of competition would also give BlackBerry the opportunity to set pricing based on its own needs, without the need to adjust due to pricing wars.
Quantity as Necessity
While the positives seem overwhelming, there are a few issues that BlackBerry needs to overcome. Before committing to licensing the OS, OEMs will have to be shown that there is large enough market for volume production by several vendors. The numbers as they stand right now are not that promising, as it is estimated that the only current secure Android OS equipped device, BlackBerry’s Priv, sold in the neighborhood of 110,000 units. The number would need to be significantly higher to attract large scale licensing from OEMs.
Another huge challenge for BlackBerry would be obtaining certifications and clearances for its OS from all government agencies from across the globe, as the company would have to convince every single one of them that the new system is as secure as BB10. What remains to be seen however, is whether the OEMs are patient enough to wait for this process to come to fruition.