After licensing its own brand for smartphones, a second license model with software follows. The Android used by BlackBerry on any correspondingly marketed smartphone is additionally secured – and is now also offered to third parties.
BlackBerry Limited only makes software
In September 2016, BlackBerry announced to go out of the hardware business in the absence of profitability and to no longer develop smartphones. BlackBerry Limited is now a software company with solutions for security and device management. New hardware with the BlackBerry logo is now available from partners who license the name.
The largest of these partners is TCL, a Chinese company that also distributes smartphones under the name Alcatel. The BlackBerry KeyOne (test) is also marketed, marketed and sold by TCL, where TCL appears as a BlackBerry mobile. For all BlackBerry-labeled smartphones, BlackBerry Limited provides the software, which, in addition to regular security patches, also includes an additional secure Android.
The result of these additional changes for more security is now referred to as the BlackBerry Secure. The focus of the license model is the use of the BlackBerry software on smartphones from other manufacturers that do not appear under the BlackBerry brand.
Multilayer security aspects included
Additional security, such as the KeyOne, should be achieved in several ways: through the integrated DTEK app, which provides an overview of the device’s security status. To do this, the app checks settings such as operating system version, app permissions, or encryption. Added to this are regular safety patches and changes under the hood.
According to the website, this includes an enhanced Linux kernel, address space layout randomization, encryption according to the standard FIPS 140-2 as well as a bootchain, which ensures the integrity of hardware and software on the basis of cryptographic keys (hardware root of trust) integrated into the hardware.
First partners already
According to Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions, the provider is currently working on a number of contracts, the first of which will soon be announced. According to the manager, a contract has been concluded, among other things, with the Indian manufacturer Optiemus, which not only licensed BlackBerry, but also the name BlackBerry for India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in advance. In cooperation with Optiemus, a key-in in black has recently been shown in India, which offers double internal memory and a GByte more RAM than the basic model.
It is possible that TCL will soon be distributing this version internationally. Whether TCL changes only the color or the data, is currently unclear. In addition to TCL for the rest of the world, there is BB Merah Putih another licensee, but the latter only supplies the Indonesian market.
Further business areas are to follow
In addition to smartphones, BlackBerry also wants to secure the “Enterprise of Things”. The safe software is therefore also to be offered for medical devices, wearables and TVs, for example with Android TV.