Following Apple's announcement of its new wearable Apple Watch earlier this week, BlackBerry says it's also getting into the wearables game. The struggling Canadian smartphone maker is reportedly working on devices with its popular BBM messaging system built in.
BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) is researching wearables, including watches and glasses, Computer World reported on Wednesday from the Super Mobility Week conference in Las Vegas, citing a senior company executive.
"We're doing internal research on different wearables," John Sims, president of BlackBerry Enterprise Solutions, said in an interview with several reporters at the conference. "I would love to have...BBM on a wearable," said Sims, who oversees the company’s instant messenger service, the BBM.
"It's definitely an area of research for us," Computer World cited him as saying.
On Tuesday, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) released its Apple Watch to mixed responses, alongside its much anticipated iPhone 6 smartphones, joining Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL, GOOG), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KRX:005930, 005935), Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) and many others in the global race to build wearables.
BlackBerry, under CEO John Chen, is effecting a turnaround that investors believe the Canadian company might pull off. Chen has tapped executives such as former Sony-Ericsson CTO Sandeep Chennakeshu to help him implement his strategy: an increased focus on the company’s software that enterprises across the world still love and respect for BlackBerry’s strong security and productivity features.
Chennakeshu also met with the same reporters at the mobility conference and spoke about BlackBerry patented technologies and research, including those that find applications in antennas, cryptography, and the Internet of Things.
BlackBerry’s latest enterprise server, the BES 12, is set for a November release. The company continues to build smartphones, which account for about a third of its revenues, even though global market share has shrunk to a shadow of what the company once was, due to a huge consumer shift to Apple and Samsung, despite a modest revival in the second quarter this year.
"There are still a lot of loyal BlackBerry users," including many who still love a physical qwerty keyboard, Computer World cited Sims as saying at the interview.
The company will release on Sept. 24 its most exotic handset yet, the BlackBerry Passport, with a square, 4.5-inch touchscreen and a physical qwerty keypad that also has touch features. A BlackBerry Classic is expected at the same time, both running on the latest version of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, the 10.3 build.