Blackberry plans IoT push at CES

BlackBerry is still making a loss, but software sales are growing fast and even hardware is closer to breakeven

Blackberry CEO John Chen hopes that what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas.

The company is planning to push its QNX real-time operating system into the Internet of Things at CES, the giant consumer electronics show held in Las Vegas each January, and hopes it will be a break-out success.

BlackBerry acquired QNX in 2010, using it first in its ill-fated PlayBook tablet before going on to build the BlackBerry 10 OS on top of it. The software also shows up in many car entertainment systems.

Chen carefully did not say that BlackBerry will itself be introducing any new connected things in Vegas, merely that it will highlight its initiative in IoT, and that there will be new technology demonstrations and product roll-outs.

The company saw 43 percent organic growth in its software licensing revenue in its third fiscal quarter, ended Nov. 28, Chen said, hinting that much of this came from QNX.

BlackBerry has been busy licensing the software to other manufacturers, who are choosing it for their own hardware, including new in-car applications, some in self-driving cars, Chen said.

As for BlackBerry's own struggling hardware business, that could yet be saved by the company's latest smartphone, the Android-based Priv, Chen said.

The Priv went on sale in the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 4 and was available in four countries by the end of the company's fiscal quarter just a few weeks later. Chen expects to be selling it in a total of 31 countries by the end of February.

Chen is focusing on growing phone sales profitably, and believes the hardware business can reach break-even in the current fiscal quarter, or perhaps the following one.

The Priv's modest contribution to that profitability may be short-lived: While it's selling at a higher price than other BlackBerry products, Chen expects to have to cut that price significantly when competitors show off their latest phones at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona in February.

Although the company is still loss-making, there are signs for optimism, Chen said, including a minor revenue turnaround: It's the first time in over two years that the company has seen revenue increase quarter-on-quarter, he said. He's expecting that trend to continue in the three main market segments -- software, messaging and now even hardware -- in the current quarter. Only service access fees, the subscription users of older BlackBerry software pay to access its messaging service, are in decline -- and that decline, while faster than previously forecast, is now offset by growth in software sales, he said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?