There was a time when BlackBerry devices dominated the smartphone space. But the past few years have been tough for the company, with growing competition from Apple’s iPhone and an army of Android devices. BlackBerry’s brief foray into the tablet space wasn’t exactly a home run either.
So what’s a struggling company to do? In this case, the answer appears to be to form a committee to look at “strategic alternatives,” which could involve selling the company — if anybody’s interested in buying.
At the very least, BlackBerry patents are probably worth a bit of cash, and some of the latest software and hardware the company’s come up with actually looks pretty interesting. The question is whether anyone would want to buy BlackBerry and continue to sell BlackBerry devices, or if a potential buyer would simply take some of those ideas and incorporate them into Android or another operating system.
On the other hand, there’s another option. If the company goes private, it wouldn’t have to answer to shareholders and that could give BlackBerry a bit more breathing room to invest in long-term plans for the future without worrying too much about immediate profits.
Here’s a roundup of mobile tech news from around the web.
- BlackBerry explores a possible sale of company (among other options)
BlackBerry hasn’t been having a great year — and now it looks like the board is exploring alternatives that could include taking the company private or finding a buyer for the whole business. [Globe and Mail]
- IDC scales back its estimate of touchscreen laptop shipments in 2013, this doesn’t bode well for Windows 8
IDC had expected 17 to 18 percent of PC notebooks shipping this year to sport touchscreen displays. Now they’re thinking it’ll be more like 10 to 15 percent. [Computer World]
- Firefox beta for Android gets support for WebRTC real-time communications
Mozilla is pushing an updated beta version of its browser for Android, featuring WebRTC support, improved Reader & Reading list features, and support for sharing Firefox tabs with another device using NFC. [Mozilla]
- Rockchip working on its own WiFi Display service, bringing Miracast-like tech to Android TV sticks
Miracast, Chromecast, Airplay… Rockchip doesn’t need any of them. It’s coming up with its own wireless display system for streaming content between devices. [Padhz]
- Latest Windows 8.1 build offers usability tweaks
Windows 8.1 is due out later this year, and the latest pre-release build offers some small tweaks that should make the OS easier to use with a keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen. [The Verge]
- Samsung Smart TV’s YouTube/Netflix apps work with Chromecast, let you send video to your TV without a dongle
Google’s $35 Chromecast lets you stream internet video to your TV — but it’s also just one device that lets you do that. It turns out the Google Cast technology works with the Netflix and YouTube apps in at least one Samsung Smart TV, which means you can use your phone or tablet to send video from those apps to your TV just the same way you would if you had a Chromecast. [+Russell Holly]