BlackBerry pretty much pulled out of the hardware business last year. The last three BlackBerry-branded smartphones to hit the streets? They’re all manufactured by Chinese device maker TCL due to a licensing agreement.

But the DTEK50, DTEK60, and KeyOne do have some BlackBerry DNA that goes beyond the brand name. They also have BlackBerry’s version of Android, which comes with the company’s communication and security apps and features.

Eventually you may not need to buy a BlackBerry-branded device to get those features though. BlackBerry is reportedly hoping to license its software to third-party phone makers.

According to a report from the Economic Times of India, the company is calling its Android-based operating system “BlackBerry Secure.” Among other things, it likely includes BlackBerry’s DTEK security app that monitors other apps on your device so you can tell which apps are using your phone’s camera, accessing your contacts, location, or other data, sending text messages, or toggling the microphone on or off.

BlackBerry already has a brand licensing deal with TCL, which sells BlackBerry-branded phones in most of the world and with Optiemus in India and BB Mera Putih in Indonesia.

The new arrangements would be just for the operating system, which means we’d see BlackBerry Secure software on phones sold under different brand names. In fact, selling any of those phones with BlackBerry in the name might violate the deals BlackBerry already has in place.

via Phone Arena



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4 replies on “BlackBerry may license secure Android software to third-party phone makers”

  1. I don’t think people really understand what kind of security Blackberry provides. It probably has to do with the lack of BB devices. I’d be very interested if I was convinced it wasn’t a half-measure.

    I hear security and I start thinking about ad-blockers, dealing with tracking at the OS level, restricting app access (Firewall), blocking (the IPs to) particular countries (see LostNet Firewall), guaranteed security updates, fine-grained permissions, blacklisting shady ad frameworks, p2p encryption, etc…

    What I’m saying is that Android is broken. An OS is designed to run apps and if you can’t trust those apps… the entire system will never be secure. In fact, we don’t even trust Android and it’s offsprings much either. We work around this but the effort is great.

  2. While Blackberry do a good job keeping their various apps up to date, they don’t keep up with OS updates so I hope they’re only licensing the apps. My Priv’s still on Android N while O has been released. The Keyone will apparently receive O but if the Priv’s anything to go by it’ll receive it in ~6-9 months time. Maybe I’m just bitter though, I really wanted multi-tasking on my Priv.

    1. Doh, I meant Marshmallow. Priv’s on MM while Oreo’s been released, keyone’s on nougat.

    2. I’ve actually been impressed that BB has released OS updates for phones they no longer sell – I also have a Priv (great concept, dodgy execution), but have previously had a OnePlus and a few Samsungs. None of my old phones get OS updates, to the point I’m considering installing LineageOS and/or Paranoid Android.

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