BlackBerry executive suggests company could enter smartwatch space

Samsung’s in. Sony’s in. Motorola’s in. Apple’s just got in. And a ton of other companies are in, too, or getting in. So how about the idea of BlackBerry joining the party?

We’re talking about the smartwatch space, and according to recent comments made by BlackBerry enterprise head John Sims, the once mighty mobile maker may actually be considering launching a smartwatch of its own.

“We’re doing internal research on different wearables,” Sims told reporters at this week’s Super Mobility conference in Las Vegas.

Computerworld reported that, according to Sims, BlackBerry has been looking into the development of not only a smartwatch, but smart glasses, too.

BlackBerry boss John Chen in May appeared lukewarm to the idea of entering the wearables space, but with the market forecast to be worth as much as $8 billion by 2018, it’s possible the Ontario-based company has had a rethink.

Related: Four new smartphone’s in BlackBerry’s future

If it felt it could bring something new to the market which draws on areas that formed the foundation of its earlier success in the smartphone industry, then rolling out a product such as a smartwatch is certainly within the realms of possibility. For example, while other tech firms fill their smartwatches with health and fitness features, perhaps BlackBerry could build a device that focuses more on secure messaging features, aiming it at the business community or government agencies.

Of course, BlackBerry got its fingers burned the last time it stepped out of the smartphone space (remember the PlayBook, anyone?), so entering another new market would require far greater consideration and planning next time around. But with the smartwatch sector really beginning to heat up, BlackBerry wouldn’t want to leave it too long before launching such a device.

BlackBerry ship steadied?

BlackBerry has had a torrid time of it in recent years, its market crumbling in the face of strong competition from Apple’s iPhone and a slew of high-end Android devices.

However, in an internal memo sent by BlackBerry boss John Chen to employees last month, the CEO said he thinks the company is now “well on its way” to recovery, with job losses and other major restructuring measures now behind it. If, over time, it manages to rebuild revenue and salvage its flagging brand, entry into the wearables market could prove tempting.

The company is currently gearing up to launch its unique-looking Passport smartphone later this month. The handset, noted for its square 4.5-inch display, also comes with the company’s iconic physical QWERTY keyboard, a feature it might want to leave off any smartwatch it may be developing.


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