It might not feel like it, but it has been almost a year since BlackBerry announced it would exit the hardware market and start making licensing agreements with other companies. TCL stepped up to the plate and recently delivered the KeyONE on the smartphone front, and BlackBerry’s patent licensing agreement with Timex could potentially lead to an entry in the smartwatch market.
I want to stress the could in the previous line because BlackBerry did not say what would be made or what patents are involved in its agreement with Timex. It also does not help that BlackBerry’s portfolio includes over 40,000 patents, which include “wireless communications, networking infrastructure, acoustics, messaging, enterprise software, operating systems, virtualization, and cybersecurity.” With so many patents potentially involved, the deal with Timex could lead to a variety of products that might not include a smartwatch.
We did get a small quip from BlackBerry senior director of intellectual property licensing Jerald Gnuschke, who said the deal lets the company focus on opportunities in the mobile communications market:
This license agreement with Timex demonstrates the strength of BlackBerry’s patent portfolio, and will enable us to focus on further patent licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.
BlackBerry corporate communications officer Sarah McKinney did not say more than the press release already stated, which wasn’t much to begin with, but Gnuschke’s comment certainly keeps the possibility of a smartwatch made by Timex alive.
What do you think? Do you think that we will see a BlackBerry-branded smartwatch in the near future or is it all smoke and mirrors?