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BlackBerry continues to license its security technology to other companies

The only mobile phone that Punkt currently sells is a $229 "dumb" phone that only supports 2G networks.

Published onMarch 7, 2018

  • BlackBerry announced a licensing deal with Punkt, which allows Punkt to use BlackBerry’s security credentials in its devices.
  • Punkt only has one mobile phone available, though the Swiss device maker could make more devices with BlackBerry Secure.
  • This is BlackBerry’s second such deal, the first being a deal with NTD this past September.

Known for its BlackBerry Secure security technology, BlackBerry announced a technology and licensing deal with Swiss device maker Punkt. This is BlackBerry’s second such deal, the first being a licensing deal with Chinese company NTD last September.

The announcement made it sound like BlackBerry’s security credentials will be used in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, though no specifics were mentioned. Punkt currently sells a feature phone, desktop charger, extension socket, alarm clock, cordless phone, and a leather case for its phone.

The deal could lead to a Punkt-branded phone that features BlackBerry Secure, though we will keep our ears open for any announcement from the Swiss device maker.

As for BlackBerry, there are a few things to keep in mind. The licensing deal doubles down on the company’s shift from hardware to licensing as it tries to remain financially afloat. That shift began with the KEYone, the result of BlackBerry’s licensing deal with Chinese manufacturer TCL.

Also, BlackBerry built a solid reputation for secure software over the years, though that reputation was garnered when the company made its own operating system. BlackBerry has since abandoned its operating system in favor of Android, with the company saying it strengthened Android’s Linux kernel.

The Verge noted that BlackBerry signs and injects encrypted keys during the manufacturing process. This allows the hardware and software to detect if someone messed around with it. Also, BlackBerry has done a solid job with regards to monthly security updates, though the same cannot be said for Android version upgrades.

The KEYone and Motion currently run Android Nougat, though BlackBerry promised an upgrade to Android Oreo at some point.

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