Amid the growing number of Google's Android Wear running smartwatches and the domination of Apple Watch models, BlackBerry is set to enter the smartwatch space by partnering with classic watch company Timex Group. The new tie-up emerges as a result of a patent license agreement that aims to broaden the portfolio of the Canadian company that includes nearly 40,000 worldwide patents and applications.
"The 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," said Jerald Gnuschke, senior director of intellectual property licensing, BlackBerry, in a statement.
BlackBerry already covers technologies such as wireless communications, networking infrastructure, acoustics, messaging, enterprise software and operating systems among others. However, the latest deal brings the Ontario-headquartered company directly to a space that mainly targets at the business-to-consumer (B2C) segment over business-to-business (B2B) customers.
Interestingly, the official statement doesn't define any concrete goals of the two companies. But consider the active entrance of traditional watchmakers in the smartwatch market, Timex would leverage the development to bring its full-fledged smartwatches.
This would be something beyond what Apple and Google are planning with their own smartwatch platforms and similar to what companies like Fossil, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger that have recently proposed to develop smartwatches. The Dutch holding company headquartered in Hoofddorp already attempted to join the smartwatch market by launching its fitness tracking Ironman series in 2015.
BlackBerry-powered platform for smartwatches
BlackBerry is likely to help Timex fulfill its plan by providing a platform for the smartwatches. This would also expand the company's presence in the software market, where it recently started offering its enterprise-focused, tweaked Android version.
Double the market in 2021
According to a recent report by IDC, the market of wearables will double before reaching a total of 240.1 million units shipped in 2021, reflecting a five-year CAGR of 18.2 percent. There were over 102.4 million wearable devices shipped in 2016.