BlackBerry Patent Awards Hints At Possible Wearable Devices

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

BlackBerry awarded at least 27 new US patents that reveal the type of devices currently under development

BlackBerry has been awarded a slew of new patents, including some interesting details which indicate the company may be currently developing wearable technology devices.

The Official Gazette of the US Patent and Trademark Office revealed that the company has trademarked a patent for unlocking a smartphone with a wearable device, alongside several other new features including new security features and user interface (UI) for a conference calling system.

Another patent points at cases with touchscreens for note-taking on a device, even though the device is still housed within and behind its protective cover.

Patent Awards

Several other patents seemed to indicate a system for watches or lanyards that will enable smartphone access, Bloomberg revealed.

BlackBerrypatentThis method would replace the more traditional passcodes or thumbprints used nowadays, and signals a possible first move into the wearables market for BlackBerry.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has previously told the media that the Waterloo, Ontario-based company is updating its Business Enterprise Server, and it also plans a new phone expected sometime in November. The company is also expected to launch a videoconferencing service, BBM Meetings, by the end of the year.

BlackBerry remains busy as its transitions away from the consumer market and concentrates of the business segment. In August Chen announced that the company had finally finished restructuring after three years of staff layoffs, and was now set to relaunch with special focus on its management, messaging and security services, QNX-embedded systems and high-end smartphones for businesses.

Indeed, BlackBerry created a new business unit for its most promising products, which include the QNX operating system for embedded devices, Certicom cryptography tools and Project Ion – a platform for the Internet of Things. The unit, called BlackBerry Technology Solutions (BTS), also manages the company’s 44,000-strong patent portfolio and run Paratec, an antenna research lab acquired by BlackBerry in 2012.

Last month BlackBerry launched a new and eye-catching handset called the BlackBerry Passport. That device features a 4.5in square HD display alongside the company’s trademark QWERTY keyboard. BlackBerry later revealed that pre-orders of the Passport smartphone had surpassed expectations, and sold out in some markets.

Meanwhile Lenovo has reportedly reignited its interest in acquiring BlackBerry, almost a year after the Chinese firm’s initial advances were thwarted by the Canadian government’s concerns that such a takeover would be a threat to national security.

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