BlackBerry expanding mobile-security arsenal
BlackBerry is expanding its efforts to sell mobile-security software on its rivals' smartphones and tablets to help counter the waning popularity of its own devices.
As part of its strategy outlined on Thursday in San Francisco, BlackBerry unveiled several upgrades to its mobile security weapons and a partnership with smartphone market leader Samsung Electronics.
Many of the security features will protect smartphones running on operating systems made by Apple Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen is counting on the increased emphasis on mobile security to help the Canadian company to double its annual software revenue to about US$500 million.
The security arsenal is designed to help businesses and government agencies protect their employees' smartphones from malicious software and other hacking attacks that can steal confidential information.
As part of the companies' new alliance, Samsung plans to offer key pieces of BlackBerry's security software to corporate customers whose employees work on Galaxy phones and tablets, which run Google's Android operating system.
Competition from Android phones and Apple's iPhones, which debuted in 2007, has hobbled BlackBerry, which now holds a small fraction of the US smartphone market after commanding a nearly 50 per cent share as recently as 2009.
Chen, who took over as CEO a year ago, has been sharpening BlackBerry's focus on the business and government market in a tacit admission that the company's devices are unlikely to win over most consumers who have become enamoured with Apple and Android products.
BlackBerry's most recent phone, a square-shaped device called the Passport, quickly sold out of its limited supply after its September release. During his Thursday presentation, Chen provided a glimpse of a red Passport model that will be available November 28. He also said BlackBerry will release another phone, called the Classic, on December 17.