Even if your next phone is not a BlackBerry, BlackBerry expects to have a presence in it. The company is beginning to license its security technology to third-party hardware companies to place them on phones and other smart devices. His first agreement, announced in September, was for phones and involved the Chinese company NTD, and today BlackBerry announces a new agreement with the Swiss company Punkt, known for its minimalist cell phone.
Why Punkt will use BlackBerry technology is not mentioned, but the BlackBerry ad suggests that it will be used more widely than just phones, indicating that it will probably end up in some kind of IoT device. Punkt does not manufacture so many products, as far as electronics are concerned, it's just the only one, so it's not clear what to expect.
Would the BlackBerry integration encourage you to buy a phone?
BlackBerry stopped manufacturing its own hardware in 2016 and has since moved to a licensing business, where the company sells its brand and software and allows others to manage the hardware. The BlackBerry KeyOne from last year, for example, was manufactured by TCL.
This new licensing program, known as BlackBerry Secure, allows companies to take advantage of BlackBerry's security credentials without completely hiding their brand. So Punkt could, for example, sell a Punkt brand phone that simply says "BlackBerry Secure" at some point when it starts.
As to whether consumers should be excited about BlackBerry's security credentials in 2018, that question is a little more open. BlackBerry has a good reputation for the security of its devices, but BlackBerry no longer manufactures its own operating system, but instead tries to strengthen Android, over which it does not have complete control. And other companies make similar claims about Android security, so it's hard to say how much BlackBerry is doing that others do not.
To secure a phone, BlackBerry says it gets involved in the manufacturing process to sign and inject encrypted keys that allow the hardware and software to verify that it has not been tampered with. The company says it has "hardened" the Linux kernel that Android runs and completely encrypts the storage of the system. The company has also been good at posting monthly software updates, which in itself is a big enough improvement. BlackBerry also includes pre-installed applications that are intended to help users control the security of their devices.