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BlackBerry Creates New Business Unit For Most Promising Services

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BlackBerry Technology Solutions will deal with QNX, Certicom, Paratec and Project Ion

Canadian telecoms expert BlackBerry has 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 recently announced platform for the Internet of Things.

The unit, called BlackBerry Technology Solutions (BTS), will also manage the company’s 44,000-strong patent portfolio and run Paratec, an antenna research lab acquired by BlackBerry in 2012.

BTS will be led by Sandeep Chennakeshu, former CTO of Sony-Erricson, IEEE fellow and the holder of 73 patents.

The announcement comes several weeks after BlackBerry’s recently appointed CEO John Chen declared that the company’s restructuring is complete.

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Three years of layoffs have left BlackBerry with just 7,000 staff – tiny when compared with 17,000 people the company employed when its smartphones were at the peak of their popularity.

qnx-rim-blackberryThe new BlackBerry is a much leaner organisation, geared towards software and services, although Chen stressed that it will continue making hi-end smartphones, and never abandon the familiar design of a hardware keyboard.

QNX was originally developed in the 1980 by Canadian company Quantum Software Systems, later renamed QNX Software Systems and ultimately acquired by BlackBerry in 2010.

QNX served as the basis for BlackBerry’s latest mobile OS, and is also used in a variety of embedded systems, including connected cars. For example, Apple’s CarPlay provides a user interface that looks like iOS, but is actually running on top of the QNX kernel.

Meanwhile, Project Ion aims to develop a single, secure platform for billions of networked devices that are expected to come online in the next few years. It will also offer the resources necessary to aggregate the huge amounts of sensor data and turn it into useful intelligence.

“QNX, Certicom and Paratek are strategic and technically innovative assets with significant potential to address the much wider global markets for secure, reliable communications and embedded applications,” said Chen.

“Combining all these assets into a single business unit led by Sandeep will create operational synergies and new revenue streams, furthering our turnaround strategy.”

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