It is almost ironic that the move that many have billed as the death of BlackBerry might actually be the one that saves BlackBerry 10 OS as well. Now that BlackBerry has moved towards being more of a software development and licensing shop, it means that the company won’t have be concerned about tanking sales of BB10 devices. Instead, they can simply license the operating system to manufacturers with a vested interest in it and let them worry about the sales instead.
That’s pretty much what BlackBerry’s Mobility division VP for sales, Alex Thurber, implied in an interview. According to him, some companies are interested in licensing the OS for handsets. Those may or may not carry the BlackBerry brand in the final product, but at least BlackBerry 10 gets to live on inside them.
Although BlackBerry 10 became well-known in the enterprise, mostly because of the suite of enterprise software and services that came with it, it failed to gain traction in the consumer market against the likes of Android and iOS. Part of the problem lied in the lack of high-profile apps, forcing BlackBerry to add support for running Android apps on top of BB10. But by then it was already too late.
This new software licensing scheme, then, becomes more favorable to BlackBerry 10 OS. If there are indeed customers still interested in it, even if niche, they can simply license it. Thus, BlackBerry itself avoids the risk of manufacturing devices that the wider consumer market has no interest in.
That said, BlackBerry isn’t going to license BB10 willy-nilly to just anyone and it retains some pretty high standards for manufacturing partners. Of course, this all presupposes that there are still notable manufacturers interested in BB10, when BlackBerry itself has mostly moved over to porting their apps to Android.