Mobile World Congress is already well underway in Barcelona, Spain and while it wasn't entirely expected to happen this early, BlackBerry has made several announcements. The biggest one arguably comes by way of their unveiling of the company's plans for cross-platform services via what they're calling the BlackBerry Experience Suite. The suite was noted to be 'a major company-wide initiative in BlackBerry's commitment to build out its robust software portfolio' and that includes bringing some beloved, and thus far BlackBerry 10 only, features to other platforms such as iOS, Android and Windows.
What features? Well, as highlighted in the BlackBerry Experience Suite video above, the BlackBerry Hub, the BlackBerry virtual keyboard, Universal Search, BlackBerry Calendar and more are on their way to other platforms one way or another and although details still remain rather slim for now (Will you need to pay? Will it be for BES only? etc.), they are likely to arrive on the various platforms by the end of the year according to BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen who spoke on a conference call with the media earlier today, while stressing that BlackBerry is still committed to its own devices.
"This is just a very natural evolution of taking our OS, the surfaces and security layers around it and putting it on others' devices, so that our serviceable market is not only 'BlackBerry' devices, but all devices," "I intend to continue to build a hardware business" he said. "But there will be a lot of focus on the software business too."
The news of BlackBerry expanding their cross-platform strategy shouldn't really be news at all to anyone who has been paying attention to John Chen's moves. In fact, the comments pretty much echo what he said last year when he travelled to Hong Kong to speak at the Technologies that Matter forum. There he noted, 'We have to treat everything as part of our ecosystem, not just BlackBerry' and these announcements today are the continuation of that. They were foretold, we just didn't know how they would be rolled out. We now know.
BlackBerry got blasted in the media for waiting too long to take BBM cross-platform, it seems they're not making that mistake again and if their software and services can make them money elsewhere, then it makes sense to do so. Selling to BlackBerry customers alone isn't enough and we all know there's plenty of Android, iOS and Windows devices out there. If Chen can make money there, he's going to do it, logically.