One of the biggest trends right now in consumer tech and mobile devices is wearables. Whether it’s The Quantified Self or a means of better interacting with your devices, wearables is one of the hottest items in consumer tech right now. But where does BlackBerry fit in? iOS and Android both have very crucial roles in wearables, as most of these devices are integrated into both platforms. BlackBerry seems to be going full enterprise, but one can’t help but notice there is a lot of opportunity for BlackBerry in wearables, but with nothing really going on.
When BlackBerry acquired QNX, it opened the doors to an operating system that is versatile and could potentially open a lot of doors to new verticals for BlackBerry. The company took advantage of this opportunity by getting into the automotive sector and tablets. With QNX, one would hope to see BlackBerry be able to quickly get into the wearable tech sector, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at least as of yet.
When you look at the biggest players in wearable tech, BlackBerry is nowhere to be seen. The reason wearables aren’t getting into BlackBerry is probably the same reason a lot of startups aren’t launching their apps on BlackBerry. While the development barrier has been reduced with BlackBerry 10, the fact that the user numbers aren’t there makes it difficult to justify the cost of launching with BlackBerry.
Here are some of the top products in wearable tech, and you’ll notice there’s not much going on with BlackBerry.
Zepp will improve your swing whether it be baseball, golf or tennis. The Zepp tracking tag goes on your club, bat or racket and comes with an Android or iOS app.
The Nike FuelBand tracks your movements and allows you to get involved in the Quantified Self. It’s a great fitness tracking tool and currently only available for iOS (although there is a laptop/desktop component).
The Jawbone Up is another fitness tracking device and app combo that is available for iOS and Android. It has garnered quite a bit of attention lately with its redesigned app.
Thalmic Labs’ Myo is an armband that has a lot of potential for gesture technology. The company has a developer kit out but the product hasn’t shipped yet. Since it’s a Waterloo company, hopefully there will be some BlackBerry love and we’ll see some interesting integration.
The Pebble is actually one of the only devices we can see that has any form of BlackBerry support, and it’s through a 3rd party developer and an app called Talk2Watch. Download Talk2Watch at this link for your BlackBerry 10 device.
So how does BlackBerry reverse this trend? If a wearable technology has an API that any developer can plug in to, it would be smart to start organizing hackathons and giving prize money to developers that can create great BlackBerry apps for these devices. The manufacturers of these devices usually have a lot of investment money to throw at growing a developer ecosystem, and there’s probably a lot to mutually gain. The more obvious answer though is to just grow the subscriber base and take an “if you build it they will come” mentality.
On the other hand, maybe BlackBerry doesn’t care about wearable or consumer tech in general. It’s very possible that the new corporate strategy is enterprise-only.