Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins said the company's BlackBerry 10 platform will soon be ready for licensing by other manufacturers, and he touted machine-to-machine applications as another avenue where the software could be used.
Heins said the software is going through the final stages of testing and RIM is now thinking of which companies might license it. RIM plans to release its first BlackBerry 10 smartphones in the first quarter of next year. However, Heins has been more open recently about licensing the software as a way to lift RIM's prospects.
BlackBerry 10 is based on QNX architecture, which RIM bought in 2010 for $200 million. The QNX system, which also powers nuclear power plants and cars, also is the software behind RIM's PlayBook tablet.
"QNX is already licensed across the automotive sector--we could do that with BB10 if we chose to," Heins, who has begun to carry a BlackBerry 10 phone for his own use, said in an interview with Bloomberg. "The platform can be licensed."
Samsung Electronics has openly denied any interest in licensing the software, despite persistent rumors that it will do so. While Samsung, the world's largest handset vendor, has found plenty of favor in the market with its Google Android smartphones, it also uses Microsoft's Windows Phone and its own bada platform.
"Smartphones are a part of our business, but we're looking way beyond this," Heins said. In a separate interview with CNET, Heins said that companies in the healthcare and smart grid markets have already expressed interest in BlackBerry 10, though he did not name any specific firms.
The RIM chief also told CNET that one of the "strategic options" the company is considering is opening its proprietary BlackBerry network to other industries. Currently, the network is used to ferry BlackBerry data traffic and secure communications.