Category: Gadgets

BlackBerry licensing agreement formed with TCL Communications

The company no longer manufactures its own smartphones but it is selling its name for branded devices.

TCL Communications entered into a BlackBerry licensing agreement to create and manufacture branded mobile devices. BlackBerry CEO John Chen recently said “BlackBerry is no longer just about the smartphone, but the smart in the phone.”

The goal is to continue the production of branded devices in the market without making them, themselves.

Chen assured customers that “when you see our logo it means security, from our class-leading enterprise software to devices secured by BlackBerry software.”

BlackBerry Licensing Agreement - Business PartnershipThis is not the first time BlackBerry has worked with TCL Communications. In fact, it released two different Android-based smartphones in a partnership with that company. The DTEK 50 and DTEK 60 are both devices resulting from collaborations between the two firms. TCL Communications also manufactures Alcatel-branded smartphones.

The long-term BlackBerry licensing agreement is only the latest in that company’s turnaround strategy.

The partnership is a way for BlackBerry to place some distance between itself and handset manufacturing. The company can turn its focus toward growth as a security software and services company. As a part of this agreement TCL Communications will not only design, manufacture and sell BlackBerry-branded devices. It will also provide customer support for the products they sell.

BlackBerry COO and general manager of mobility solutions, Ralph Pini, said this partnership with TCL Communication is a core move in their strategy. It lets the company put “the ‘smart in the phone’ by providing state-of-the-art security and device software on a platform that mobile users prefer and are comfortable with.”

According to recent media reports, the DTEK 70 will be the next smartphone launched with the BlackBerry licensing brand agreement. This mobile device will be based on Android – as have been the last few models – and will have a fingerprint sensor. That feature will be uniquely positioned in the spacebar of the distinctive physical keyboard. It will have a 2.0 GHz Qualcomm processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a 4.5 inch display. The rear-facing camera will be 18 megapixels and the front-facing camera will be 8 megapixels.

Police augmented reality program under development

A new strategy could have law enforcement personnel in the Netherlands wearing high tech devices.

Law enforcement in the Netherlands are looking to a new high tech police augmented reality system to help them to fight crime. The Dutch national police has been collaborating with several other organizations in this effort. It may mean that they one day use the Microsoft Hololens during a regular day.

The Dutch police have identified a string of different ways in which augmented reality could help them.

The police augmented reality project is the result of a collaboration among the national police force, the national fire brigade, the Dutch Forensic Institute, Delft University of Technology, and Twnkls, an AR development firm.

Police Augmented Reality - Police CarChief Inspector Rob Kouwenhoven spoke in an interview with a Dutch newspaper explaining that there are many scenarios in which augmented reality technology could be very helpful.

The police augmented reality technology is still in somewhat of a prototype phase as it is tested.

At the moment, the AR tech being tested out involves the use of a smartphone camera attached to the shoulder of the user. It also requires another device to be strapped to the wrist. That gadget can be used for taking notes about a crime scene or for marking evidence.

The national police force is currently looking into whether or not it will be possible to test the Hololens augmented reality device. That Microsoft gadget may be able to provide an overlay of relevant information to wearers conducting a forensic investigation. This has the potential to simplify the investigation process and bring a crime’s various puzzle pieces together.

Kouwenhover pointed out that this AR tech could also be helpful within the courtroom. It could be used to reconstruct the scene of a crime in a much clearer and more visual way. At the moment, this effort requires a physical reenactment of the event in combination with a great deal of paperwork.

By using police augmented reality, a judge would be able to more clearly and realistically see what happened during the event. It could include the display of pieces of evidence and illustrated with digital animations and annotations overlaid on top of the crime scene imagery. Should things go as planned, the tech could be launched for police use in 5 years.