During BlackBerry’s last earnings report, they mentioned something that seemed to have gone unnoticed by many. While most people were focusing revenue and device sales, some did hear Chen say they were going to license some of their phone tech to other device makers. But it seems nobody noticed that he mentioned the Paratek antenna as one of the tech BlackBerry will be licensing. That’s too bad, because licensing out their Paratek antenna technology could be a big money maker for BlackBerry.
Paratek’s antenna technology ( more accurately referred to as radio-frequency front-end components for cellphones ) basically gives your device better reception and allows your device to use less power. BlackBerry has always believed that devices should have great communications abilities, which includes excellent reception. And it showed. BlackBerry devices usually had the best reception. Even former BlackBerry users who now love iOS or Android have admitted that their old BlackBerrys had better reception. But that wasn’t enough for BlackBerry. So, in 2012 BlackBerry bought Paratek. The first BlackBerry to sport the Paratek antenna was the superb Z30, which had fantastic reception and battery life.
And that’s really important for IoT devices. IoT makers are always trying to make their devices as tiny as possible. The problem with that is that tiny antennas don’t have as good reception as big antennas. And if a device has to keep resending data because the reception isn’t good, then it’s going to drain its battery quickly, which is also a problem with tiny IoT devices because they obviously have tiny batteries too. And that’s where BlackBerry’s Paratek antenna technology can save the day. It improves those two big issues with tiny devices.
We don’t know how many devices would use Paratek. Research group Gartner Inc. estimates that there will be 26 billion IoT devices installed by 2020. And that excludes PCs, tablets and smartphones. Even if only a small portion of those devices license Paratek from BlackBerry, it would still work out to a lot of money. And the profit margin would be huge. Lots of money + super high margin = cash cow.
BlackBerry hasn’t said much about their patent licensing efforts so far, but from what they’ve said so far, it appears it’s progressing. So it looks to me like there’s a good chance their Paratek antenna technology can be a big money maker for them in the future.