Lately we have seen a lot of discussion regarding Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF) focusing on health apps. It’s rumored that the next iPhone that will run on iOS 8, Apple will include Healthbook – an app focused on monitoring and recording health-related issues of its users. Even the Korean smartphone major is working on S-Health. However, these two may not be the only players stressing on health. BlackBerry’s (BBRY) latest announcement clearly suggests that the company is thinking about stepping into the area.
BlackBerry’s Acquisition of NantHealth
The Canadian giant announced on Tuesday that it has acquired a minority stake in NantHealth, a California-based privately owned healthcare IT firm and this has created a lot of ripples in the market. Industry experts are of the opinion that even BlackBerry is stressing on healthcare. Well, there is nothing to be shocked about this. John Chen, the new mind behind the company, sees health care as a highly lucrative and under-tapped market and believes the company has an advantage in the field since it’s an expert in security and privacy that patients and health care organizations stress upon.
How NantHealth Fits in to BlackBerry’s Goal?
NantHealth is owned by Patrick Soon-Shiong and is a part of his IT development company NantWorks. After this acquisition BlackBerry and Soon-Shiong will be working closely to develop a new smartphone that will address to the needs of the healthcare sector. The vision is to manufacture a device capable of viewing 3D images and CT scans along with the usual features that one can expect in a smartphone.
BlackBerry has lost its hold on the consumer electronics market to more agile players. Now it’s shifting its focus from hardware to software and it wants to cater to those segments that are in need of its competencies – security and privacy, health care being one such. Both the companies will work towards finding ways to connect medical equipments with servers and smartphones used by doctors.
The company expects to deliver the smartphone by the end of the year of by early 2015 and will be offering two never before see features – NantHealth Clinical Operating System (cOS) and NantMobile iD Browser. While cOS will enhance and improve access to patient’s health data, iD browser will provide a way to scan and search for ids of things. Several are of the opinion that the combination of these two features will create all the difference.
BlackBerry is utterly serious about venturing into the health care sector and its acquisition of minority stake in NantHealth demonstrates that. The edge that the company enjoys over other phone makers is its expertise in security and privacy and perhaps this is the sole reason for this successful partnership. John Chen’s actions are speaking louder than words. He surely seems to be confident of his actions and even I believe his decision to enter the health care space is logical. Let’s keep a close watch on the company and see how John steers things for BlackBerry’s benefit.