Blackberry to Invest in D.C. Innovation Center


Blackberry maker of one of the earliest smartphone models, and the one most iconic to public sector workers announced today that it will be investing in a security innovation center in the Washington, D.C. area. The announcement was made at CES Government, part of the Consumer Electronics Show currently underway in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The company said the investment reaffirmed its commitment to work closely with government partners to encourage ongoing dialogue aimed at making better products and policy for the public and private sectors. BlackBerry CEO John Chen highlighted the news during a speech at CES Government, where he focused his remarks on the importance of mobile security.

Details on the investment were thin, although Blackberry devices are widely adopted throughout government and defense sectors. Chen is new to the company taking over in November and announcing that it would refocus on corporate and government growth. Blackberry has had a harder time enticing general consumers in the era of iPhone and Android, but public sector device programs have been reluctant to migrate away from Blackberry which is believed to be more secure.

Yesterday the company also announced it was suing Typo a startup backed by TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest for offering a clip on tactile keyboard that makes iPhone’s look and work like a Blackberry. Typo has said it will defend itself vigorously against the claim.

Blackberry says it plans to release more details on the innovation center in the coming weeks. Mobile security is at the forefront of technology discussions happening up and down the chain in public sector as threats to sensitive information continue to grow. Efforts to build out the FirstNet communications network for first responders have also increased the focus on mobile and wireless security.

“We are committed to working with government and industry experts to solve some of the biggest challenges we face in securing mobile communication. The Washington, D.C.-based security innovation center will be focused on creating lasting partnerships that will encourage ongoing dialogue aimed at making better products and policy,” said Chen during his speech at CESG.