What is BlackBerry Drive?

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)—maker of the BlackBerry line of smartphones—filed a patent this month for something called a “BlackBerry Drive” and the rumor mill has already begun revving its engine. We mentioned earlier this month how RIM acquired a developer of software for car systems, called QNX Software Systems. And we already quoted Co-CEO of RIM, Mike Lazaridis saying, “RIM is excited about the planned acquisition of QNX Software Systems and we look forward to ongoing collaboration between Harman, QNX and RIM to further integrate and enhance the user experience between smartphones and in-vehicle audio and infotainment systems.”

So where does all of this leave us? Well, the patent application does say “IDENTIFICATION: Key fobs; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; small items of metal hardware; goods of common metal not included in other classes.” (Key fobs include but are not limited to those little remote entry thingies that we dangle from our key chains for those unfamiliar with the term—me included.) However, according to CIO.com there are already third-party solutions that allow your BlackBerry to unlock your doors, start your car, and open your trunk.

RIM might be thinking of this little key fob device as simply a part of its larger package of eventual BlackBerry devices for your car. Alternatively, RIM could be just filing every possible patent imaginable for potential devices. This seems to be a favorite pastime for technology firms—Silicon Valley’s version of Baseball if you will. Then after another company makes something that the patent holder had no plans on ever developing, the lawsuits fly and someone has to settle or pay royalties. Having a large portfolio of patents also gives rival companies leverage against each other. An example: company A might be possibly infringing a vague patent held by company B, but company B ignores its potential claim because company A holds an equally vague patent that company B might be violating. Convoluted? Very.

Until more information is released or leaked, all we will have is speculation. Could the 8.9” screens RIM ordered from supplier Hon Hai not be for their upcoming tablet and instead for your car? No idea yet. However, it is safe to assume that RIM has plans for your car. Whether or not they will revolutionize things is still to be determined.

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