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BlackBerry Enters Healthcare via NantHealth

Zacks Equity Research

In an attempt to make a turnaround in its business, Canadian handset manufacturer BlackBerry Limited (BBRY) has invested in a privately held healthcare IT firm NantHealth. However, the financial details of the deal were not disclosed by the company.

BlackBerry is now working with NantHealth to manufacture a smartphone that caters to the needs of the healthcare sector. The smartphone is expected to be launched by the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.

This device will help doctors access immediate information about patients’ health from observing equipment. Doctors can also share patient information with other medical professionals and consult diagnostic and treatment resources of the top global institutions.  

CA-based NantHealth’s cloud-based platform has already been installed in nearly 250 hospitals and connects over 16,000 medical devices. The platform also helps in collecting more than 3 billion important signs annually.

BlackBerry was once a leader in the smartphone industry. However, in the last few years, the company’s handset business has deteriorated drastically due to stiff competition from Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone and Google Inc.’(GOOG)-developed  Android devices. Thus, to counter such cut-throat competition, BlackBerry is gradually shifting focus from its handset business to enterprise services. Also, the company’s decision to invest in IT firm NantHealth reflects the shift in focus.

Recently, BlackBerry reported mixed financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. The bottom line significantly surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but the top line missed. The improvement was mainly buoyed by recovery of inventory charges and continuous reduction in operating expenses.

BlackBerry currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). SK Telecom Co. Ltd. (SKM), with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is a better-ranked stock in the wireless industry that is worth considering.

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