After driverless cars, Blackberry aims at trucks to reach profit

Blackberry Ltd. is trying to reinvent itself — and its newest gambit to generate new revenue streams is a tracking system for the logistics industry.

The Canadian company Thursday unveiled Blackberry Radar, a tracking system for trucking companies and fleet operators. Using an “Internet of things” platform, Radar’s goal is to enable such customers to improve containers and trailers’ utilization and delivery times, among other uses.

The system is the latest effort by Blackberry BBRY, +1.00% a forerunner in mobile e-mail smartphones, to profit from the expected growth in wireless-network connectivity in consumer and industrial products.

The Radar trucking system follows Blackberry’s February unveiling of cybersecurity services and the January unveiling of driverless-car software, including vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology and software that combines data from cameras, radar and other services to help driverless cars avoid accidents and navigate safely.

Blackberry is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings on Friday. Analysts polled by FactSet expect the company to report adjusted losses of 13 cents a share, which would compare with earnings of 5 cents a share in the year-ago period. Sales are seen hitting $787 million, up from $764 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note earlier this week they expect weaker sales and continued losses for Blackberry partly on disappointing software revenue given “intense competition” in mobility management and weakness in the financial services arena.

Blackberry’s bread-and-butter hardware business is expected to “stabilize temporarily” with the launching of the Priv, BlackBerry’s first Android phone, “which likely foreshadows that it will end its own OS development in favor of Android,” the Goldman analysts said. “However, we don’t see the company succeeding in reaching sustainable profitability in hardware given it is a niche player in Android.”

Shares of Blackberry have lost more than 18% so far this year, and 7.4% in the past 12 months. That compares with gains of 1% for the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.20%  this year and a flat results for the index in the past 12 months.

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