BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup to Collaborate on Specific New Smartphone

BlackBerry today announced it has acquired a minority stake in privately held health care IT firm NantHealth, which is based in California.

The two companies will collaborate on a new smartphone tailored for the healthcare sector.

Quoth The Wall Street Journal:

BlackBerry declined to provide specifics about the phone, other than that it will have features tailored to the health-care sector but will also be available to consumers, and that it should launch in late 2014 or early 2015. Additional details about the partnership “are still being developed,” the company said in a statement.

“BlackBerry’s capabilities align closely with NantHealth’s and this investment represents the type of forward-looking opportunities that are vital to our future,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a statement.

“BlackBerry’s expertise is incredibly valuable to NantHealth as we expand our platform and make it available for wider deployment through a secure mobile device,” said Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, NantHealth’s founder. “The future of the healthcare industry requires the ability to share information securely and quickly, whether device-to-device or doctor-to-doctor anywhere and at any time.”

“The potential to integrate BlackBerry’s secure mobile communications, along with the company’s QNX embedded technology, will put the power of a supercomputer in the palm of the caregiver’s hand,” added Soon-Shiong. “Providing actionable information at the time of need will significantly improve the efficiency of healthcare and, more importantly, the efficacy of care for the patient.”

Terms of the investment weren’t disclosed.