Something interesting happened this week. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) has dethroned Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world’s most valuable company by market cap. This is the first time that Alphabet has been worth more than Apple since 2010, a time that pre-dates the iPad.
Why is this important?
Apple has been king of the hill for quite a while now, and for good reason. The devices the company has released are, for the most part, described as immaculate pieces of art. The software is, again, for the most part, what reviewers have come to love and call buttery-smooth.
The company has also set the stage in terms of leading the industry in the adoption of different technology, from touchscreens to tablets, fingerprint readers, and more recently, to wearable technology. Apple didn’t invent any of these technologies; they merely implemented and sold to the public its version of these technologies.
When you’re the biggest company on the planet, what you accept, adopt, or change will likely trickle down to other companies as the best practices. This is what makes Alphabet’s takeover as the world’s most valuable company so significant. Alphabet doesn’t have the walled garden and strict controls that Apple has.
With Alphabet now taking the reins from Apple, Android development can only accelerate into new realms that Apple was either reluctant or slow moving to get to.
The BlackBerry connection
The newcomer to the list of companies adopting Android OS handsets is BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY). After disappointing adoption rates for the company’s secure BB10 platform, the company launched the Android-powered Priv device late last year to positive reviews.
The Priv was BlackBerry’s answer (or at least the start of it) to Android’s well-documented security woes. Included with the device were a number of BlackBerry-specific applications that were geared to enhance both the security and productivity of the user.
BlackBerry needed a Hail Mary from the Priv and, judging by the response, it was successful.
The device is a modern, fresh take on the typical Android slab the market has been littered with. The components of the device are both high quality and relevant in terms of technology, which was always a concern in prior devices. And finally, BlackBerry has pledged to patch the Android software on the device through monthly updates, which the company has adhered to–the latest of which dropped earlier this week to devices as an update.
BlackBerry has several more Android devices slated to launch in 2016, solidifying the transition to Android as being not just a one-time event, but a colossal shift in strategy for the company.
What does this mean? BlackBerry has basically found its niche as an Android professional.
Alphabet is well known to branch out into other projects. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a trillion dollar industry of inter-connected devices. Alphabet and a host of other companies are actively pursuing this vision.
This is welcome news to BlackBerry, which is an IoT leader. The company’s QNX system is already used in a majority of vehicle infotainment systems, and BlackBerry already has the global infrastructure to handle communications between devices securely.
Given the company’s focus on and experience in security, BlackBerry’s emergence as a premium Android partner with IoT integration is not as far-fetched a concept as it would have been just a few months ago.
BlackBerry’s patching of Android and its strong position in the IoT market suggests that not only will BlackBerry survive the transition in becoming a premium Android-device manufacturer, but it will be a leader in the IoT market. The long-term growth potential for BlackBerry in this new niche should not be underestimated.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.
Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. Tom Gardner owns shares of Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple.