As a BlackBerry user you have been probably hearing about QNX since RIM first announced it would be powering the PlayBook OS. QNX, as described by Alec Saunders of Calliflower.com, “runs the high-speed TGV trains in France, the space arm on the shuttle, manufacturing plants around the world, automotive systems from dozens of manufacturers, and soon, I’m betting, your phone.” That was back in April of 2010 just after it was announced that Harman International had agreed to sell their QNX Software Systems division to Research in Motion.
Harman originally acquired QNX to further their pursuit of automobile software and Mike Lazaridis confirmed in a press release that RIM would also “further integrate and enhance the user experience between smartphones and in-vehicle audio and infotainment systems.” We know now that this was not RIM’s #1 priority. Lazaridis also said in the same press release, “QNX will also bring other value to RIM in terms of supporting certain unannounced product plans for intelligent peripherals.” That’s right. That certain unannounced intelligent peripheral is the PlayBook.
Saunders was skeptical from the start about RIM jumping into the automobile industry. He thought the primary reason for the acquisition was for RIM to upgrade their aging OS to compete with Apple and Android. He was right. The future for RIM at this point looks much brighter than it did last year at this time. BlackBerry OS 7 was hinted about at RIM’s developer conference in September of 2010 but has no release date. It is likely a year or 2 away and Mike Lazaridis has been on record saying it is waiting for multicore mobile processors. This will be close to a full switch from the original BlackBerry OS to QNX sweetness. Eventually QNX alone will likely run all of RIM’s devices with possible software emulation to continue to run BlackBerry apps that some couldn’t live without. This means more stability, power, and multimedia capabilities. Three things that current RIM devices fall short on. Watch out Apple and Android! Here comes QNX.