RIM's QNX unit shifts into gear

 

Email to your Z4 Roadster.

QNX Software, the system Research In Motion will use to power its PlayBook tablet and future BlackBerry smartphones, may outshine its parent this week as it touts vehicles with the productivity of an office.

QNX is pursuing a long-standing passion for cars even as it draws attention over whether its presence under the PlayBook's hood improves RIM's chances versus Apple's iPad and a slew of contenders vying for attention at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

It is making a play for the connected car -- and a particularly high-end car at that -- offering email direct to the in-dash display of the 2011 Z4 Roadster from BMW.

For safety, you cannot cleanse your inbox by yourself as you drive; instead the system reads them to you. When stationary, more functions are allowed.

"The content of the electronics in vehicles are growing at such an exponential rate," said Andrew Poliak, head of business development for automotive applications at QNX, which RIM bought from Harman International. "The quantity of software we are putting in the car is increasing dramatically."

QNX, whose software underpins systems in more than 200 vehicle models from the likes of Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, is eager to push up the food chain from a pure operating system provider.

"We are providing more of those upper layers of the front-end, using Flash or HTML5," and offering a media player, Poliak said, stressing that carmakers still had plenty of room to set themselves apart.

BMW, which has a long history of working with QNX, will be demonstrating the upgrade to its in-car system at the desert gizmo show.

In the more affordable price range, Toyota unveiled its QNX-powered Entune system, which links a car-owner's mobile phone to their dashboard display.

Automakers, recovering from a slump, are eager to cram the latest consumer gadgetry into their vehicles to lure drivers addicted to Twitter feeds, Facebook status updates or in need of a map or a review and directions to nearby restaurants.

Tablet supremacy

RIM bought QNX in a deal completed in April. Almost a year later it is about to step into a raging battle for smartphone and tablet operating system supremacy.

To one side sits Apple's iOS on the iPhone and iPad, a sleek interface aided by the iTunes platform for buying, renting and organising media files.

On the other sits Google's Android system, offered free to device makers, many of whom jumped eagerly into its arms.

QNX's lineage, which RIM's boasts is a strength, causes some concern for analyst Shaw Wu at Kaufman Bros, who has engaged in a dual with RIM in the last week over his charge the PlayBook battery is sub-par.

"From my understanding they are furiously working on fixing these problems," Wu said. "It's not going to be easy because they are using an OS that wasn't designed for mobile."

While loathe to comment directly on the concerns on the PlayBook's battery life, Poliak said QNX's strength was an ability to scale up or down depending on need.

"We have systems running full infotainment systems on very low-end ARM 9 processors," he said, noting that QNX took steps to ensure its systems running in electric cars such as GM's Chevrolet Volt did not drain precious resources that would limit the driving range of the vehicle.

"When you go to an electric vehicle, the dynamics change dramatically because every ounce of current drain is effectively range," he said.

Poliak said QNX expects to announce its presence in two more electric vehicle platforms from major suppliers in 2011.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)


RIM's QNX unit shifts into gear
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1461

Vote