BlackBerry’s QNX: Why it’s so valuable to Apple, Google, the auto industry and more?


(March 11, 2014, written by Larry Dignan, Editor in Chief of ZDNet, SmartPlanet and Editor in Chief of Tech Republic)

This article appeared a few months back on ZDNet’s site, but in light of John Chen’s comments on QNX, worth re-posting, not to mention a great layman introduction on how QNX is being used within the automotive industry.

What did John Chen say about QNX?

QNX is probably one of the crown jewels. Every time I come here, our partners call me and customers call me that really want to work with us on QNX…The plan is to invest in this and grow. The plan is to go by other vertical because we are doing very well in automotive vertical, we are going to continue to focus on that, but we’re going to start looking in adjacent verticals to expand the business. In addition to that, we’re going to build a platform that are cloud based, that is going to be machine-to-machine based architecture.

Add to this BlackBerry’s recent investment in NantHealth and we are beginning to see how Chen plans to put this Crown Jewel to good use.  But back to automotive….  With the introduction of iOS 7, Apple announced CarPlay, an in-vehicle automotive entertainment system that will likely replicate the ‘iOS Experience’. So where does QNX fit into this?

Apple’s CarPlay has to ride on top of BlackBerry’s QNX platform for in-auto entertainment systems. Ford was reportedly pondering a swap from Microsoft to QNX to for its Sync platform. And it’s highly likely that the front end of Google’s Android in-vehicle efforts are also going to have a QNX play.

QNX has developed its own native infotainment system, but like the forthcoming BES 12 (which will manage all platforms on mobile) Chen and Co. are clearly looking for a bigger slice of the pie.  And Dignan is very upbeat on QNX’s prospects looking ahead:

Rest assured QNX will stick around and even thrive. Why? QNX is the Switzerland that the auto industry needs to preserve margins, deliver value added services, customize the experience and keep smartphone players from dominating…If that Switzerland role can be cultivated in other verticals such as appliances (where Android wants to be everywhere) and medical devices, QNX may indeed by BlackBerry’s crown jewel.

Well spotted Larry.  Chen is clearly on the same page with the NantHealth announcement.

Read the article in full here and then jump over to the forums and discuss the possibilities.