Blackberry QNX software to take over Ford contract

Infotainment system displaying media player; QNX technology concept car based on a Mercedes CLA45 AMG. COURTESY QNX SOFTWARE SYSTEMS Infotainment system displaying media player; QNX technology concept car based on a Mercedes CLA45 AMG. COURTESY QNX SOFTWARE SYSTEMS

Aabida Dhanji
Biz/Tech Reporter

Embattled BlackBerry is now on the road, in every Ford vehicle.

The Kitchener-Waterloo firm’s QNX software for navigation and other functions has become popular in the automotive industry. Ford recently signed a deal with BlackBerry to use it in their vehicles, replacing the Microsoft software used in the past.

QNX is a leader in software platforms for electronics in vehicles, said Paul Leroux, PR manager for BlackBerry’s subsidiary, QNX Software Systems. It’s currently used in Acura, Audi, BMW, and more.

“QNX Software Systems supplies operating systems, software development tools, and software engineering services to manufacturers building a massive range of connected embedded systems,” said Leroux.

The technology is flexible and allows the automotive industry to build a broad variety of systems and capabilities on a common software platform that can be readily installed and customized across multiple vehicle lines, he said.

“Automakers use QNX software technology in a wide variety of in-car systems, including 3D navigation systems, multimedia head units, digital instrument clusters, telematics systems, and hands-free systems,” said Leroux.

BlackBerry stated in a news release from 2010 it obtained the Ottawa-based QNX Software Systems that year.

In the same release, then-president Mike lazaridis said that Blackberry believed that the acquision of QNX would add “valuable intellectual property” to RIM’s portfolio.

These beliefs seem to have paid off with the incorporation of QNX into so many automotive companies.

“In some regards, the vehicle on board infotainment system is the next battle ground in the mobile platform war between Google, Apple, Microsoft and Blackberry (QNX platform),” said Humber program coordinator of multimedia design and development, George Paravantes.

An advancement in BlackBerry could help launch and grow the mobile industry in Canada in both hardware and software innovations, said Paravantes.

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