In April of 2010, RIM (RIMM) purchased a Company called QNX from Harmen International (HAR). This acquisition may well indeed prove to be the single most important transaction that RIM has ever made. RIM is betting the farm on its next generation OS called BB10 and QNX plays a key role in its success.
- The QNX RTOS (Real Time Operating System) is unique in that the architecture is based on "Micro kernel " vs "Macro kernel". This allows the base architecture of the system to be more agile and adaptable to the ever changing mobile smartphone platform.
- QNX enables the use of Flash and HTML5 capabilities which will be key components to the BB10 OS.
- QNX software is used in embedded systems all around us. Car CPU's and infotainment applications,medical devices, nuclear reactors, parking meters, credit card machines and ticket booths. QNX CEO Dan Dodge says that "QNX is used where the cost of failure is really high".
- QNX was recently named an International CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for its CAR2 Platform making QNX the go to name for automotive telemetric and infotainment systems.
- QNX recently outfitted a Jeep Wrangler with its CAR2 platform to show off the capabilities. The ability to configure the LED dashboard look,hands free social networking like sending Facebook (FB) updates via your in-vehicle system are some of the key highlights.
The QNX Edge
As the mobile smartphone platform transforms over the next decade into a "Mobile Computing" environment QNX has given RIM an edge over competitors like Apple's (AAPL) iOS ,Google's (GOOG) Android and Windows (MSFT) WP8 in that it is already firmly embedded all around us in our daily lives. The use of smartphones is still relatively in its infancy and we are rapidly moving beyond the basics of fart apps and games into the realm of more mature applications like M2M (Machine to Machine) connectivity, Mobile Wallet and the overall integration and connectivity of smart devices all around us.
M2M- Using your mobile device to communicate with robots and other smart devices on the shop floors throughout Industry.
Mobile Wallet- Financial transactions using our mobile smartphones rather than a Visa or Debit card will be standard practice in the next 5 years.
In Vehicle Connectivity- Communicating with and controlling our in vehicle systems with our mobile devices is where we are headed. Imagine your car sending you (or your mechanic) a diagnostic analysis ahead of your scheduled tune up. The ability to "customize" the dashboard in whatever theme fits your personality and the ability to make use of 3rd party applications are all possible with the QNX CAR2 platform.
RIM and QNX have a solid reputation for delivering on security and reliability. As the mobile and real world draw ever more closer and become entwined,security will become a pillar of any mobile platform. Malware,Spyware and other malicious applications simply will not be tolerated in a world where our personal and corporate data can be so susceptible. Android , although currently the market share leader in the segment has recently been voted the most Malware riddled OS on the market.
Mobile and Cloud based platforms have become the new hunting grounds for cyber criminals in 2013. Criminals have always gone where the money is and the mobile world is no exception to this.
Microsoft's latest entry into the mobile platform, WP8 has already shown a major crack in its security,one that was discovered by a 16 year old Indian boy. This type of performance simply will not be tolerated by consumers or corporate IT managers.
RIM has an opportunity to capitalize on its core strengths and reputation as a hardened and secure OS to lead the way in the next phase of Mobile Computing. Its main focus today and in the coming weeks is to successfully launch its BB10 OS which will allow it to move ahead with its comeback strategy.
After that, the possibilities are endless.....
Disclosure: I am long RIMM.