QNX is a Research In Motion (RIMM) subsidiary that is not known to most people. QNX provides Middleware, development tools, real-time operating system software and services for embedded design.
QNX-controlled systems are incorporated in cars, television sets, air traffic control systems, surgical equipment, nuclear power plants and in everything from dash radios and infotainment systems to casino gaming terminals. Customers include Delphi, General Electric (GE), Siemens (SI), Audi, BMW and many others (partial list here). Needless to say that this RIM subsidiary helped a lot in developing the software that will run the new line of BB10 phones.
At CES 2013, the company demoed its new Car platform 2.0 in a Bentley Continental GT, and showed off some unique and impressive features of its new interface that will probably show up in new cars very soon.
If you want to be impressed, please have a look at the video below:
(click to play video)The car is equipped with a 17-inch curved 1080p display that uses Texas Instruments (TXN) DLP technology to support 512 point multi-touch. Thanks to this technology, the display can track a finger before it touches the screen and offer various functions depending on what mode the system is in. The platform is one of the first products to use Texas Instruments OMAP 5 processor. The system also features always-on 4G LTE mobile broadband connectivity that enables for continuous data connection even when traveling at highway speeds.
QNX has developed a cross-platform web-based HTML5 app that lets users control car functions like opening and closing windows, starting the car, and monitoring vehicle diagnostics via their smartphone.
Car platform 2.0 is currently shipping to car manufacturers now. Car manufacturers can also customize the user interface and features they put in their vehicles, so it is unlikely that any one car manufacturer will use all of the features of this package.
How does all this fit into RIM's stock? Well I have a pretty good imagination and I can imagine car makers who want to deploy this platform in their vehicles to pay some kind of a fee to RIM. I don't see $10-20 per car as being a big thing. And if I were to buy a Porsche, I wouldn't mind paying several hundred dollars extra to have the QNX digital dashboard (see video here) installed.
And since everything today is about the ecosystem, can you imagine a car ecosystem? While QNX has designed the platform to work with all handsets, I imagine there might be several options that would only work with a BB10 handset device.
Or how about a tablet dock in the car, where instead of the car having a screen built in, everyone uses their 7 inch tablet to customize the car interface according to their own liking. Or how about running a car diagnostic via your tablet? The possibilities are endless.
I see QNX as an ace in RIM's pocket. What might come out of all this technology is hard to tell, but QNX defiantly has the potential for great things.
As per the big jump that RIM's stock made on Friday, I think it was a technical reaction more than anything else, because I couldn't find any news worthy of such a move.
If we look at the chart above, my proprietary volume indicator was giving us clues of a move a few days now. I imagine short sellers covering positions also helped. Resistance is close to $15 and if the stock tackles that I will have a further technical update in a future article.
As a reminder, I am quite bullish on RIM (all my RIM logic here) and it is one of the many stocks that I have identified that can, under certain conditions, provide investors with extraordinary returns if they are willing to undertake a little extra risk.