The Canadian firm is continuing to move away from its hardware past
BlackBerry has signed an agreement with Ford to extend the use of its QNX platform and security software into the US car giant’s vehicles.
QNX has long been a software platform that acts as the base operating system for the user interfaces of many infotainment, navigation and telematics systems found in modern cars, and has been a successful source of revenue for BlackBerry, shoring up the company against some of its failures in the smartphone market.
The new agreement with Ford sees BlackBerry take another stride towards becoming a software vendor as it leaves its hardware root behind.
BlackBerry on the road
“The future of the automobile is all about embedded intelligence. I believe our expertise in secure embedded software makes us the preferred technology provider to put the smart in the car,” said John Chen, executive chairman and CEO at BlackBerry, who amid the normal corporate bluster that accompanies such announcements, effectively enshrined QNX as a major part of BlackBerry’s software strategy.
Given the QNX platform has been certified for use in autonomous driving and automated safety systems and Ford is exploring the use of such technology, the extended agreement with the car maker could see BlackBerry find new avenues down which its QNX software can travel.
The new agreement will also see BlackBerry set up a team of dedicated QNX engineers to work with Ford on extending the use of the QNX Neutrino Operating System, Certicom security technology, QNX hypervisor and QNX audio processing software in the US automotive giant’s cars. How this will be done and further terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
However, given QNX forms a core part of Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, it is likely BlackBerry’s software will find its way into successive in-car information and entertainment units and systems Ford puts into its mass-produced cars.
While BlackBerry may be pursuing a software-focused strategy, it seems to be unable to let go of its smartphone heritage completely with the release of the Android-powered BlackBerry DTEK60.
However, the smartphone is manufactured by TCL so serves more as a showcase for BlackBerry’s security software in combination with the Android mobile operating system.