Ford Drops Microsoft And Opts For BlackBerry’s QNX

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BlackBerry’s QNX division receives a boost following reports Ford is to use it instead of Microsoft in its cars

Beleaguered BlackBerry has finally received some good news after it was reported that car maker Ford is to use QNX software in its Sync factory-installed, integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system

According to Bloomberg, Ford will stop using Windows Embedded Automotive OS for Snyc, amid suggestions that Ford has not been happy with some of the problems (such as poor voice recognition) with its current Sync system, which has received a lot of negative press recently.

Cost Issue?

3D graphic car CAD CAE HPC © Verticalarray ShutterstockTherefore Ford has opted to utilise the more open QNX software from BlackBerry, and according to people briefed on the matter, the decision will also be cheaper in the long run for the world’s fifth largest car maker, because it will not have to licence Microsoft technology any longer. Using QNX will also apparently add more functionality, speed and flexibility, with the platform also being used by Audi and BMW.

Ford, along with other car manufacturers, is looking to technology to give its vehicles the ability to better interact with passengers and provide them with information and entertainment- the so called Infotainment option. Improving Sync is viewed as an important step for keeping passengers connected whilst on the move.

The role of technology companies in the car industry is evidenced by Google, which last month announced that it is bringing its Android operating system to motor vehicles via its Open Auto Alliance (OAA) project. It has already already enlisted several major car manufacturers, including Audi, GM, Honda, and Hyundai.

Google will work with chip manufacturer Nvidia, whose latest Tegra K1 processor will be facilitating the technology, to embed its Android OS into cars later this year. The project will allow users to access apps and services such as satellite navigation, voice control, or media, from a synced mobile device via their vehicle’s dashboard.

Apple is also looking to exploit the car industry, and is said to be working with Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, Nissan Motor Co. and others to port its iOS operating system into cars. Toyota meanwhile signed up to the Linux Foundation because of the importance of open source for in-car systems.

BlackBerry acquired the in-vehicle “infotainment and telematics systems” provider QNX Software Systems for $200m (£120m) and based BlackBerry 10 on the platform.  QNX technology is also reportedly used to control nuclear-power plants and unmanned aerial drones.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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