Ottawa has a small hi-tech community, at least relative to Silicon Valley South and all. So, of course, the talk still hasn’t died from RIM’s acquisition of QNX from Harman. For us ex-QNXers and lovers of the mobile space, it is good folly to try and figure out what it all means.
What it doesn’t mean is that you’ll see RIM bringing your e-mail into your car. Yes, QNX has a big chunk of the automotive operating system space, but I can’t see how RIM fits into that, despite what most of the industry pundits have to say when they first heard the news. And frankly, I worry about how advanced applications running in your dashboard is going to impact safety. I’m not going to be catching up on my e-mail while driving, that’s for sure.
No, the more interesting angle is how QNX’s Neutrino operating system will look in RIM’s smartphones. I don’t know what’s in one of those today, but my guess is that their incumbent OS is really holding them back. They have the branding to take on Apple, but I have to think there’s some technical reason whey their application development stack is relatively weak.
And I think that’s where Neutrino will help them. I’m not going to get into why I left QNX, but it certainly wasn’t faith in their technology. The microkernel architecture definitely has advantages, and I think it’s a no-brainer that they’ll be able to run RIM’s existing stack on it. And I have to assume that RIM is working on additional stacks to support things like native game development, much as Android has.
So I think this is an interesting twist in mobile and consumer electronics and could give RIM a boost. And for QNX, they achieve one of their long time dreams of running in handsets. And I’m glad for them. But I still think Linux and open systems is the better choice ;).