updated 05:35 pm EDT, Tue September 28, 2010
RIM says QNX long-term sequel to BlackBerry OS
RIM during a breakfast at the BlackBerry DevCon session today said the QNX foundations at the heart of the BlackBerry PlayBook would eventually replace BlackBerry OS itself. Confirming a rumor, a vice president said the roots to the currently isolated BlackBerry Tablet OS would eventually spread to the smartphones. BlackBerry 7, which doesn't have a timeframe, would likely be a gateway ahead of the full switch.
Early on, the tablet will support running some BlackBerry OS apps, though which class of apps will run and how isn't known.
The Ottawa, Canada-made OS was initially considered an unusual choice as it has primarily run embedded devices, such as in-car systems and machinery. However, the Unix-based platform both has relatively fast performance, a low footprint and significant media support, all of which would help improve the BlackBerry platform. RIM has regularly avoided supporting 3D and other graphics-heavy tasks but is now making these cornerstones of the PlayBook.
RIM has been losing share in the US to Android and the iPhone and has so far been at risk of ceding the tablet market to the iPad. Most criticism has centered around the aging nature of the BlackBerry OS, which lacks not just significant graphics support but text-heavy interfaces and an underdeveloped mobile app store compared to the highly visual and app-rich Android and iOS platforms. The company's strategy so far is nonetheless a more conservative one and is now due to be gradual rather than the clean break tried by Microsoft with Windows Phone 7. [via IntoMobile]