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Summary:

With today’s agreement to purchase QNX Software Solutions, Research In Motion continues to look beyond the smartphone, as the connected car market begins to rev up. Consumers are already adopting these products in vehicles and RIM is preparing to ride along.

Research In Motion today agreed to purchase QNX Software Systems from Harman International for an undisclosed amount. The move signals RIM’s further intent to add its products to vehicles, and complements last May’s purchase of Dash Navigation, a maker of Internet-connected, in-car GPS devices.

QNX Software Systems creates middleware and real-time operating systems for embedded devices such as in-vehicle entertainment systems, but don’t count on RIM to limit its efforts. An interesting connected car project on QNX’s web site expands possibilities far beyond simple audio or video playback. Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO, at RIM hinted at looking beyond the basics with this comment from the news release. “[W]e look forward to ongoing collaboration between Harman, QNX and RIM to further integrate and enhance the user experience between smartphones and in-vehicle audio and infotainment systems.”

Few major mobile platforms have gained a presence in automobiles, but RIM appears poised to try. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s SYNC is making inroads into the nascent market; the system, which is in more than 2 million vehicles, recently added Wi-Fi support. With an increasing number of consumers craving real-time information on the go, connected car systems are the next frontier. And given RIM’s core competency of connecting people with information, the QNX buy, as well as the prior Dash purchase, are making clear the path down which RIM plans to travel.

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  1. Brian S Hall Friday, April 9, 2010

    This seems like a pretty smart move. I don’t believe RIM can ever catch up to Android/iPhone in the smartphone wars, and they don’t have the reach or low-cost options of Nokia.

    Still, they have a number of core assets and if they can port some of that expertise and services beyond the “phone” that could be very profitable.

    1. “I don’t believe RIM can ever catch up to Android/iPhone in the smartphone wars.”

      I tend to agree, although a big revamp of the OS could go a long way. Yet RIM still holds sizable market share over both Apple and Google. But we’re both already looking at them catching up. Interesting, no?

  2. wow… RIM make an offensive in real-time OS game.
    QNX already powered nuclear power plant.

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