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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