The rotting corpse of Blackberry Ltd. may provide the extra juice needed to get Apple’s car project rolling.
Apple has reportedly poached key engineers from BlackBerry’s QNX team in Canada to help develop the operating system for its self-driving car. And the iPhone-maker has set up shop just five-minutes away from the QNX offices.
As Apple’s “secret” electric car project gains momentum, the company continues to pick up top talent for their automotive experience.
Its latest hire is Dan Dodge, founder and former CEO of QNX, who was recently the head of BlackBerry’s automotive software team. The move comes after “Project Titan,” the codename for Apple Car, started to take a whole new direction.
RIM, which is not showing much in the way of new products or technologies at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, sought to dispel the idea that its failures over the past year had created tensions between the itself and BlackBerry developers.
The words, meant to be reassuring to developers and users, had a rather hollow ring to them considering that the company has seen major mobile developers retreating from its existing OS and its new platforms based around QNX. The move comes as RIM is seeking to court developers for its PlayBook tablet and future BlackBerry 10 devices. It also comes following the loss of several high profile enterprise BlackBerry customers, something that is sure to be on the minds of mobile developers when choosing platforms to support.
It’s no secret that RIM’s attempt to create an iPad-killer with its PlayBook tablet didn’t deliver a success. In a move that was common of last year’s parade of iPad competitors, the PlayBook shipped almost as a public beta with core functionality like a native email app missing from the device. The PlayBook’s dismal sales haven’t exactly inspired positive reactions from developers, which could signal the death of not just RIM’s tablet but also future smartphones based on the QNX operating system that powers the PlayBook.
In a desperate attempt to build up a developer community, RIM has turned to an unlikely source: Android developers. The company has already developed tools that allow Android apps to be ported with relative ease to the PlayBook, but interest hasn’t exactly been high. Now, the company is hoping to entice more developers by offering a free PlayBook.
If BlackBerry maker Research in Motion were going to dinner, it would arrive five hours late, finding Apple and Google had already eaten, told the best jokes and gone home with all the good-looking women. That’s the image analysts are offering in the wake of RIM announcing yet another delay entering the smartphone market.
In the past, Blackberry makers Research In Motion have had questionablesuccess in updating their handsets to be competitive in a post-iPhone world, but that’s not about to stop them from challenging Apple’s iPad: the company is expected to debut their own 7-inch tablet at next week’s RIM Developer Conference.
Rumored to be named the BlackPad, RIM’s iPad-clone is expected to run some variation of the the QNX operating system instead of their own Blackberry OS 6. At 7 inches, the BlackPad would be closer to the (still untested at market) form factor of the Samsung Galaxy Tab than the iPad’s 9.7-inch display, and would likely be similar to the Galaxy Tab in other key specs as well, such as dual camera capability.
Interestingly, sources speaking to the WallStreet Journal say that RIM is going a curious direction when it comes to 3G: the only way you will be able to access cellular networks on a BlackPad is by tethering it to a BlackBerry smartphone.