Blackberry has signed an agreement with Ford Motor Co. under which there will be an increased use of Blackberry’s QNX software in Ford automobiles. This is Blackberry’s first direct pact with any automobile manufacturer, though it already provides software to several automobile parts suppliers. Until 2014, Microsoft was the chief vendor for the Sync infotainment platform on Ford vehicles. QNX software does not compete with Apple or Android devices and acts as platform to connect the systems.
John Wall, Senior Vice President and Head, QNX Software Systems revealed the pact on Monday 31 October. He stated, “Software is becoming such an important piece… that the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] don’t want to rely on the tier-1s to provide these systems, but actually wants to develop systems themselves,” said Mr. Wall, who expects to sign more deals like this with other auto makers in the future.”
“I talk about this being an inflection in the industry … there’s several that feel software’s going to be a differentiator in the coming years, and as such they see it as important as a transmission and an engine. It’s something they very much feel is central to their brand,” he added.
“The future of the automobile is all about embedded intelligence, I believe our expertise in secure embedded software makes us the preferred technology provider to put the smart in the car,” read a statement from John Chen, CEO, BlackBerry.
Under the agreement a team of QNX engineers will be constituted with the sole objective of incorporating QNX a sit of software such as QNX Neutrino Operating System, Certicom encryption technology, QNX audio processing software, and QNX hypervisor (a heads-up display system for windshields) into Ford automobiles. QNX will continue to produce standardized systems suitable for all auto makers.
Mr. Wall did not disclose the duration, the value of the agreement or when the collaboration’s products would be available for the public.
Once a giant of the mobile industry, Blackberry has been outpaced by Samsung and Apple in the recent past. The companie’s last two smartphones the BlackBerry Priv and the DTEK50 failed to generate adequate sales. Instead Blackberry has earned a larger share of its revenue through software. For Q3 2016 the company registered a 111-per-cent yearly increase in non-GAAP revenue for software and services against the same time last year.
Ford too has self driving car ambitions. The automobile major recently announced its plans to build driverless cars for ride-sharing services like Uber by 2021.