RIM: We can't flog phones, would you like our nuke plant OS instead?

QNX licences up for grabs to anyone with a chequebook


Troubled phone biz Research in Motion wants to license its new BlackBerry 10 operating system to anyone who can afford it in the hope of climbing out of its rut.

RIM has coyly rebuffed rumours of companies wanting to use its mobile OS, and has tried to focus on its own phone handset launches with the new software. But now chief exec Thorsten Heins has said, in an interview with Bloomberg, that his firm will consider pimping out BlackBerry 10 after all.

At the heart of BB 10 is Unixish operating system QNX: this is a neat little real-time microkernel-powered bit of tech that's aimed at cars, music players, military drones, nuclear power plants and other embedded electronics. It was snapped up by RIM in 2010 and immediately put to use in the BlackBerry Playbook tablet.

“QNX is already licensed across the automotive sector - we could do that with BB10 if we chose to,” Heins beamed. “The platform can be licensed.”

The new operating system has been delayed one time too many for investors, who have been shifting their shares in droves as the Canadian company's phones fail to excite consumers. BB10 is supposed to be the magic bullet that turns the one-time smartphone king around, but punters have been buying Apple and Android mobes while RIM's QNX-in-a-dress is busy scrubbing up.

The interview with Bloomberg was more about telling as many people as possible that RIM's OS, and everything else, is on the table, so if you're in the process of developing an embedded system and don't fancy using a tiny Linux, QNX rival VxWorks nor Google's Android, then RIM would be delighted to talk to you, as long as you've "ten sovereigns bright".

Licensing out an OS that would interact with RIM's still-popular messaging platform BBM, and the company's Enterprise Server app platform, would be contentious: those are the products that still attract users to BlackBerry, along with its unparalleled focus on security, so making them available to other manufacturers would turn RIM into a platform company which might not be a bad thing but remains entirely theoretical for the moment.

Samsung is one of the rumoured firms that could be interested in slapping BB10 into its gear, being an equal opportunities OS user with phones running Android, Windows and its own system Bada.

Meanwhile, IBM could be keen on hoovering up its enterprise services unit if that came on the market.

No one seems to be interested in taking on RIM's mobile-making biz, however, though the company has said that once BB10 comes along, it can swing that business around and hang onto it. But lately, the company line has shifted to chatting about "beyond smartphones" and "expanding product lines" and other euphemisms that suggest the firm could leave mobile-making behind, or at least reduce its importance. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Want to buy your own piece of the Pi? No 'urgency' says Upton of the listing rumours

    A British success story... what happens next?

    Industry talk is continuing to circulate regarding a possible public listing of the UK makers of the diminutive Raspberry Pi computer.

    Over the weekend, The Telegraph reported that a spring listing could be in the offing, with a valuation of more than £370m.

    Pi boss, Eben Upton, described the newspaper's article as "interesting" in an email to The Register today, before repeating that "we're always looking at ways to fund the future growth of the business, but the $45m we raised in September has taken some of the urgency out of that."

    Continue reading
  • JetBrains embraces remote development with new IDE for multiple programming languages

    Security, collaboration, flexible working: Fleet does it all apparently

    JetBrains has introduced remote development for its range of IDEs as well as previewing a new IDE called Fleet, which will form the basis for fresh tools covering all major programming languages.

    JetBrains has a core IDE used for the IntelliJ IDEA Java tool as well other IDEs such as Android Studio, the official programming environment for Google Android, PyCharm for Python, Rider for C#, and so on. The IDEs run on the Java virtual machine (JVM) and are coded using Java and Kotlin, the latter being primarily a JVM language but with options for compiling to JavaScript or native code.

    Fleet is "both an IDE and a lightweight code editor," said the company in its product announcement, suggesting perhaps that it is feeling some pressure from the success of Microsoft's Visual Studio Code, which is an extensible code editor. Initial language support is for Java, Kotlin, Go, Python, Rust, and JavaScript, though other languages such as C# will follow. Again like VS Code, Fleet can run on a local machine or on a remote server. The new IDE uses technology developed for IntelliJ such as its code-processing engine for features such as code completion and refactoring.

    Continue reading
  • Nextcloud and cloud chums fire off competition complaint to the EU over Microsoft bundling OneDrive with Windows

    No, it isn't the limited levels of storage that have irked European businesses

    EU software and cloud businesses have joined Nextcloud in filing a complaint with the European Commission regarding Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive behaviour over the bundling of its OS with online services.

    The issue is OneDrive and Microsoft's habit of packaging it (and other services such as Teams) with Windows software.

    Nextcloud sells on-premises collaboration platforms that it claims combine "the convenience and ease of use of consumer-grade solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive with the security, privacy and control business needs." Microsoft's cloud storage system, OneDrive, is conspicuous by its absence.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021