With its PlayBook tablet RIM introduced a brand new mobile platform built on QNX's Neutrino 6.5 OS. The result was an extremely smooth user experience with great multitasking support (reminiscent of webOS) on a platform that simply needed more apps and maturity. At the time, RIM indicated future Blackberry smartphones would be based on a QNX derived OS although this year we only got BlackBerry OS7 devices.

At its developer conference today RIM announced BlackBerry BBX, an upcoming QNX based OS for future BlackBerry smartphones and tablets. It's too early to know when we'll see devices but the obvious assumption is it'll be in 2012.

RIM also released a beta version (2.0) of its PlayBook OS to developers with support for running Android apps, a feature we originally discussed in our PlayBook review.

Today's announcements do signal continued commitment to the market by RIM. Although Apple and Google have done their best to convert BlackBerry users, this is still anyone's game. RIM definitely has a lot of the right pieces in-house (QNX, webkit team, etc...) to make for a serious revival in the mobile market, but ultimately it boils down to execution and iteration. A BBX launch in 2012 isn't too late, assuming it can execute quicker than the competition. It's the latter that makes this a tall order.

Source: RIM

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  • retrospooty - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    "RIM definitely has a lot of the right pieces in-house (QNX, webkit team, etc...) to make for a serious revival in the mobile market, but ultimately it boils down to execution and iteration"

    More competition pushes the others to release things faster and cheaper so we all win... I just dont have alot of confidence in RIM's ability to execute. Lately they have been all thumbs.
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Their backs are truly against the wall. We'll see what these guys are made of now. They're in a very narrow critical window where the only possible outcomes are an Apple-like rejuvenation or a Sun-like slide to irrelevance and sale of what's left over.
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    They smell alot like Palm to me.
  • Pirks - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    That's because you never used their newest hardware like me. Anyone who uses it can easily see through your "I WILL BET MY LIFE ON RIM FAILING NEXT YEAR BY OCTOBER" bullshit.

    It's that simple, really.
  • michael2k - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Actually, it's because people like retrospooty, I, and everyone else on Android or iOS, that fails to use their hardware that they are likely to collapse.

    Though I wouldn't peg it at 10/2013, I would say 10/2015.

    Their OS is about 2 years behind and their HW is about 1 year behind the state of the art right now.
  • Pirks - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    QNX is not behind iOS or Android, it's light years AHEAD OF THEM architecture-wise and user interface-wise. They just need more apps to succeed and they know this - look at native SDK they released today, look at Cascades and all their github repos - nice sweet stuff for anyone willing to dabble into apsp development for QNX running on the most elegant tablet hardware on Earth hehe :P

    By the way you don't need the state of the art hardware to succeed, did you know that a HUGE amoutn of people buys NOT the fastest cars, NOT the most expensive largest smartphones, NOT the biggest flashiest watch, NOT the most expensive fridges or dishwashers or computers? Did you know HUGE amount of people buys stuff that's middle end, not the slowest, but not the most high end/luxury models. Exactly like BlackBerry 7 phones these days.
  • name99 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    You don't need either the best HW or the best OS to survive, yes. But you DO need some sort of sense of what the market wants.
    The Playbook and all its flaws (eg the ridiculous mail story) demonstrated a remarkable tone-deafness on RIM's part to what the market wants. This tone-deafness is not fixed by having a fancy new OS.

    Moreover, at the technical level, Apple have just moved the ball again with Siri. I have no doubt that Google and MS can, in a year or so, field at least credible competitors in that space --- acceptable voice recognition coupled to AI --- but I have rather less confidence that RIM can do so.
  • Landiepete - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    Apple has no sense of 'what the market wants'. It tells the marked - or a for them large enough chunk of it - what it wants.
    Mr. Pirks has a point : the high end slot has been taken up by the Dead Man from Cupertino. Makes no sense trying to dislodge him from that spot. What they need is 'stuff that works' at an attractive price with a taste of the high end. But what do I know
  • twburger - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    I've been developing on QNX since 1987 and it's probably the best OS for portable devices ever built. What RIM does with it and if they can get customers is the question.

    I've always liked the Blackberry and would rather have one than an iPhone or an Android based unit for business use. My wife's Samsung Galaxy S just lunched itself after three weeks. I've seen a Blackberry work for years.

    I'm not sure if RIM should stay in the tablet market. I have no use for one and don't like any of them for several reasons. I prefer my Acer 11.4 inch laptop that fits in my briefcase sideways and is a full PC.
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    "Though I wouldn't peg it at 10/2013, I would say 10/2015."

    Actually that isnt at all what I said. Pirks like to dramatize and then go off on a rant based on his dramatization. What I actually said was "By October next year, there won’t be any way for RIM to hide behind creative data reporting and "pick and choose" facts. RIM’s numbers will be down all over, sales, marketshare, everything everywhere and it will be undeniable."

    I still think this to be true. QNX may well be decent. It has apparently borrowed its UI and multitasking from WebOS which I liked alot, best in the industry to me... But, there are 3 things to think about. 1. Its not out on any phones yet and for all we know may be delayed. 2. From everythign out there doesnt work well with BES, which is RIM's only other revenue aside from phones, and 3. RIM tends to screw up everything they touch lately. They arent executing well and they arent appearing to be aware of what customers and consumers want.

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