Apple CarPlay uses BlackBerry’s QNX platform

“Apple has announced their ‘iOS in a car’ initiative dubbed CarPlay,” Lucas Atkins reports for N4BB. “Apple’s CarPlay will require an iPhone for usage. The CarPlay system is primarily accessed by use of Siri, which will give you access to notifications and voice command-driven calls and messaging, as well as iTunes, podcasts, third-party streaming services and so on.”

“The QNX website lists Apple as a QNX strategic partner in automotive,” Hall reports. “Yes, you read that correctly. Apple is a strategic partner for QNX in automotive.”

Hall reports, “We reached out to Paul Leroux at QNX and he has confirmed… ‘Connectivity to smartphones and other mobile devices is a key strength of QNX Software Systems’ platform for car infotainment systems, and many automakers and tier one automotive suppliers use our platform to implement smartphone/head-unit integration in their vehicles. We have a long-standing partnership with Apple to ensure high-quality connectivity with their devices, and this partnership extends to support for Apple CarPlay.'”

Read more in the full article here.

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44 Comments

  1. This may be just the iOS-to-car software link needed for manufacturer vehicle integration. If you look at other car infotainment initiatives, you’ll see several manufacturers supporting systems from other companies, including Microsoft and Google.

    I’d wondered whether you’d have to order a specific infotainment package, or whether the car’s firmware would simply react to the type of approved device attached. This may be a hint as to how this may work. We’ll see…

    1. Many cars run on QNX as this is “real time” OS; not surprising.

      However, this will not “reanimate” BlackBerry, as this is tiny portion of them. When BB will bankrupt, QNX will be sold off to new owners, and that is it.

    2. QNX has been used to run auto computers for years, which manages all things electronically controlled on a car — fuel mixture, timing, braking, vehicle monitoring, electronic steering, HVAC controls, airbag/safety systems, etc. All this means is Apple uses existing QNX connectivity for compatibility. Both before and after CarPlay.

  2. No no no, it makes logical sense.

    How many car owners get pissed off, because their car is no longer compatible with the phone tech that refreshes every year? Also, a car manufacture is more willing to support a generic platform, which works with multiple vendors instead of one.

    So instead of Apple fighting to kick out the likes of Microsoft or whatever is out there now, as proprietary, they offered a solution that customers and manufactures are more willing to invest in, if the car had it. It’s a Win Win Win

    This of this as the Bluetooth AV platform for all mobil devices. However it’s better, because Apple had a hand in it’s inception. The won’t have to license their connectivity to it.

    1. I cannot speak to the merits of QNX, but the idea of a platform-agnostic car system with a core set of features (display, speakers, microphone, etc.) makes sense. The car system incorporates a software layer that links Apple’s CarPlay or CCC/MirrorLink to the car’s assets. This approach also enables the car makers to add their own custom functions, such as the Ferrari app in the CarPlay video demonstration that provided its own radio functions and other features.

      If this is the case, you will soon be able to buy a car and “customize” it by choosing the “infotainment” software that is loaded as firmware. Eventually, if you purchase a used car, you might very well be able to change the firmware to match your preferred handset.

  3. I had been wondering about this. Nobody writing about CarPlay had discussed what OS it’s running. This is a HUGE boost for QNX, which is already in a dominant position.

    I hate to be all “Apple should buy”, but BlackBerry purchased QNX in 2010. QNX has like a 30 year history of development and now has a very popular system (not just for use in cars). QNX is just as open to Android and other platforms (assuming they get their act together in copying Apple).

    A purchase of QNX by Apple would be huge in establishing lock-in in the automotive industry (as well as others).

    BlackBerry might not sell just QNX by itself, but an all-out purchase of BlackBerry would bring other assets (especially on the server side).

    1. Car companies don’t want lock in that’s why Apple has been able to get them onside, BB has no chance of competing in its own right but QNX does give it a stake in an open environment that allows Apple to compete in on an equal footing while not threatening its core businesses.

      1. I agree with car companies not wanting to be locked into Apple, but what happens when BB goes under? QNX will likely be sold at some point and that could really suck if it’s sold to Samsung, Google, or Microsoft. Buying QNX/BB allows Apple to have the choice of keeping it open, having favored nation status, or going exclusive, depending upon what the car companies will tolerate.

    2. Totally agree. Maybe Apple should just buy out Blackberry. Lock it all up in their camp before Google does it. How bad would that be? QNX would be a nice addition to Apple’s portfolio. Then they could take over the enterprise with the iPhone and RIM’s assets. That would be a very shrewd move on their part. 2014 is shaping up to be an interesting year. I’m loving it.

      1. Unfortunately the Canadian government would likely block any foreign purchase of Blackberry for “national interest” reasons, whether to Apple or Google (especially Google, actually, IIRC the government’s put Google in its place twice now over privacy issues).

        You’d think the ruling Conservatives would be all free-market and stuff, but they’ve used that excuse to block at least 2 other major takeovers that would have seen strategically important companies fall into foreign hands.

          1. Reportedly, they’ve already blocked or said they’d block Blackberry being sold to Lenovo, for national security reasons:

            http://www.zdnet.com/report-canadian-govt-blocked-blackberry-lenovo-deal-7000022833/

            Of course, in that case China is a clear example of a country you don’t want controlling a product/service that you yourself rely on. Allowing its sale to an American company, given the Snowden revelations (or confirmations, if you will), isn’t much better.

      1. “CarPlay does not run an OS. It is a function of iOS.”

        I don’t know if you’re actually trying to be pedantic, but CarPlay depends upon a head unit, and that head unit runs QNX according to this article. Nobody else has said otherwise.

        Prior to this article, nobody had mentioned what the head units were running, and this made me curious as they’ve demonstrated functionality outside of what we’ve seen in iOS.

        “The current round of nonsense regarding QNX is just bullshit.”

        How so?

          1. Name one other OS that accommodates CarPlay.

            Of all of the car companies that were mentioned in the CarPlay announcement how many are not running QNX?

            QNX had 50-70% of this automotive market prior to the CarPlay announcement with the rest pretty much going to Microsoft’s Sync.

            While CarPlay could be made to work with Sync, who’s doing that?

            Again, be pedantic if you must, but your “corrections” are meaningless.

            1. Let’s try that again…

              Where are you seeing that BMW is supporting CarPlay on VxWorks?

              Your reply is like saying Microsoft Sync accommodates CarPlay because Ford uses Sync and Ford has been included in the CarPlay announcement.

  4. Yup the headline overplays this, as others have said this is more a base into which the overlaying OS clearly plugs in so to speak a consistent core in the car to which the various OS suppliers can communicate to without redesign for each. I was wondering how that would work and explains why Ford is going QNX and why companies are doing deals with more than one OS supplier. Also answers the question as to how Apple got so many to jump on board. I think this is the way forward for Apple in other spheres too choice without giving up all control.

    1. Well, now I know why we didn’t see Jeep jump on board, they’re in bed with UConnect, which is pretty bad. I guess I’ll have to go with an aftermarket solution. I wander if there are already any third party solutions for aftermarket utilizing QNX? Can anyone answer that?

    1. The host OS’s basis is irrelevant. Any automotive operating systems that can provide the “hooks” iOS’s CarPlay needs along with a suitable native car interface (i.e. steering wheel buttons, display screen, etc.) can integrate/host CarPlay.

      This is a bullshit publicity move by QNX.

    1. Well, I was one of them. That announcement was cryptic and I, being naive to QNX at the time, I read it as:

      “Ford finally abandons Microsoft’s shitty Sync only to adopt the technology of another clueless & dying company.” Which, is basically true.

      Anyway, I look forward to seeing how this plays out. All I know is that I need to buy a new car in 2015 and the one I choose will have CarPlay!

    2. I commented at the time QNX has been the base OS for many in-car systems for years, and the switch bode well for Ford. What I didn’t know, but suspected, was that Apple/Adroid/Windows would all be able to hook into QNX.

  5. BB is the most secure mobile platform bar none. Their problem was that they tried to be a toy like Droids and iPhone and failed miserably. I love seeing my iPhone friends stumbling to use their little toy when compared to my BB Q10 just rocking it out of the park. Heck even the BB browser blows the doors off iOS Safari. QNX is not for sale and frankly that is a good thing.

    1. “QNX is not for sale and frankly that is a good thing.”

      Of course it’s for sell. The current market price is $5.4 Billion for all of Blackberry (if you subtract cash minus debt it’s a little over $3 Billion). I know it’s confusing because when we say “buy QNX”, we mean “buy BlackBerry”, but that’s only because QNX is the only thing left of value (except maybe BBM).

      Apple has way more cash than that just sitting in Canada waiting to be repatriated.

  6. Holy crap is there a shit-ton of misinformation about this!!!

    CarPlay does not run on QNX. CarPlay can interface with QNX-based systems supported by Apple. The only part of it that actually runs on QNX is whatever is needed to give access to your car’s “console” components to the iPhone. None of the apps that appear on the screen are running on the console computer, they’re all running on the iPhone. I suspect this is why Apple changed the branding from “iOS in the Car” to “CarPlay”, it was confusing way too many people (although, there still seems to be a lot of people confused about what it is).

  7. CarPlay no more “uses” QNX than it uses VxWorks or Windows Embedded Auto or any other automotive operating system. All of them simply act as host systems that provide “hooks” to allow CarPlay to access the car’s native interface (i.e. steering wheel buttons, display screen, etc.).

    This is pitiful. It’s just Blackberry trying to bask in the glow.

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