Against The Tide: RIM’s Dilemma with the QNX Platform

Sometimes it really pays off to be the first one, like Apple and it’s numerous market-shakers over the years, and sometimes, well, let’s just say that every now and then, the waves aren’t too friendly for the first surfer. This seems to be the case with the OS that runs on Research in Motion’s tablet, The Playbook. The QNX system is widely touted by analysts as RIM’s last beckoning to mobile success: especially, after quite a patch of declining market share and an unresponsive developer community. It seems however, that it might not end all so well.

RIM QNX Android BlackBerry

What’s In A Name

According to leading RIM blog Crackberry, the company is set to change the OS name from QNX to BBX (Blackberry X), and the rebranding renaissance will be kicked off at Blackberry Devcon on October 18th in San Francisco. But it’s not really the branding that might shift industry and consumer gears, it’s the product lags that need to be addressed.

Reaching Out…Well, Supposedly

So RIM finally announced that Android apps will be able to run on the QNX system, albeit, limited. And that’s where the problem starts for developer-interest. Take a very basic example, there’s no VoIP functionality on the thing. On Android, this is achieved through exposing a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) API to developers. Since this can’t be done on the QNX platform, guess what, you can’t even do basic Skype videoconferencing on the Playbook, let alone advanced VoIP apps- although VoIP does work for Blackberry phones, like Vopium’s diverse BlacBerry offering.  (
Plus, the Native Development Kit, that allows you to “re-engineer the DNA” of the device by writing native code, will not be supported. Why should developer’s bother then?

A Niche Strategy

It just seems so that RIM has poised it’s device for enterprises, rather than mainstream consumer. And that resonates from the fact that during the initial launch this summer, it was clear that something as basic as email on Playbook will only work for Blackberry users. Hence, this reaffirms that instead of deciding to take on market leaders, RIM has decided to bank on its existing Blackberry consumer-base by integrating functionally within the tablet and platform.

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