Does RIM's rumored launch of QNX Software for smartphones early next year make sense?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
When we speculate and churn through the rumor mill in regards to Research In Motion, there’s sometimes not a lot to go on. Actually, there’s plenty of information to kick around, but for some folks out there, the device and software aren’t interesting enough to speculate on. That, and each move that the BlackBerry manufacturer makes seems to confuse, more than add clarity. This time around, with this latest rumor breaking cover, people are left scratching their heads yet again. The question, whether you’ll be passing over the recently announced BlackBerry 7 mobile OS for QNX-powered smartphones has already been asked, and that’s a good question to ask. But, here’s a curveball for you: RIM’s QNX plans actually make sense.
We’ve known for quite some time that Research In Motion was going to launch smartphones that run QNX Software. That hasn’t been a secret. What has been a secret, though, are RIM’s proposed launch dates. We have no idea when the new devices will hit the market, or which features that are so prominent on the BlackBerry PlayBook will make it over to the phones. This latest rumor actually does some work in “confirming” some of these things, specifically a release date (kind of), and what may not be making the final cut for smartphones.
If the rumor pans out, then we should expect to see the “new” multitasking style from RIM on smartphones in the first quarter of 2012. That’s not too long from now, so those who have been patiently waiting for these new devices don’t have much longer to wait, so that’s exciting in of itself. However, as I mentioned above, BlackBerry 7 OS has just been announced, for all intents and purposes. While nothing can be said for certain at this point, if we look at the vast differences and disconnections between BlackBerry 6 OS and 7 OS, then we can maybe safely assume that there won’t be many connections between 7 and QNX Software, either. This means that 7 is a small step, and not a major OS upgrade at all.
And that’s why all of these moves and not just the release of 7 OS make sense. We’ve been lead to believe that these recent mobile operating system releases are major OS releases. We’ve been told that these aren’t just miniscule jumps, or small additions. These pack so many new features that they can’t be considered marginal steps forward, but should be taken as giant leaps for RIM, and nothing short of that. But, their release schedule begs to differ. Because if the first QNX Software-based handset, the BlackBerry Colt if rumors are true, really is scheduled to release in the first quarter of 2012, then that leaves only months of separation between the release of 7 OS and QNX Software for smartphones.
And that’s the actions of a company that’s releasing minor software updates, bringing new features to an OS that needs them, but all the while still looking further and further ahead. As was aforementioned, we’ve always known that QNX Software-based handsets were coming down the pipeline, but with the launch of 7 OS, that release date seemed to be moving further and further away. Why? Because it seemed silly that we’d see QNX Software on a smartphone anytime relatively soon, simply because RIM just announced 7 OS. But that’s exactly what we’re discussing here.
It makes sense because RIM is releasing minor software upgrades, no matter what new features they’re packing or whether or not they’re leaving previous mobile operating systems in the dust. With the rumored release of QNX Software for smartphones so close to now, that’s all that RIM can be doing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Minor software upgrades get released all the time. Unfortunately, you may not necessarily need to get brand new devices to get them in those other situations, but RIM obviously plays by a different set of rules.