Practical Technology

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BlackBerry’s Android?

In the Mirror, Mirror universe, Research in Motion (RIM) uses Android instead of QNX for its next generation of BlackBerry smartphones and its PlayBook Tablet. Now, there’s a rumor that RIM may well add support for Android applications to its BlackBerry line on top of its forthcoming QNX operating system.

According to BGR, a RIM representative has apparently been caught on video saying “‘We will also support Android apps when we release the Dalvik engine on top of QNX,’ while showing off a PlayBook. Oops. The newly uncovered video was filmed at Mobile World Congress earlier this month and while we can’t quite call it an official confirmation from RIM, it certainly seems to substantiate our report. Though the RIM representative mentioned Dalvik, conflicting reports have stated that RIM won’t end up using the Dalvik engine, but rather a different option.”

It never made a lot of sense to me in the first place that RIM would support QNX Neutrino RTOS, an embedded Unix variation, for its tablets or phones. QNX is an excellent operating system. It has a modular micro-kernel, an excellent Inter-process communication’ (IPC) system, a lightweight user interface, and network-transparent distributed processing. All of which is wonderful, but it still put BlackBerry years behind both Apple with iOS and Google’s Open Handset Alliance Android supporters. Can a mobile vendor really afford to start a new system so far behind its chief competitors? I don’t think so.

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