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9/28/2010
05:49 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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RIM Fuzzy On BlackBerry 6 And QNX Transition

Research In Motion backed away from a statement made by one of its VPs that the new QNX operating system would replace BlackBerry OS.

At a breakfast session during RIM's DEVCON event, a vice president mentioned that RIM planned to eventually transition away from BlackBerry OS as we know it and switch entirely to the new QNX platform.

This possibility was reported last week by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal said that the QNX-based operating system would launch on tablets first, and then be optimized for RIM's smartphones. The VP appeared to confirm this report.

Not so fast, says RIM's press relations team. When asked to confirm the software transition, a RIM spokesperson said that RIM isn't confirming or denying anything. InformationWeek was told that RIM wasn't aware of the comments made by its VP. RIM gave us the good old non-denial denial.

One thought is that the VP wasn't authorized to say what he said. The statement came as response to a reporter query about QNX's future. It's possible that the VP knows what RIM's plans are, but wasn't supposed to convey that message yet. If so, it's not a surprise that RIM wouldn't confirm the information.

The other -- and more likely -- thought is that RIM simply has no idea if, when, or how it will transition away from BlackBerry 6 to a full QNX-based portfolio. BlackBerry 6, its brand new operating system has only just launched. So far, it is only available on one handset. Surely RIM will want to get a little mileage out of BB6 before transitioning away from it.

The QNX-based PlayBook isn't launching until next year. The software still has a long way to go before it hits the market. RIM will likely want to test the waters with the PlayBook to see how it is received by business users and consumers before committing its core business to the unproven software.

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