Apple’s CarPlay is powered by BlackBerry’s QNX

By , Mar 4, 2014

Mercedes-Benz (CarPlay 002)

Monday, at the Geneva Motor Show, Apple’s in-car system previously known under the ‘iOS in the Car’ moniker got formally announced and rebranded as CarPlay. Launch partners Volvo, Ferrari, and Mercedez-Benz backed the feature as dozens of vendors pledged to support CarPlay in their upcoming vehicles later this year.

Volvo confirmed that CarPlay’s connection and video mirroring functionality is based on a streaming H.264 video feed, prompting watchers to speculate that the feature is based on AirPlay, an Apple-designed media streaming technology.

In a rather surprising find earlier today, N4BB was able to confirm that CarPlay runs on QNX, an operating system the embattled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry acquired Harman International Industries back in 2010…

N4BB quotes QNX’s Paul Leroux who told the blog that his firm’s software indeed powers Apple’s CarPlay feature:

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.

That Apple is QNX’s strategic partner in automotive is confirmed by the QNX website.

By the time QNX Software Systems sold out to Harman International Industries back in 2004, it already made a name for itself as a widely used software provider in the automotive industry for telematics, infotainment and navigation systems.

As of mid-2011, the QNX CAR Application Platform powered more than twenty million vehicles. The company has since released several middleware products including the QNX Aviage Multimedia Suite, the QNX Aviage Acoustic Processing Suite and the QNX HMI Suite.

This isn’t saying CarPlay is 100 percent QNX.

Although Leroux stopped short of providing the specifics, iOS is still at the core of the feature as Apple is only tapping QNX’s in-car connectivity features.

Be that as it may, this is still quite an unexpected turn of events.

BlackBerry is of course a rival and its failed PlayBook tablet ran QNX. Moreover, devices running the BlackBerry 10 operating system are also QNX based.

I’m still flabbergasted that Apple partnered with BlackBerry on such an important product of its own.

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  • robertmclaws

    iCloud is not hosted by Apple at all, but a combination of Amazon S3 and Windows Azure. Should not be “flabbergasting” that Apple doesn’t have the resources or experience to develop software outside their core products, and even then the quality is lacking. It is a lot easier for a company with a track record of writing flawed software to take what someone else built and extend it, then to build something from scratch themselves.

    • Luis Alejandro Masanti

      As far as I know, for Apple to provide a fail safe iCloud, it has to have redundancy in the software and hardware sides. Amazon and Azure are there for this reason.

      Apple has just 3/5 servers centers, no enough (in my opinion) to provide safety for a non-stop service like iCloud.

      But it is just my personal point of view.

    • thirdxeye

      Bullshit. iCloud is developed and hosted by Apple. What do you think is the purpose of the server farms they’re building? They use third party storage for speed and redundancy. And that’s ok because that’s why they’re there in the first place.

  • Farisyafiq

    Why not?

  • scott

    … You get that they’re still using iOS apps and it’s still being driven by their iPhones, right? I don’t think Apple is losing out here.

  • Luis Alejandro Masanti

    I think that the part of CarPlay that has to run on the car’s computer is written/run in QNX.
    I don’t think that Apple will do a cOS version… an version of iOS to run in the car.

  • thirdxeye

    QNX already has a solution available that integrates all the hardware in a car. Apple is tapping into that. Why reinvent the wheel? They’d have to implement and maintain all the different models. Plus carmakers need something they have control over so they can support other platforms as well, not just CarPlay.

  • Captain Canada

    The fact is that no one is going to by a car that only runs Apple’s proprietary technologies, they know that this would be a huge roadblock to consumers as do the car companies that implement them. BlackBerry is in a unique position to be the middle man for the future of auto infotainment because as we already know Google has introduced Android in the Car and I’m sure Microsoft and BlackBerry will follow suit. This is good for us the consumer, I don’t know why you’re flabbergasted. Apple isn’t stupid, they know that no one in their right mind buys a car because of the infotainment system.

    Also, it should be noted that none of the companies that have agreed to implement CarPlay are doing so in an exclusive manor, I know that Apple is a walled garden but for smart technologies to reach the car they need to be compatible with all the major mobile operating systems. You change your phone every 2 years, you change your car maybe every 10 years.

  • nitwitvd

    Good artists copy, great artists steal

  • http://sciencedem.blogspot.com editor

    Can someone port CarPlay to Cydia?

  • WalterB

    I think it is very nice that Blackberry is playing nice with that toy iphone. I bet even the inovative gold iPhone works on Blackberry’s QNX car system!

    • Rowan09

      Huh? What are you babbling about? Blackberry isn’t playing nice with the iPhone it’s the other way around. QNX wouldn’t tell Apple they can’t allow Carplay on top of their software, they license it.

      • WalterB

        Lol. It was a joke. QNX is an open platform conforming to open cell blue tooth standards. Apples software takes advantage of that. Summary, any cell can take advantage of an open blue tooth platform, even that cute iPhone.

      • Rowan09

        Lol.

  • thirdxeye

    Thanks for that two and a half years old speculative report from a third party.

    Anyways, like I wrote above, these services are there for speed and redundancy. Apple uses another one, Akamai, since the late 90s.

  • http://www.apple.com St3vè Jb

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