Just days after launching revamped versions of BlackBerry Torch and Bold models which optimize the BlackBerry OS 7, reports are filtering in which suggest that RIM will launch its first QNX-based smartphone in Q1, 2012.
Boy Genius Report reported RIM will launch the phone under the moniker Colt. It is also reported that QNX-based Colt will feature a single-core processor. In the present scenario, where dual-core chips are the name of the game and with reports swirling the web that future Android devices will feature quad-core chipsets, RIM would be committing hara-kiri by releasing a compute power deficient smartphone.
Another caveat in the upcoming QNX-based Colt is that it will not feature RIM's key differentiation factor - BES integration. RIM also launched its flagship tablet PlayBook which runs on QNX juice sans BES support. The reason cited for the omission is due to the complexity of rewriting the BES code for QNX.
The omission could also be a conscious move from RIM to target the consumer segment rather than the enterprise segment. Although with the likes of Apple's upcoming iPhone 5 and Android phones like Samsung Galaxy S2 featuring "superphone" like specifications, an underpowered QNX smartphone will squarely miss the plot.
RIM acquired QNX Software Systems, a maker of real-time operating system in April 2010. QNX created the Neutrino real-time operating system, software well adopted by the automobile industry to power Bluetooth integration, device connectivity and similar systems.
The acquisition allowed RIM to build a new OS ground up for its PlayBook tablet, in a bid to offer developers a new platform to build apps on, to rival the Android and Apple's iOS ecosystems.
BlackBerry OS is an end-to-end mobile messaging solution primarily developed for the enterprise market and thus, it was created to integrate with enterprise systems. The BlackBerry application environment is based on Java ME platform with legacy extensions due to its integration with enterprise market. Java ME framework was originally designed for feature phones and thus restricts access for application developers to create new features, unlike QNX which is more like a Unix-like OS.
BlackBerry is a closed platform integrated around BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and it uses a proprietary web browser which slows down adoption of other web technologies. However, when this architecture is stretched to the new smartphone market, it poses lack of flexibility.
To meet these challenges RIM is launching a smartphone based on QNX minus the BES integration to target the consumer segment while continuing to maintain its BlackBerry OS line of devices to meet enterprise customers' needs.