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BlackBerry subsidiary QNX to unveil concept car at CES in January

qnx_2015_concept_carBlackBerry Technology Solutions subsidiary QNX Software Systems Inc. will be unveiling a concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January.

When Research In Motion acquired QNX in 2010, RIM’s then Vice Chair Mike Lazaridis said, “We see the car as the ultimate BlackBerry accessory.”

Nobody suspected what he meant then, but with next month’s CES, BlackBerry may further signal its intention to move beyond handsets into the Internet of Things, telematics and automotive technology.

The QNX 2015 concept car, based on a Maserati Quattroporte, demonstrated the integration of technologies that solve issues surrounding the deliver of content to the driver without distraction, the display of local speed limits, the integration of information from multiple screens into a single screen, and the expectation that touch screen technology, which users have become used to on tablet devices, can be most effectively be used in a dashboard interface.

“There’s no doubt the automotive industry is working towards an autonomous future – laying the groundwork for a time when self-driving cars are prevalent on the road,” reads QNX’s CES micro-site. “As we move in that direction, how will automated driving evolve?”

QNX’s “vision for the future of automated driving” will be located at the BlackBerry booth, North Hall #325 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre, where curious onlookers can experience the company’s concept vehicle based on the 2015 Toyota Highlander, as well as the latest additions to their reference vehicle based on a Jeep Wrangler.

According to at least one assessment, there may be room for BlackBerry’s famous security in the connected car space. One expert says the probability of a hack is high.

“The software operating a modern car may have a hundred million lines of code in its software – more than a modern fighter jet, airliner, or operating system such as Windows or Mac OS,” says security expert Eugene Kaspersky. “With so much code, the likelihood that it has bugs and vulnerabilities is very high – even if the software engineers made security a priority when developing it, which is not always the case.”

And it is, by most accounts, a decidedly more lucrative place for BlackBerry to concentrate its efforts and move away from the mobile device space, where margin compression continues to drag down all those not named Apple. The connected cars space, says research firm Gartner, will grow almost 21 times as fast as mobile voice and data services.

BlackBerry’s progress in the connected car space is in sharp contrast to its wavering device business. Last year, Ford said it would be replacing the glitchy Microsoft Auto system with BlackBerry’s QNX. The American auto giant joins Porsche, BMW, Saab, Audi and Acura as QNX converts.

The Consumer Electronics Show will be preceded by the Consumer Telematics Show (CTS) at the Rio Hotel & Casino on January 5, and will feature a talk called “Cyber Security: At the Forefront of the Public Eye” with Andrew Poliak, QNX Software Systems’ Global Director of Business Development, in conversation with executives from KIA, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Telit.

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