While QNX is currently used in the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and is scheduled to be used in the company's smartphones in the future, replacing the BlackBerry OS to become Research in Motion's (RIM) mainstream platform, the company's current dismal performance is casting a cloud over the fate of the OS.
RIM recently announced it shipped only 10.6 million BlackBerry smartphones in the second quarter, compared with expected shipments of 11.9 million, while tablet shipments were barely half the expected amount. The company shipped only 200,000 Playbook tablets, compared to expectations of 400,000-600,000, and the total represented a drop from 500,000 in the company's first quarter (from March to May).
RIM's stumbles in the market are compounded by its high expectations. About 1.5 million BlackBerry Playbooks were manufactured through September, which means RIM still has nearly 800,000 units of inventory on hand, stated Digitimes Research analyst James Wang. There have already been reports of layoffs at both the vendor (2,000 jobs) and its ODM partner Quanta Computer (2,000 jobs), and it is unlikely that manufacturing of the product will continue through the fourth quarter, said Wang, while adding there has been no word about any next-generation successor of the product.
QNX is supposed to replace the BlackBerry OS and become RIM's mainstream platform in the future, but so far the market has not been welcoming. Moreover, a quick look at the market landscape shows that it is becoming increasingly hard for niche operating systems to succeed under the fierce competition brought on by Android and iOS.
Wang is the author of the Digitimes Research Special Report, "Expectations for the 2H 2011 tablet market."