QNX Brings Mobile-Class User Experience to Secure and Reliable Embedded Systems

By Adam Zeis on 25 Feb 2014 02:18 am EST

Today QNX has introduced their latest generation QNX Neutrino OS. The QNX OS 6.6 is designed to bring new graphics, UI, security and more to developers and allows them to create all kinds of products for everything from industrial automation to in-flight entertainment. QNX OS 6.6 is tops for security, adding things like enhanced heap, stack, and memory layout protection to help thwart potential malware.

The QNX OS 6.6 also supports the new QNX SDK for Apps and Media, which allows developers to create UI's using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.

QNX OS 6.6 and the QNX SDK for Apps and Media is scheduled for February 28th.

Press Release

QNX Brings Mobile-Class User Experience to Secure and Reliable Embedded Systems

Latest generation of QNX OS delivers enhanced security, graphics, multimedia, and power management to embedded developers

NUREMBERG, GERMANY--(Marketwired - February 25, 2014) - Embedded World (Hall 5, 5-369) - QNX Software Systems Limited, a global leader in software platforms for connected embedded systems, today unveiled the latest generation of its QNX® Neutrino® operating system. Designed to bring mobile-class user experiences to secure embedded systems, the QNX OS 6.6 offers a wealth of new graphics, UI, multimedia, security, and power management capabilities, enabling developers to create highly differentiated products for markets such as healthcare, heavy machinery, consumer white goods, energy production, industrial automation, automotive telematics, and marine and in-flight entertainment.

"Smartphones and tablets have transformed user expectations. Everyone today assumes that a display will let them swipe, scroll, or pinch, even if that display is on a gas pump, vending machine, refrigerator, or medical device," said Grant Courville, director of product management, QNX Software Systems. "These expectations put enormous pressure on embedded system manufacturers to deliver a mobile-class user experience, and the QNX OS 6.6 enables them to create products that are feature-rich yet easy to use, and connected yet secure."

Advanced security capabilities

Virtually every embedded system today is connected to a network, creating the potential for attack. To help thwart malicious software, the QNX OS 6.6 introduces several advanced security features, including:

  • Fine-grained control of system privilege levels - Provides the unique ability to control settings that govern and protect which operations a process can perform, with granularity down to the system-call level. As a result, embedded developers no longer have to give processes root access to the entire system.
  • Application lifecycle management - To contain applications and restrict what resources they can access, the OS offers full content verification, installation, and launch capabilities, allowing customers to install apps in a separate sandbox and control how the apps interact with system resources.
  • Enhanced heap, stack, and memory layout protection - To trap rogue code and foil malicious programs, the OS uses guard pages and heap cookies, which allow it to detect overflows and terminate offending processes. The OS also uses address space layout randomization (ASLR), which makes it harder for attackers to predict target memory addresses.
  • File system enhancements - To help protect data, the OS adds new encryption capabilities to the QNX power-safe file system by dividing it into encryption domains. The OS also introduces support for access control lists (ACLs) for fine-grained control of file-level permissions.

These features complement the inherent security strengths of the QNX OS microkernel architecture, which reduces attack surfaces by running all processes, including system services, outside of the kernel in memory-protected user space.

Flexible graphics control for blended interfaces

For the ultimate in UI design flexibility, the QNX OS includes a new graphical composition manager that can seamlessly blend apps and components created in HTML5, OpenGL ES, and Qt 5, together with video from connected devices - all on the same display, at the same time. The composition manager supports native OpenGL ES hardware acceleration, multi-touch input control with gestures, and a driver framework based on industry-standard OpenWF Display APIs.

Power management features for mobility

To help embedded developers create mobile devices that consume less power, the QNX OS offers several new features that enable the CPU to sleep for extended durations. These include the ability to assign a tolerance value to timers that don't require realtime precision, and similarly, the ability to assign an acceptable latency value to interrupts that don't require realtime responses.

HTML5 app and UI development

The QNX OS 6.6 also supports the new QNX SDK for Apps and Media, which allows developers to create rich user interfaces with web technologies (HTML5, JavaScript, CSS) and to develop and deploy packaged HTML5 apps. The SDK includes:

  • A Webkit-based HTML5 engine for application development and web browsing that has been optimized to offer the fastest HTML5 rendering performance and broadest support for HTML5 standards.
  • An application environment that includes window management, application launching, and security control.
  • An open plug-in architecture based on the Apache Cordova mobile framework to provide apps with access to system-level resources. Developers can choose from a pre-built set of QNX-supplied plug-ins or can create their own custom plug-ins.
  • A packager and an installer for deploying HTML5 applications to embedded systems.

Multimedia support and smartphone integration

The QNX SDK for Apps and Media also enables developers to build media-rich embedded products that can integrate with various smartphones and tablets. Features include:

  • The ability to automatically detect, synchronize, and control multimedia content.
  • Support for a wide variety of audio and video formats and playlist formats.
  • Connectivity to iOSr, Android™, and BlackBerryr smartphones and tablets, as well as to MP3 players and USB devices, with support for USB 3.0, USB OTG, USB host, and USB device protocols.


General availability of the QNX OS 6.6 and the QNX SDK for Apps and Media is scheduled for February 28, 2014. Visit www.qnx.com to upgrade your existing QNX development seat or to request a free evaluation.

Topics: QNX Apps

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

QNX Brings Mobile-Class User Experience to Secure and Reliable Embedded Systems


WOW nice things coming aboard ..
Go blackberry go go go
Im sure the next months with J chen leader we will see nice things out there …

To those who initially said QNX is a garbage OS from 50 years ago, bet you didn't see this coming. I would trust QNX over anything else in my car as it is the most stable, scalable and secure mobile OS. After all, it has survived 50 years of industrial and commercial torture testing and still proves itself. Enuf said.

Who said it was garbage?? Thats a little silly... QNX is trusted for nasa hardware, military drones, medical equipment, industrial machines (ie, power generators), commercial routers, infotainment systems... heck it goes on and on and on. Whoever said that is just uninformed.

you know what would be a good idea. come up with a head unit that can adapt to sw in other cars so you can change all the stock units that have cars messages displayed on them

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You can't beat QNX - the Rest of the world will come to understand...


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Incredible enhancements to the micro kernal, I must say. Esp the multiple advances in protecting the root access. Feels like even with reverse engineering, hacking the core os with that much level of security safeguards, would be extremely challenging and time consuming at best. The more I read about the real capabilities of qnx, the more it feels that this is blackberry's Trojan horse in the mobile world n beyond. If they can effectively partner with someone like qualcomm and optimize their software with their cpu blackberry could be the " de factor" standard in mobility and embedded systems wayyy beyond cars. My only regret was not buying more shares when they were @ 6.

Blackberry, my proverbial middle finger

I wonder how much of this stuff goes into bb10 and vice versa. Would be an interesting read!

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