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QNX car platform expands to include Android applications

By Adam Zeis on 5 Jun 2013 09:23 am EDT
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Showing off the goods at Telematics Detroit, QNX demonstrated a new version of their QNX car platform. The new version will allow developers to do even more as it now supports Android applications as well as those built with the Qt5 framework.

The platform already supported OpenGL ES and HTML, so the new additions make thing even better all around. Much like BlackBerry 10, the QNX software will run Android applications in a separate "sandbox" to protect the system from any unwanted content. 

Press Release

New Version of QNX CAR Platform Expands Design Choices to Include Android Apps and Qt User Interfaces

Enables automotive companies to tap into vast ecosystem of mobile developers creating Android, HTML5, OpenGL ES, and Qt apps

DETROIT, MICHIGAN--(Marketwired - June 05, 2013) - QNX Software Systems Limited, a global leader in software platforms for in-car electronics, today demonstrated how the new version of its QNX CAR™ Platform for Infotainment will enable developers of car infotainment systems to leverage an even broader choice of mobile apps and content.

The QNX CAR Platform already supports both HTML5 and OpenGL® ES, the two most popular open standards for mobile app development. With the new version, 2.1, the platform extends its reach to support Android apps, as well as apps and human machine interfaces (HMIs) built with the popular Qt® 5 application framework.

"Automakers need to tap into the rapid innovation of the mobile app community - it's the surest way to keep vehicles fresh with new and engaging features, stay connected with consumers, and, ultimately, build greater brand loyalty," said Andy Gryc, senior automotive product marketing manager, QNX Software Systems. "From the beginning, the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment was designed to support mobile standards and, thanks to its flexible architecture, our customers will soon have the opportunity to access an even larger share of the mobile ecosystem."

To maximize reliability, the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment 2.1 runs Android apps in a separate application container, much like it handles HTML5 apps. This sandboxed approach keeps the app environment cleanly partitioned from the HMI, protecting both the HMI and the overall system from unpredictable web content.

The platform's support for the Qt 5 application framework provides a flexible, high-performance option for creating both apps and HMIs. Qt 5 takes advantage of OpenGL ES 2.0 hardware acceleration to deliver optimal graphics performance. It also provides HMI developers with the choice of using native C/C++ or a JavaScript scripting engine. And it supports the concept of state machines, making it easy for developers to graphically model and design complex, event-driven HMIs that comply with automakers' specifications.

Developers can also build complete HMIs with the HTML5 framework integrated into the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment. The framework includes an optimized WebKit-based HTML5 engine that supports audio and video, geo-location, WebSockets, offline applications, session storage, canvas, and other standards, such as CSS3 and JavaScript. Optimizations include pixel-accurate zooming, physics-based scrolling, and high-performance panning (ideal for maps and navigation). Developers also have the option to create HMIs with third-party design tools such as Elektrobit EB GUIDE and the Crank Storyboard™ Suite.

Expanded Hardware and App Support

The QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment 2.1 introduces several other enhancements to increase flexibility and performance, including improved power management, optimizations for faster boot time, and support for more hardware platforms - choices now include Freescale® i.MX 6Dual and i.MX 6Quad, NVIDIA® Tegra® 3, Texas Instruments OMAP™ 5, and Texas Instruments Jacinto 5 Eco. The platform's rich suite of pre-integrated partner apps has been expanded to include HearPlanet, Parkopedia, Soundtracker, and wcities eventseekr.

The QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment is based on QNX® technology deployed in millions of cars. It supports an exceptionally rich set of pre-integrated technologies, both from QNX Software Systems and dozens of ecosystem partners, to help automotive companies reduce the time required to build connected infotainment systems.

Availability

The QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment 2.1 will be available in July to select automotive customers through an early access program. Product availability is scheduled for Q4 2013.

QNX Demos at Telematics Detroit

This week, QNX Software Systems will demonstrate the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment 2.1 running Android apps in an HMI based on HTML5. It will also showcase the QNX reference vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler Sahara running an HMI based on Qt 5, and the QNX technology concept car, a Bentley Continental GT outfitted with a center stack that uses DLP display technology from Texas Instruments (TI), a reconfigurable digital instrument cluster, video conferencing with realistic telepresence, and other unique infotainment features.

Reader comments

QNX car platform expands to include Android applications

43 Comments

That's a good point. Since Cascades is Qt-based, maybe they are utilizing that but just not using the terminology? Since car manufacturers want their own skin, maybe the framework is there but the they've changed the interface design to be more generic with different color options so it can be customized.

They should stock to Cascade apps since Android ones are sluggish and feel clunky. This is true even on High End Android devices.

Posted via

Just wanted to know, does BlackBerry 10 also run android apps in a sandbox type as well as html5?

Posted via CB10

so what's a QNX-powered wundersystem like "this" projected to cost for the "non-Bentley-but-still-VW" owners among us? Or will it be unaffordable for us average joes?

Had to ask, 'cause just the "basic" factory "touch-screen+dvd+sat-radio+bluetooth" head unit for my car already lists for just over $1100 at the dealer, and there's even a $1900 unit that does just a fraction ot this QNX wundersystem ... and THAT's already in "silly" territory.

That's car dealerships for you. I bet in parts and software they pay 200$ on a mass scale

Posted via CB10

QNX is already operating in GM, Honda, Toyotas and in Jeeps, you can go look at a 3' video on the QNX web site showing it being installed in a Jeep. As for price of options, you can go to Edmunds to see how much car manufacturers make off each one, and of course that can push the price of any new car into the stratosphere if you go for a fully loaded model. But then, when you go to resell the vehicle the new buyer won't care how much you paid for all those options, witness the price of a car depreciates dramatically once you drive it off the lot.
QNX also runs in high speed trains in France and Germany and in every MRI machine in hospitals. Perhaps if there is a surge in volume the price will come down, but that's just the economies of scale in any industry.

Autos could be huge for BlackBerry. These systems are going into even cheap cars now and given that Ford's Microsoft system is a mess the QNX really stands out here.

Another side - good integration with BB10 is almost assured!

Posted via CB10

Ford's Microsoft system had issues at the beginning due to it being new and in-house fighting, however it now runs almost flawlessly and has so many options compared to the units offered in the competition (granted my Ford model is a 2013 so I have the latest update of SYNC).

Posted via CB10

I agree. I have a 2011, 2012, and 2013 Ford vehicle all with SYNC. It works great. I do like the possibilites of what QNX can do though.

Chrysler Cue infotainment system will be running on QNX for the high end autos, but they are going with MS Cue on low end cars. So we might see more things like this happen with QNX taking the highend market...

Music in a car? Sure. Maps in a car? I'm with that.

I don't see much use for anything else, frankly. The driver shouldn't be distracted. The passengers have their own devices.

Let's see what else - POI, Weather, Voice controls, Messages/Emails reading, Alerts, Parking information (like locations, price), maintenance reminders, mechanics/shops information, etc... who said that all of this will be used when driving? imaging this - you get into the car, you speak the destination, car tells you you need gas and where the cheapest gas on the route is, reminds you about oil change, asks you to schedule appointment with the dealer or a mechanic giving you ratings and price , reads your emails while your driving to your destination, downloads traffic and street closures on your route, etc... etc.. Oh and it will still play your favorite CD to you and a movie for your kids on the backseat displays :)

Awesome,
Next phone should have a feature similar to BlackBerry Balance, but instead of switching to personal and work, it should switch to stock Android. This way we can have every android app available until someone creates a native app for BlackBerry. I'm a BlackBerry die hard fanatic and some of you may think this "Bullsh-t" but I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only person in this world that would spend top dollar for a device like this.

Posted via CB10

At least I suppose they could compensate the Android sluggishness by putting one hell of a processor in there since they aren't limited by battery!

Wish BB10 would be compatible with x86 architecture.

Posted via CB10

Available for early access in July by select auto makers. Hmmm, aside from porche or Bentley, I wonder who else would run with it out the door??

Posted via Z10

Hopefully this means more work on making Android work flawlessly on BB10. Instead of trying to get developers to make BB10 versions of Android software BB should just work on a system that automatically converts Android code to a native interface. It can't be that hard.

it seems like Android is becoming a standard why fight it. The message should be port your Andoird Apps to Blackberry World with NO WORK, not "with little additional work."

Which version of android? Is this limited to gingerbread like the handsets? If not, shouldn't the handsets be able to run the latest android apps very soon then?

I don't understand why they would do this. I can understand allowing Android ports for phones ect. but why cars. There wouldn't be any Android apps currently out there that are designed to be used in a car, and Android ports are never as good as native. If you are writing a program to be specifically used on a certain device, why wouldn't you code it specifically for that device. I mean am I wrong? Are there cars running Android systems that I don't know about?

Posted via CB10

If BB10 can't stand on it's own, just be a sellout and go android based. All this android crap is not helping Blackberry. It's a app gap temp fix to keep the BB10 platform breathing.

Still interested how Google taking many important functions out of Android and into Google Services is going to affect BlackBerry's ability to run important Android applications. It appears that Google are taking these steps specifically to stop this sort of application now.

I really thought the car thing would have been their catalyst to get the big apps on board with native code.
Sort of, 'now bb10 is in 100mil cars' or something. Netflix, for example, has got to want to get into back seat headrest screens.
Even more so now, what's the point in developing native?
Kind of disappointed actually...

Posted via CB10

Love it. I hope electric car manufacturers like Tesla will consider using QNX and integrate the car fully with BlackBerry phones. Like a boss.

Posted via CB10

So the previous post about the platform had a native BB10 application was false then as I stated. their platform app is HTML5 based prior to this press announcement.

proprietary software in a car... what could possibly go wrong? m)

greetings from germany, k_f

If goooogle acquires BlackBerry I am out. Never to look back.

goooogle is the biggest spy agency in the world. Screw apple as well.

Back to the flip phone it will be if this is the case.

Posted via CB10