Sci-tech

BlackBerry in software deal with Ford, first with an automaker

BlackBerry in software deal with Ford, first with an automaker

Ford has been using software built by BlackBerry's QNX unit for its Sync3 in-car infotainment system, but previously bought it through Panasonic Corp., QNX general manager John Wall said.

BlackBerry has now announced that a new agreement with Ford Motor Company has been signed for the expanded use of BlackBerry's QNX and security software.

That opens an avenue into Ford's increasing push into automated vehicles, as well as a generally expanding use of software in automobiles.

Ford's SYNC 3 has an interface that includes one-box search menus, automatic wireless software updates and an app network called Sync AppLink that allows customers to connect their smartphone to their vehicle and control compatible apps - including Spotify, Pandora, Glympse, NPR One and iHeart Auto - using voice commands or buttons on the vehicle display screen.

The combination of BlackBerry's expertise in security and QNX's mission-critical operating systems and software for automotive applications, allows the company to offer the most secure, trusted and reliable platform that can power every aspect of the connected vehicle.

The head of BlackBerry QNX, John Wall, says the agreement is the first to cut out the middleman between BlackBerry and an automaker. "The possibilities of where we can be used in the vehicle is basically in the entire vehicle".

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Being recognized as a Tier One supplier, rather than having to go through other suppliers to sell to companies like Ford, is important for BlackBerry's future in the automotive industry.

"We're starting to work with Ford now", Wall said. "Growing our expertise, experience and use of the BlackBerry QNX embedded software platforms will help ensure we deliver the high-quality, highly secure experience that our customers expect".

"Ultimately, we find the reports on Apple's alleged encroachment in Ottawa simply reinforces what we have always known: We have the best embedded software and security engineers in the world, and Canada is pretty great", said Beard. "I believe our expertise in secure embedded software makes us the preferred technology provider to put the smart in the auto", said John Chen, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at BlackBerry.

In 2014, Ford ditched Microsoft in favour of BlackBerry's (BB.TO, BBRY.O) QNX system for its dashboard software.

"I believe our expertise in secure embedded software makes us the preferred technology provider to put the smart in the auto".

"QNX is a natural fit", Wall said. But Ford wouldn't provide any comment on its product plans for QNX. Tapping the software directly could mean Ford will use QNX for more modules in its in-car services for drivers.


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