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QNX to power BlackBerry handsets too

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RIM has plans for QNX to replace its existing handset operating system, though there will be one more version before the company adopts a single-OS strategy.

RIM bought QNX last April and is using the OS on its PlayBook tablet, but has now confirmed that it will be using the diminutive OS in its phones too, with one new release of the BlackBerry OS as a stepping stone to a common platform.

Version 6 of BlackBerry OS is only just out of the door, and has been well received as matching but not exceeding the competition. Version 7 is now in development, but that will be the final version of the OS as RIM expects to have its entire portfolio of applications ported over to QNX by then.

Your correspondent evaluated QNX for a set-top box about 12 years ago, but found the lack of Java support intolerable (we ended up using VxWorks). So it's strange to hear that Java support remains problematic, with development on the PlayBook limited to JavaScript and AIR (and native QNX of course).

But that's a temporary problem, and one that RIM will need to swiftly address if it's going to bring the 10,000 applications currently available on BlackBerry handsets to the PlayBook.

Once that's done there seems little reason to maintain separate platforms, so it comes as no great surprise that RIM won't. ®

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