RIM brings QNX OS to BlackBerry 'Colt' phone

Summary:RIM's next-gen BlackBerry smartphone will be powered by the same QNX OS as its PlayBook tablet, but may only have a single-core CPU and lack BES support out-of-box.

Boy Genius Report is reporting that Research In Motion is working on a full-touchscreen smartphone that runs QNX, the same OS as its PlayBook tablet. The worst part isn't that the QNX-powered phone won't be ready until the first quarter of 2012, but that RIM doesn't seem like it has learned from the mistakes from the PlayBook.

Let's start with something positive. RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis acknowledged back in June that the BlackBerry OS needs to be upgraded to "a higher performance platform" in order to remain competitive in the smartphone "features and performance arms race," according to Between the Lines' Larry Dignan. That is why RIM is transitioning its phones to the QNX platform: it offers full Flash and HTML 5 for a smooth multimedia experience, multitasking capabilities and an intuitive touch interface. According to BGR's anonymous source at RIM, the QNX-powered phone codenamed BlackBerry 'Colt' is already undergoing internal testing so at least we know it is coming down the pipe.

That said, the tipster has revealed that the Colt is only a single-core phone at the moment, after Lazaridis said in June that upcoming phones will have an upgraded processor along with a more powerful OS. With more and more multi-core phones debuting between now and 2012, the hardware in this QNX-powered Colt is already behind its Android and iOS competitors -- and it hasn't even launched yet. Hopefully the single-core CPU in the test version of the Colt is not reflective of the final product specs.

Beyond just adapting the QNX platform to a smaller device, BGR is told that RIM's first QNX smartphone will "launch without support for current BlackBerry Enterprise Server versions," which means users will have to access their Microsoft Exchange emails via ActiveSync out-of-box, at least until the BES for QNX is ready. Is RIM going for a PlayBook redux?

RIM certainly has its work cut out to make its launch schedule for the Colt in the first quarter in 2012. No wonder Jefferies analyst Peter Misek is pessimistic about RIM’s upcoming quarter and predicts the Colt won't actually launch until second half of 2012. But for the sake of BB users, I hope RIM takes its time to fine-tune the Colt so its shortcomings don't end up overshadowing an otherwise good product like they did with the PlayBook.

[Source: Between the Lines, BGR, TechCrunch via WashingtonPost]

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Topics: Security, BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility

About

Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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