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BlackBerry, Qualcomm expand automotive partnership

The "non-exclusive" design agreement will see select Qualcomm hardware optimized for BlackBerry's QNX software.

BlackBerry said on Thursday that it will use Qualcomm's hardware platforms as part of its push into the connected car space.

The "non-exclusive" design agreement will see select Qualcomm hardware optimized for BlackBerry's QNX software for use in areas such as virtual cockpit controllers, telematics, electronic control gateways and infotainment systems. BlackBerry said it will also optimize its over-the-air software and credential management services for use within certain Qualcomm Snapdragon modems.

QNX is one of BlackBerry's main pillars for its software and Internet of Things strategy, especially as the company pivots from hardware to software. The platform enables developers to partition automotive applications based on relation to safety and critical systems, ensuring that any breach in one application can be contained.

Qualcomm and BlackBerry have been partners for more than a decade, primarily through BlackBerry use of Qualcomm's chipset in its mobile devices. When BlackBerry debuted its QNX Hypervisor 2.0 in June, Qualcomm was signed up to use the system for some its digital cockpit applications, as well as for its Snapdragon 820A automotive platform.

The automotive sector has become a focal point for technology makers, as the industry races to bring more autonomous features to market and put self-driving cars on the road. For BlackBerry, the automotive industry has become core to its transformation strategy and CEO John Chen's efforts to shift away from consumer electronics and back toward selling products business-to-business.

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