QNX serves as a middleware layer for in-car infotainment systems including Ford Sync 3, and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The platform has a strong bent on security and is considered one of BlackBerry's crown jewels, especially as the company pivots from hardware to software.
On a media briefing today, BlackBerry's head of QNX John Wall said the new relationship with Ford will create a direct link between the two companies and shorten the turnaround time for new software developments.
Specifically, BlackBerry will dedicate a team to work with Ford on how to develop QNX technology in its vehicles, including QNX hypervisor, telematics, security and audio processing software. Wall stressed the pertinence of QNX's security features in light of the recent DDOS attacks that brought down much of the internet last week.
"Manufacturers and consumers must be able to trust that the software controlling their vehicles is secure, and that processing systems and security software protect malware or rogue software from taking over a vehicle," Wall said. "The future of automotive is all about embedded security and intelligence."
BlackBerry did not disclose the exact terms of the new arrangement with Ford, but Wall said deal is purely contractual. It's also worth noting that the deal basically cuts out the middle man between BlackBerry and Ford, as past distribution partnerships would usually go through a tier one supplier and not the OEM.
BlackBerry says QNX is currently running in more than 60 million vehicles. BlackBerry acquired QNX in 2010 and the platform now has more than 40 automakers -- such as Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes, Land Rover Range Rover, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen -- in the fold.