Blackberry seeks to widen lead in connected-car market

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 31, 2014

While BlackBerry is heavily defeated by its rivals in the smartphone software market, it remains strong in the connected-vehicle market. Its QNX operating system has become the technology of choice for mapping, communication and entertainment systems for carmakers like Ford Motor Co., Porsche and BMW.

Mark Boyadjis, an analyst at IHS Automotive, remarked that the QNX is one of the more valuable assets in Blackberry right now. Blackberry is seeking to get a larger share of the connected-car market as demand for its smartphones continues to drop. Analysts expect the company’s revenue last quarter to have dropped 58 percent.

QNX accounts for around 2 percent of BlackBerry's sales, and has to possibly fend off challenges from rivals Apple and Google in the connected-car market. The market for connected-car technology -- worth $18 billion in 2012 – is expected to climb to $53 billion in 2018, according to GSMA, a global association of wireless carriers.

Technology companies around the world are shifting their attention to connected cars as smartphone growth rates slow. Apple unveiled the CarPlay platform at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, during which carmakers Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo showcased it.

Apple and BlackBerry, however, are more of collaborators rather than rivals in the connected–car market as QNX software allows CarPlay to recreate the iPhone experience on the console's screen, using icons familiar to iPhone users like "Phone," "Messages" and "Maps." Derek Kuhn, QNX's vice president of sales and marketing, told Bloomberg that they never thought of Apple as a competitor. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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