BlackBerry vs Apple: The Battle for the Automotive Industry

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Range Rover Cluster QNX

The QNX-powered instrument cluster and infotainment system on the Range Rover.

Last week, Laptop Mag published an article titled “How Apple Is Taking Over Your Car”, which indicates that Apple is making a big push in the automotive industry, using Siri Eyes Free.  In addition, Apple’s careers page hints at additional services in the pipeline, with AirPlay widely believed to be the next service that the smartphone maker brings to cars.

Ferrari Adds iPad Mini and Siri Eyes Free into FF

Apple has been making in-roads in the automotive industry, having reached partnerships with BMW, Mercedes, GM, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Honda, and Ferrari to integrate Siri Eyes Free.  For example, Ferrari is putting the iPad Mini and Siri Eyes Free into its FF supercar.  This past week, Apple and Volkswagen announced the iBeetle, which contains apps specifically designed for the Apple ecosystem.

Apple’s push into cars is largely a result of the market share of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, giving automakers a strong incentive to add Apple-compatible features into their cars.

BlackBerry’s QNX Still Gold Standard in Automotive


The instrument cluster and 17″ display on this Bentley concept car are powered by BlackBerry’s QNX.

While Apple has started to bring a few of its apps to the automotive industry, it does not have an automotive OS.  In contrast, BlackBerry subsidiary QNX’s CAR 2.0 platform, as demonstrated on the QNX Bentley, is essentially the industry’s gold standard.  The best example is GM’s well-known OnStar system, which is powered by QNX Neutrino.  With a long list of customers including Acura, Audi, BMW, GM, Hyundai and Porsche, QNX has a significant lead in the industry.

Proprietary versus Open Standards

Apple is well-known for forcing customers to buy its proprietary offerings, and this has remained the same for cars.  Connectors to the iPod or iPhone are essentially useless if the owner of the car is not an Apple user.  In addition, while the first buyer of a car might be an Apple user, subsequent owners may not be.  Overall, offering proprietary solutions in the car dramatically reduces the usefulness of these otherwise cool technologies.

QNX Embraces Open Standards, Supports More Than BlackBerry Smartphones

On the other hand, QNX supports open standards.  For example, on April 17, QNX announced it is bringing the 7Digital music store to the QNX CAR 2.0 platform.  This allows BlackBerry 10 users to access music they purchased on their Z10 while in the car, without needing to have their phone inside the car.  Because 7Digital is also pre-installed on other smartphones like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, this 7Digital feature is also accessible to consumers who use non-BlackBerry smartphones.

With the head start and support for open standards, QNX Car 2.0 has significant advantages over Apple’s current offerings.  However, Apple’s relatively large smartphone and tablet market share, and its apparent interest in cars means that it will continue to seek to make inroads in the industry.  It is believed that Apple will continue to bring individual apps (like Apple Maps) to cars, until the company is ready to launch an automotive OS.

For more information about the QNX Car 2.0 platform, take a look at this feature-by-feature demo on a Jeep Wrangler.

Who do you think has the upper hand in the BlackBerry versus Apple showdown in the automotive industry?  Please let us know in the comments below.

  • manni85

    Most cars are already in built with apple technology so they have the upper hand so far car service

  • William Archer

    PS: Those of you fortunate enough to be able to go to BlackBerry Live in May ( will be able to see and hear more about the future of Mobile according to BlackBerry and QNX. It’s worth the trip if this is your field

  • William Archer

    QNX is the heart of a really Mobile ecosystem. I have always associated QNX with movement and action. In general QNX is the Go To preferred choice for mission critical systems such as the International Space Station, Air traffic control systems, surgical equipment, and even nuclear power plants. As seen on the new Z10 and Q10 devices from BlackBerry the great built in multimedia features have QNX quietly turning up in everything from in-dash radios and infotainment systems to the latest casino gaming terminals.

    These sorts of domains belong to a standards based, industrial grade, truly multi-tasking safe and secure operating system like QNX. Can you imagine if IOS or Windows was in control of running a nuclear power plant or your car moving at 160km/h?

    BlackBerry has bet huge on QNX which has been refined and made bullet proof over almost 30 years now, I believe. BlackBerry devices are a small part of the QNX ecosystem (although, perhaps, the most visible to the casual observer).