Tuesday, August 09, 2011

RIM's first QNX BlackBerry smartphone coming in Q1 2012, sans BES support

Until now, the only QNX-based device that RIM has sold was the BlackBerry PlayBook, but beginning in Q1 of 2012, that will be changed with the launch of the BlackBerry Colt, RIM's first QNX-powered smartphone.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2012It's been known for months, and assumed, before that, that QNX would eventually wind up on BlackBerry smartphones, supplanting BlackBerry OS with RIM's next-generation mobile device platform.

There are multiple problems with such a Q1 2012 release, not the least of which is that means it could be as many as seven months without a QNX BlackBerry. In addition, Reportedly, moving to QNX has been painful for RIM. You'll recall that the BlackBerry PlayBook launched without native calendar, contacts, and email apps, and much of that has been because of the difficulty RIM has had rewriting their BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) code to support QNX.

In addition, to maintain the superior battery life that RIM has always claimed for its devices, RIM is going to be forced to tone down the hardware specs, somewhat. Rather than using a dual-core processor, RIM may be forced to use a 1GHz single-core CPU with the Colt. At least, this is the configuration that RIM is currently internally testing, though of course this could change before launch.

Since dual-core CPUs are becoming more popular, with quad-core tablet and smartphone CPUs expected before the end of the year, this will put RIM far behind the curve with respect to performance, unless its software is somehow able to make up the difference.

This would also seem to point to RIM staying far, far away from LTE, at least for now. Right now, LTE devices have been seen to be quite power hungry. A newer generation of LTE chipsets might fix this to a point, and Qualcomm, for one, is expected to release a new generation of chipsets in 1H 2012.

Finally, here's the biggest problem. While, RIM is working on a QNX-specific BES, the Colt will launch without support for current BES versions. Instead, in what will most likely prove embarrassing, companies that want to use Microsoft Exchange email on the Colt will be forced to use Microsoft ActiveSync, which the Colt will support at launch.

So, if they're using ActiveSync, that means no BES, which is RIM's bread-and-butter. Things aren't looking too good if that's what is required.

That said, RIM recently introduced BlackBerry OS 7 and new devices. Our recommendation if you must go with RIM is for you to skip these devices. BB OS 7 will be marginalized as QNX devices take over; it's a dead-end just as any Symbian devices are for Nokia fans.


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