Update: QNX confirmed to us the validity of their statement to N4BB.

Though you presumably won’t see the handset maker’s logo anywhere on your dashboard or in the CarPlay interface, BlackBerry-owned QNX’s software for smartphone and display compatibility is apparently present in Apple’s new automotive technology. Tech site N4BB speculated and later updated (via iDownloadblogwith a statement from QNX that Apple’s existing partnership with the firm extends to implementing compatibility support for Apple CarPlay.

Connectivity to smartphones and other mobile devices is a key strength of QNX Software Systems’ platform for car infotainment systems, and many automakers and tier one automotive suppliers use our platform to implement smartphone/head-unit integration in their vehicles. We have a long-standing partnership with Apple to ensure high-quality connectivity with their devices, and this partnership extends to support for Apple CarPlay.

The move to work with QNX on CarPlay is interesting, not only because of the BlackBerry connection, but also for the approach used to launch CarPlay. Apple, of course, doesn’t manufacture vehicles so the service is dependent on partnerships with automakers, but the apparent QNX relationship on the software and hardware side illustrates Apple’s focus on getting the feature announced at WWDC last June into the hands of users and out of concept rather than building it in-house from the ground up.

Although iOS in the Car was originally announced at WWDC in June of last year, this week has brought an immense amount of news to the technology.

Apple began by announcing the rebranding and redesign of iOS in the Car as CarPlay at the International Motor Show in Geneva. Since then we’ve seen examples from Volvo, Mercedes-Benz (video), and Ferrari.

Our own Mark Gurman reported Apple’s plans for iOS and car integration months ahead of Apple’s unveiling of the feature at WWDC and debut this week. Now, as we see CarPlay implemented in specific models, we’re starting to unpack what the expect from the feature now and going forward.

Unclear is how deep the QNX partnership runs and if its something to which Apple is deeply married. We’ve reached out to QNX for clarification.

As CarPlay matures and adoption expands, it would not be surprising to see Apple want an increasing amount of control.

Expect more discussion on the topic ahead.

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13 Responses to “Apple’s CarPlay technology using BlackBerry subsidiary QNX?”

  1. Soluble Apps says:

    Manufacturers will need to also support competing systems for Android and Windows in time. It makes sense that there should be a third party providing the OS-agnostic support in the vehicle, as neither of those parties would want Apple to control the element that was in the car itself.


  2. Wouldn’t this mean its the car manufactures that use the tech rather than Apple?


  3. Author, are you sure? This doesn’t sound very ‘Apple.’


  4. danbridgland says:

    Apple have forged similar partnerships this in the past and continue to use many of them now, for example Skyhook, Google Maps, TomTom, Nuance etc, later they may elect to drop the partner and go it on their own for an all round better integrated experience once user adoption has been proven to be worth the investment in time and resource.


  5. alanaudio says:

    This sounds both plausible and sensible.

    I would imagine that the idea is that the car manufacturer installs a QNX operating system with hooks to allow the smartphone to both transmit data to the screen and receive information from the touch screen and physical controls ( knobs and switches ). Then the smartphone manufacturer would need to provide and app to interface their phone with the basic QNX system. I would guess that there would also need to be some sort of personality module so that somebody wanting to use an iPhone ends up with a Lightning connector, while other phones would have a personality module with a different connector.

    This would be a bit like when you buy a printer or scanner and have to use a driver that’s specific for your type of computer, but the device will work with any supported computer.

    This also fits in with things like how Ford recently mentioned adopting QNX instead of Microsoft’s dreadful Sync. When Ford’s name appeared in the list of CarPlay supporting manufacturers, I was a bit skeptical as they had already mentioned supporting QNX, but if CarPlay is based on QNX, it squares that particular circle and appears to have the potential to offer a solution that would work with most leading smartphones.


  6. I don’t think it means anything else than QNX based car systems can talk to iPhones using CarPlay, just as they imply that QNX based system have been connecting to iPhone and iPods.


    • Agreed. The implication that Carplay requires QNX seemed to appear out of no where. Haven’t seen any confirmation that all manufacturers are using QNX to provide Carplay in their vehicles. “Support for Apple Airplay” is much different than being a key component of Carplay.


  7. Josh Brown says:

    Googe play in the car! CarPlay…wait. o___o


  8. rahhbriley says:

    Ah I see. Is this similar to how iCloud runs on Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure?


  9. b9bot says:

    And QNX isn’t necessarily Blackberry software but the interface to the vehicle. IOS will be the system software running on CarPlay. I don’t think Apple would do cars if they had to rewrite the software completely from scratch using someone else’s OS.


  10. Carplay is an implementation of airplay using h.264 video streaming and adapting the music control channel to provide the feedback for button, dial or touchscreen control. Airplay runs on a variety of hardware I would assume that CarPlay will also be available on other RTOS’s the technology is widely adopted and supported.