CES 2016 Roundup: BlackBerry & QNX

CES 2016 was an exciting time for BlackBerry as one could expect. Starting early, BlackBerry attended the #Pepcom event, showcasing their top three devices before heading upstairs on Wednesday for a press conference & QNX feature.

If you're like us, the QNX show was the go-to event. Check out their new ADAS software, and be sure to follow our links below to get a closer look at the tech-packed Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Highlander.

If you happened to miss any announcements, be sure to check out our visual breakdown:

Tuesday, Jan 5th

BlackBerry attends Pepcom event among other top tech companies to showcase the BlackBerry Priv, Passport and Classic devices. BlackBerry PR Rep Kara Yi (@KaraHoon) Tweeted an image of the booth:

Wednesday, Jan 6th

BlackBerry held a press conference on the 2nd floor of the Sands Expo inside the Venetian Hotel where we got a handful of news from new BBM partnerships to QNX software announcements.

BlackBerry Launches New Software for Driverless Cars

"Every year, at CES, QNX Software Systems showcases its immense range of solutions for infotainment systems, digital instrument clusters, telematics systems, advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS), and in-car acoustics. This year is no different. Well, actually… let me take that back. Because this year, we are also announcing two new and very important software platforms: one that can speed the development of automated driving systems, and one that can transform how acoustics applications are implemented in the car." - Paul Leroux, QNX

Essentially, BlackBerry unveiled a new software that improves safety and operation procedures for driverless vehicles. This pushes the idea that BlackBerry is banking on higher-margin mobile-management software to fully reach projections in their software sales - opposed to the lackluster hardware sales figures.

Here's BlackBerry's details on the technology:

QNX Platform for ADAS
The automotive industry is at an inflection point, with autonomous and semiautonomous vehicles moving from theory to reality. The new QNX Platform for ADAS is designed to help drive this industry transformation. Based on our deep automotive experience and 30-year history in safety-critical systems, the platform can help automotive companies reduce the time and effort of building a full range of ADAS and automated driving applications:

  • from informational ADAS systems that provide a multi-camera, 360° surround view of the vehicle…
  • to sensor fusion systems that combine data from multiple sources such as cameras and radar…
  • to advanced high-performance systems that make control decisions in fully autonomous vehicles

Highlights of the platform include:

  • The QNX OS for Safety, a highly reliable OS pre-certified at all of the automotive safety integrity levels needed for automated driving systems.
  • An OS architecture that can simplify the integration of new sensor technologies and purpose-built ADAS processors.
  • Frameworks and reference implementations to speed the development of multi-camera vision systems and V2X applications (vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications).
  • Pre-integrated partner technologies, including systems-on-chip (SoCs), vision algorithms, and V2X modules, to enable faster time-to-market for customers.

To learn more, check out the ADAS Press Release.

 

QNX Acoustics Management Platform

Few know that QNX is a leader in automotive acoustics, with well over 40M QNX injected systems shipped globally. At CES, BlackBerry and QNX are putting on a ton of demonstrations - not only for the advances ADAS systems, but to reiterate just why they're a leader in the field. If you are in Vegas this week, visit the BlackBerry-QNX booth #325 in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center to get some hands-on experience.

QNX is presenting a "new, holistic approach to managing acoustics in the car" the QNX Acoustics Management Platform (AMP):

  • Enables automakers to enhance the audio and acoustic experience for drivers and passengers, while reducing system costs and complexity.
  • Replaces the traditional piecemeal approach to in-car acoustics with a unified model: automakers can now manage all aspects of in-car acoustics efficiently and holistically, for easier integration and tuning, and for faster time-to-production.
  • Reduces hardware costs with a new, low-latency audio architecture that eliminates the need for dedicated digital signal processors or specialized external hardware.
  • Integrates a full suite of acoustics modules, including QNX Acoustics for Voice (for handsfree systems), QNX Acoustics for Engine Sound Enhancement, and the brand new QNX In-Car Communication (ICC).

"For anyone who has struggled to hold a conversation in a car at highway speeds, QNX ICC enhances the voice of the driver and relays it to loudspeakers in the back of the vehicle. Instead of shouting or having to turn around to be heard, the driver can talk normally while keeping his or her eyes on the road. QNX will demonstrate ICC this week at CES, in its latest technology concept car, based on a Toyota Highlander." - Paul Leroux, QNX

 

A First Look At The New QNX Technology Concept Vehicle

BlackBerry and the team always seem most excited for their concept vehicle shows each year at CES. Last year, we saw the stunning QNX connected Maserati Quattroporte GTS which featured the ability to simplify driving tasks, warn of possible collisions, and enhance driver awareness. The car can even recommend an appropriate speed for upcoming curves.

This year, BlackBerry is showing off a Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Highlander - both packed with new technologies that push the limits on what QNX is capable of.

“From sensors to smartphones, the car is experiencing a massive influx of new technologies, and automakers must blend these in a way that is simple, helpful, and non-distracting.” That statement comes from a press release we issued a year ago, but it’s as true today as it was then — if not more so. The fact is, the car is undergoing a massive transformation as it becomes more connnected and more automated. And with that transformation comes higher volumes of data and greater system complexity. 

But here’s the thing. From the driver’s perspective, this complexity doesn’t matter, nor should it matter. In fact, it can’t matter. Because the driver needs to stay focused on the most important thing: driving. (At least until fully automated driving becomes reality, at which point a nap might be in order!) Consequently, it’s the job of automakers and their suppliers to harness all these technologies in a simple, intuitive way that makes driving easier, safer, and more enjoyable. Specifically, they need to provide the driver with relevant, contextually sensitive information that is easy to consume, without distraction.

That is the challenge that the new QNX technology concept vehicle, based on a Toyota Highlander, sets out to explore."

 

Take a closer look at all the technology packed into these stunning vehicles by visiting the official QNX Blog.

 

BlackBerry & Sharecare Partnering To Accelerate Consumer-Driven Healthcare

Consumer driven health care has been making ground for years, and BlackBerry has long been in the health care field with their QNX technologies. Showing that dedication, they've teamed up with Sharecare ( "Founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Jeff Arnold as a home for your health. Just like you have social, professional, and creative profiles online, we believe an online health profile is the most important." ) to integrate Sharecare's proprietary fractal voice analysis into BlackBerry's secure messaging to increase consumer self-awareness, reduce stress and improve relationships, all while providing the gold-standard in consumer privacy.

Read the full release here: BlackBerryCentral

 

BlackBerry PRIV Coming to Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon (and Available Now on Vodafone UK)

Another announcement coming out of CES 2016 is more BlackBerry Priv availability. Starting today, UK folks can scoop up the Priv from Vodafone for Personal or Business lines:

Vodafone UK (Personal)

Vodafone UK (Business)

Here's what BlackBerry has to say: Moreover, PRIV is coming very soon to three new carriers in North America: Verizon, T-Mobile (January 26th) and Sprint. For North America, this means that PRIV will soon be available from all seven leading mobile carriers, as it’s already available via AT&TRogersBell, and TELUS.

Read the full release HERE.

 

John Chen and Ron Louks Discuss Priv & Future Devices

"At CES 2016, BlackBerry CEO John Chen discussed why the company has no plans to get out of the smartphone market, despite job cuts and pressure from analysts and investors. 

Indeed, while Chen says the company is still making it a goal to sell 5 million devices a year, his focus is on making money in that business.

"There’s a reasonable shot of getting to 5 million units,” Chen says.

In a few short points, here's what you need to know about statements made on Wednesday:

  • Marshmallow 6.0 Update Planned For Priv By End of March
  • No New BlackBerry 10 Devices Planned for 2016
  • Potentially Two New Android Devices
  • 10.3.3 On Track for March, 10.3.4 Later

Nothing major was announced as some may have expected in the handset division. Stay tuned for MWC 2016 for new devices.

Sources: BlackBerry, Inside BlogsQNX Blogs

That's It For CES 2016 - Did We Miss Something? Let Us Know!