RIM’s had a rough go of it in the past few months. But there’s a shiny, glittering ray of hope peeking out from the collecting rubble, and it’s called QNX. The Waterloo-based phone maker has been working for quite a while now on a replacement for its BlackBerry OS, and according to a report from BGR, the first QNX-powered handset (codenamed the BlackBerry Colt) will arrive in the first quarter of 2012.
Unfortunately RIM seems to be repeating past mistakes. After the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook, the tablet was called rushed and half-baked due to its lack of native email. The reason for this was that the company had to re-write code for its BlackBerry Enterprise Servers to work with QNX, which is apparently a very difficult task. These companies face a great deal of pressure from investors to launch as planned, so even without email, RIM pushed out the PlayBook anyway.
RIM seems to be making sacrifices with its first QNX phone, too. RIM had originally suggested that its first QNX-powered smartphones would pack dual-core chipsets. BGR’s source, on the other hand, says that the Colt only touts a single-core processor. Obviously, this could change between now and Q1 2012 (and we hope it will), but as it stands now a multi-core chipset isn’t part of the picture.
The unnamed source also suggested that RIM has a QNX-specific BlackBerry Enterprise Server in the works, but that the Colt won’t be backwards-compatible with current BES versions. Companies opting to use Microsoft Exchange email on the Colt will have to use ActiveSync.
With RIM struggling as it has been, the first QNX-powered handset needs to be better than we could have imagined, even if it’s late. Timeliness is important, but means nothing without a stellar product. Hopefully RIM will remember the PlayBook, and make sure this thing’s ready to go before launch. After all, there’s no new platform looming on the horizon to keep hope alive this time.