BlackBerry Ltd , the one-time smartphone market leader, has been washed out of almost all the smartphone markets across the world, but there exists one industry in which it is still a market leader. BlackBerry acquired Ottawa’s QNX in 2010, a firm that makes back-end software system responsible for powering many of the connected cars.
Apple, Google need BlackBerry for cars
QNX director of global sales Derek Kuhn in an interview with Amber Kanwar on ‘The Disruptors,’ said that last year more than 60m cars deployed QNX’s software. QNX is used as the platform to back infotainment systems that offer users with technologies like GPS and media.
Both BlackBerry Ltd rivals Apple Inc. and Google, only recently started taking an interest in the automotive space. Kuhn reckons the links between the firms are vary different now than they were ten years ago.
“Apple and Google have been partners with QNX for many years in the automotive space. We’ve had to work with them to enable things like CarPlay and Android automotive,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn argued that it is good for the firm to have QNX customers working with Apple and Google currently. “Those things have to run on something in the car, which QNX has solutions for. We’ll continue to work with them as partners going forward.”
Phone sales at record low
Meanwhile, sales of BlackBerry Ltd phones continued to decline as the firm prepares to release its first flagship Android device. Juniper Research estimates that for the first time since 2005, the Canadian firm sold less than a million devices. Brands like Microsoft and LG also suffered losses with Lumia phone revenues registering a decline of 54% in Q3 on YoY basis.
Microsoft is making a shift away from devices to a platform-based business model, and the research firm believes it to be the reason for the decline in Lumia sales. Microsoft shipped 5.8m Lumia phones in Q3, a decline of 38% on YoY basis over last year. LG smartphone sales too declined on YoY basis in Q3, leading to a drop in profits.
Overall, Q3 was a mixed one for the smartphones. The growth in smartphone shipments slowed on YoY basis, and was noted at 8.4%. The overall shipments reached 342.5m. Apple was the clear winner with a record sales in the quarter, while Samsung, is ‘beginning to turn its mobile unit around’, the research firm says.