BlackBerry, the former smartphone giant, is now facing new competition from Apple and Google in the car market, where it has been successful with its QNX operating system. Apple and Google are expanding their presence and influence in the car market with their Android Automotive and CarPlay platforms, which are replacing QNX in some of the new models. BlackBerry is trying to defend its position and market share, but it may face the same fate as it did in the smartphone market.
BlackBerry, which stopped making smartphones in 2016, has been focusing on its software and security business, especially in the car market, where it has been a dominant player for years. BlackBerry’s QNX operating system is a secure and reliable platform that powers the infotainment systems, digital instrument clusters, telematics, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) of more than 235 million vehicles worldwide. QNX is used by more than 40 automakers and tier-1 suppliers, including Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, and Hyundai.
BlackBerry has been leveraging its expertise and reputation in security and software to offer end-to-end solutions for the car market, such as the BlackBerry IVY platform, which is a cloud-connected software platform that enables automakers to create personalized driver and passenger experiences, improve vehicle performance, and enhance safety and security. BlackBerry has also been investing in innovation and research, such as the BlackBerry Jarvis tool, which is a cloud-based software composition analysis tool that helps automakers scan and secure their software supply chain.
A new threat from Apple and Google
However, BlackBerry’s dominance in the car market is being challenged by Apple and Google, which are extending their smartphone platforms to the car market, with their Android Automotive and CarPlay platforms. Android Automotive is a full-fledged operating system that runs natively on the car’s hardware, and offers a customized user interface, Google services, and access to the Google Play Store. CarPlay is a software that connects the iPhone to the car’s infotainment system, and offers a simplified user interface, Siri voice control, and access to the App Store.
Apple and Google are gaining traction and popularity in the car market, as they offer a familiar and seamless user experience, a rich and diverse app ecosystem, and a constant and frequent update cycle. Apple and Google are also partnering with some of the leading automakers and suppliers, such as Volvo, Polestar, General Motors, Honda, and Harman, to integrate their platforms into their new models. Some of these models, such as the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, have dropped QNX for Android Automotive, while others, such as the 2023 Honda Civic, have dropped QNX for CarPlay.
A familiar scenario for BlackBerry
The situation that BlackBerry is facing in the car market is reminiscent of the situation that it faced in the smartphone market, where it was once the leader, but was quickly overtaken by Apple and Google, with their iPhone and Android platforms. BlackBerry failed to adapt and innovate in the smartphone market, and lost its customers and market share to its rivals, who offered more attractive and advanced features, services, and apps. BlackBerry eventually exited the smartphone market, and licensed its brand and software to other manufacturers.
BlackBerry may face the same fate in the car market, if it does not respond and compete effectively with Apple and Google, who have more resources, capabilities, and influence in the market. BlackBerry may lose its customers and market share to its rivals, who offer more appealing and integrated platforms, services, and apps. BlackBerry may eventually exit the car market, and license its software and security to other providers.