New BlackBerry Tablet OS powered by QNX Neutrino microkernel

News Flash: This afternoon, at BlackBerry Devcon, RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis unveiled the new BlackBerry® PlayBook, a multi-tasking, video-conferencing, enterprise-ready, and just plain cool tablet device. If you don't believe the cool part, check out the tech specs:

• 7” LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
• BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
• 1 GHz dual-core processor
• 1 GB RAM
• Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
• Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
• Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
• HDMI video output
• Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n
• Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
• Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
• Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
• Ultra thin and portable:
o Measures 5.1”x7.6”x0.4” (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
o Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)

And if that doesn't paint a good enough picture, try the video:

In his keynote, Mr. Lazaridis invited QNX CEO Dan Dodge to the stage and introduced him as the inventor of the BlackBerry Tablet OS, the new operating system for the BlackBerry Playbook. The new OS is based on the QNX Neutrino microkernel OS, which, if you are new to this blog, powers everything from BMWs to nuclear reactors to the space shuttle.

I don't usually quote from press releases, but here's what the RIM release says about QNX Neutrino:

The BlackBerry Tablet OS is built upon the QNX® Neutrino® microkernel architecture, one of the most reliable, secure and robust operating system architectures in the world. Neutrino has been field hardened for years and is being used to support mission-critical applications in everything from planes, trains and automobiles to medical equipment and the largest core routers that run the Internet. The new BlackBerry Tablet OS leverages and builds upon the many proven strengths of this QNX Neutrino architecture to support a professional grade tablet experience and to redefine the possibilities for mobile computing.

An OS Built for Developers
The Neutrino based microkernel architecture in the BlackBerry Tablet OS delivers exceptional performance, high scalability, Common Criteria EAL 4+ security, and support for industry standard tools that are already familiar to hundreds of thousands of developers. The OS is fully POSIX compliant enabling easy portability of C-based code, supports Open GL for 2D and 3D graphics intensive applications like gaming, and will run applications built in Adobe Mobile AIR as well as the new BlackBerry® WebWorks™ app platform announced today (which will allow apps to be written to run on BlackBerry PlayBook tablets as well as BlackBerry smartphones with BlackBerry® 6). The BlackBerry Tablet OS will also support Java enabling developers to easily bring their existing BlackBerry 6 Java applications to the BlackBerry Tablet OS environment.

For additional info on the new device, check out the BlackBerry PlayBook home page.


Connor said...


Paul N. Leroux said...

Me want, too.

Hm, let me correct that: Me want 2.

Rennie Allen said...

So who do I have to pay to get one *NOW* :-)

Paul N. Leroux said...

Rennie, I'm looking for the same person. :-)

Ryan said...

Come hang out in Waterloo...we have a couple kicking around :)

Paul N. Leroux said...

Deal, Ryan! I'm calling Bearskin Airlines as I type. ;-)


Lewis said...

Paul, I am an investor, not a software of os guy. I have read much on the QNXOS that has really peeked by interest in RIMM, however; I ran across this guys video http://www.thestreet.com/video/index.html?bcpid=1459183594&bctid=623562969001, and in it he says developers won't embrace the os. Now this is contrary to what I have read about QNX. Can you clarify this for me. Thanks

Paul N. Leroux said...

Lewis, I don't understand his point, either. In his blog post, Dan Dodge says, "First off, you can develop some really cool apps for BlackBerry PlayBook using Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Flash, and HTML5." (http://devblog.blackberry.com/2010/09/blackberry-tablet-os/) There is, from what I understand, a huge community of developers familiar with those environments...

Anonymous said...

So what about C/C++ would porting say, OpenOffice to the PlayBook?

Paul N. Leroux said...

Hi Anonymous. Earlier today, RIM announced the BlackBerry® Tablet OS SDK for Adobe® AIR® (http://press.rim.com/release.jsp?id=4674). One bullet of the release mentions support for "Extending Adobe AIR applications to use native C++ extensions, providing developers with the ability to write part of their application in the BlackBerry Tablet OS's native code (subject to availability of the upcoming BlackBerry Tablet OS native SDK)." But that's all I personally know so far...

Anonymous said...

Yes, downloaded it, managed to see under the hood. QNX Momentics and maybe Phindows, not sure on the latter though.

Anonymous said...

sorry, no Phindows, doesn't look like you can use native Photon widgets with it :/