Carlo Chiarello, RIM’s business unit VP of GSM/UMTS, recently spoke about their progress for putting the PlayBook’s QNX-based operating system into smartphones. This is something RIM has admitted as an eventuality, but anything more specific beyond that has been hard to come by. Apparently here are already prototypes running the OS, which Chiarello says “look marvellous”, and though he was coy about a launch window, he did say that we can expect an all-touch form factor in a handset running at their upper tier. We already know that RIM’s QNX phones will be pretty high-end, since execs have said they’re waiting on dual-core processors before making the switch.
Timing will be a big factor; RIM’s doing the damnedest to get these phones out as quickly as possible, but we’re hearing that there are still problems getting these things out the door, and will not likely have anything new (other than the Bold 9900) for the back-to-school season. Android and iOS hardware has been outpacing BlackBerry for a long time now, but this switch to dual-core processors and a brand new operating system will mark the beginning of a big push to catch up. Whether app developers are willing go along for the ride is another story altogether, but once the dust settles and all of the functions from the old BlackBerry OS are plugged in the new QNX one, we may see a new and reinvigorated BlackBerry ecosystem. Here’s hoping, anyway.