RIM Wants to Team With Car Aftermarket

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In a surprising new opportunity for the car electronics aftermarket, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion addressed the KnowledgeFest show stating it plans to make its PlayBook tablet and BlackBerry phones an integral part of car AV, navigation and information systems.

It will open up access to the upcoming 7-inch PlayBook tablet to suppliers, and it expects to see its tablet used on the dashboard and in car headrests. Industry veteran Bob Perry, now at RIM (and at Panasonic beforehand) told showgoers that 1,000 car-related apps will be available for the PlayBook when it launches in the first quarter. And apps will be exchangeable between the PlayBook tablet and BlackBerries even though they are on different operating systems.

“This is an opportunity that will present itself for many of us as this product begins to ship…I’m about helping the people in this industry that already make great products to go to market with a Built for BlackBerry brand on them…we want to partner with you…” said Perry.

When asked if it the PlayBook would go on the dash, Perry said, “Yes, in the front of the car, and yes on the back of the headrest.”

The PlayBook provides a larger 7-inch screen suited to viewing in the car and a rugged operating system—QNX—which is used by auto makers in many cars. So the PlayBook will be able to tie into the car’s system. And the PlayBook has WiFi, Bluetooth and an HDMI connection to send video to other screens in the car. And it is DLNA compliant so it can easily network with other devices.

Perry said that the PlayBook can tie into the car’s OS because, “QNX is the OS running behind the scenes of a lot of vehicles. Virtually all of the data in the vehicle will become available to apps so you can envision the range of apps that could run in the car; everything from monitoring your teen to… route optimization. It’s virtually limitless. We expect to see a virtual explosion.”

He sees kids watching YouTube in the car and using Skype on the PlayBook. There are already voice driven apps for the BlackBerry that will be available. There could conceivably be an app that would help you tune your hot rod car.

He expects that car stereo installers will be able to benefit from installations centering on the PlayBook that could tie in with peripherals in a $1,000+ system. Plus there will be commercial market installations.

Suppliers interested in creating PlayBook accessories should contact Sean Taylor, director of the BlackBerry accessories business unit.

DICE Electronics said it has already sent engineers to investigate BlackBerry connectivity.

Scosche’s Rick Ross said of the announcement, ‘I think it’s awesome.”

Source: CEoutlook

Photo: Bob Perry, RIM VP accessories handheld business unit

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