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A closer look at QNX Neutrino - the rock solid foundation of BlackBerry 10

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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A closer look at QNX Neutrino - the rock solid foundation of BlackBerry 10
Prepare to put your geeky hats on, as we summarize the technical details behind the new BlackBerry 10 mobile OS, as found in the newly announced BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 handsets. The operating system is developed by QNX Software Systems, an Ontario-based company, which RIM acquired back in 2010.

The QNX Neutrino real time operating system (RTOS) is based on POSIX, like Linux. Its main advantage is how slim and optimized the kernel is, something the founders call a Micro Kernel architecture. The first edition was in 1982, and it has been polished and ironed out ever since. The source code is just 100 000 lines, compared to, say, Linux's 9 million, or Windows's 70 million lines of code. This means extreme reliability with very little chances to crash.

No wonder it is used in nuclear plants, defense networks and medical applications, or, as the QNX Systems founder Dan Dodge puts it, "QNX is used in systems where the cost of failure is very high". The core supports most modern processors, and multi-threading on 64-core systems and more. Alternatively, it can talk simultaneously to different chips over a network, and they won't know they are on different devices in different geographical locations, such as when using your BlackBerry GPS, and here the possibilities are endless.

Drivers and applications sit in their own isolated memory address, and operate independently. This way when something gives up the ghost, it doesn't drag the whole system down with it. Neutrino supports Adobe Air and Flash, Java, OpenGL, POSIX and WebKit, among others, so developers will have an easy time programming in any of the language of their choosing, instead of being locked down to one environment. 

All programming languages are equal objects for the platform, and you can have both Adobe Air and JavaScript in one and the same app, working in tandem. It is also a real time operating system, which, in its car reincarnation, means it constantly monitors the car's speed, tire pressure or engine temperature, and an app can be built to take action when the values change. Have a look at the QNX technology concept car presentation with a Bentley Continental at CES 2013 for better understanding the possibilities with Neutrino.



Another advantage of QNX's Neutrino is that it can address larger memory pages than typical, which boosts performance, especially on ARM-based chipsets. This advanced memory management can improve their performance up to 30%, so with a 1GHz CPU, the user will feel as if using 1.3GHz chipset, just because this functionality is built into Neutrino.

Therefore it is clear that the BlackBerry 10 foundation is one of the most sound and optimized you can find because of QNX Neutrino, and RIM has built a great interface and core applications on top of it. Now the hard part is to keep the app store growing further from the mouthwatering 70,000 apps count at launch, and ultimately convince people to go back to BlackBerry devices, which new BB10 ambassadors like Alicia Keys should be making easier to do now.

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posted on 31 Jan 2013, 08:12 1

1. champ_vl (Posts: 44; Member since: 31 Aug 2012)


Wow that is really impressive. Most of the mobile OS are Linux at core except for the iOS and Windows and this QNX is really nice. I hope people will understand and take advantage of this OS and especially developers because without apps any OS is doomed *cough Windowsphone OS*

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 08:24 8

2. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"Most of the mobile OS are Linux at core except for the iOS and Windows and this QNX is really nice."

iOS = Unix
Linux and QNX = Unix-like

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 10:48 1

11. sprockkets (Posts: 950; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


iOS and OSX are a combination of BSD Unix and the Mach kernel, not = unix

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 09:09 6

3. pokharkarsaga (Posts: 346; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


Hardware hungry Android take notes from Blackberry 10 os.I really wish BB os to overstep current mobile oses. because its a premium os(optimal use of hardware).

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 09:26

4. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


What about Windows Phone OS ?

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 09:46

5. daftastic (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)


What's your point? Windows Phones use dual-core processors only.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 09:53

6. PhansMuneeb (Posts: 337; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


it supports upto 64 cores? The Phonearena has the article mentioning it...i'm too lazy to find it :)

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 09:56

7. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Windows Phone OS is not so "layered" as Android OS.
And my point is that Windows Phone OS is also not so "hardware hungry" as Android OS.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 10:00 1

8. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"Windows Phones use dual-core processors only."

Not true!
WindowsPhone 8 use NT kernel and supports multi-core CPUs of up to 64 cores.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 11:51

12. sprockkets (Posts: 950; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Use /= support !

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 14:19

14. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4650; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Here was also word ONLY, but it is not true because it also can USE 64!

posted on 01 Feb 2013, 00:43

25. daftastic (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)


LOL I read the comment wrong. I also meant to say WP OS can capably run on dual-cores therefore they're not resource hogs like Android.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 20:27

18. jroc74 (Posts: 4076; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


If we see BB10 on older BB devices....and running good. ...then we will talk about Android taking notice.

I have a dual core phone with 1GB of ram....and it is one of the smoothest and least laggiest Android phones I had. I really dont get where ppl say Android is hardware hungry....or needs quad core to run smooth.

On some phones....you can blame the custom UI's for poor performance. Sense UI was the smoothest UI on Android in 2010....with a single core chip and 512MB ram. And in some cases.....the custom UI is smoother than stock Android....as Sense UI was in 2010. Thats not a hardware hunger issue....thats a software coding issue.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 10:09 5

9. rufdanNG (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Jan 2013)


The BB10 os is solid.intresting

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 10:15

10. Atrixboyyy (Posts: 227; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)


"The source code is just 100 000 lines, compared to, say, Linux's 9 million, or Windows's 70 million lines of code" are they supposed to be talking about android in windows phone8?

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 13:06 1

13. downphoenix (Posts: 2235; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


The thing is, QNX is a desktop operating system. In fact, the Playbook is the first non-desktop device QNX has ever been put on. The OS is quite beastly. With how lightweight the code is, if you encounter a crash, etc it is more likely to be hardware than software related.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 14:50

15. clickonflick (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Jan 2013)


From a layman's point of view and Blackberry fans, Blackberry 10 would have stood up to it's hype but actually it has nothing really out-of-the-box features as was expected.But still it does make u go wow about it.

From a layman's point of view and Blackberry fans, Blackberry 10 would have stood up to it's hype but actually it has nothing really out-of-the-box features as was expected.But still it does make u go wow about it.

Here some pros and cons are listed
clickonflick.com/blackberry-10-dev-alpha-review/
i was planning to definitely buy this phone but after reading it's review, i have changed mind.
i was planning to definitely buy this phone but after reading it's review, i have changed mind.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 20:33

20. jroc74 (Posts: 4076; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I dont get it...the cons is easily fixable.

Nothing out the box new.....it might not be new...but its presented differently.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 20:41

21. jroc74 (Posts: 4076; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Hard for beginners.....thats happens when any OS goes thru a major change.

Killer apps? Can we let it actually come out first before we complain about apps? I read on an Android forum many devs ported over apps to BB10. That could actually sway some ppl to switch to BB. If iOS apps get ported over...same thing. The dev said it was easy to port them over too.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 18:44

16. MC1123 (Posts: 1220; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


there was an article about qnx systems in crackberry, and to clarify things qnx is not really a Unix platform.. just read it on crackberry instead

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 20:22

17. belovedson (Posts: 821; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)


Are theoogle apps available.

Gmail
Google voice
Talk
Plus

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 23:40

22. MC1123 (Posts: 1220; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


sadly not yet... i think google is trying to be close on its ecosystem! since they see that android has no signs of going down...shame on google!

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 23:41

23. MC1123 (Posts: 1220; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


and i mean, if samsung will fully support its own OS, tizen OS, lets see if android can still reign!

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 20:32 1

19. jroc74 (Posts: 4076; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


After reading this.....this has some serious potential to give iOS and Android...AND WP a run for its money.

I already liked what I saw from a UI, feature perspective....this makes me like it even more.

posted on 31 Jan 2013, 23:42

24. MC1123 (Posts: 1220; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


true, so i really hope that BlackBerry will give fast updates on their BlackBerr10 devices!

posted on 01 Feb 2013, 06:47 1

26. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Wow. Great piece of info.
Now I wish BB focuses on licensing this out..
Had Google used this code for Android, now we would have the perfect OS already

posted on 03 Feb 2013, 20:13

27. jroc74 (Posts: 4076; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I posted recently at another site...I hope Google can switch to QNX in the future..

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