IBM is teaming up with embedded operating system vendor QNX Software Systems, in move that challenges both Embedded Java and Windows CE.
The companies have signed a cross-licensing agreement, allowing IBM to use QNX? embedded Neutrino OS. QNX gains access to a number of IBM technologies, including speech recognition.
The companies will also be collaborating on specific projects, although IBM refused to give details, promising that announcements would follow in the next few months.
QNX' director of corporate communications, Mal Raddalgoda, said the partnership will address a range of non PC devices for the consumer market.
Both companies will also strive to propose standards for the embedded market, Raddalgoda said.
QNX? main market to date has been in industrial automation. But Raddalgoda said the Neutrino OS is already being used in a few consumer applications, such as a car navigation system.
The partnership appears aimed directly at Microsoft, which has lately been pushing its Windows CE operating system for the same type of applications. Earlier this week, Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates said that Internet connected consumer devices such as cameras and television sets would outnumber PCs within three to 10 years.
Raddalgoda believes Microsoft?s approach to the market is too rigid. ?Microsoft dictates a single user interface, which leaves the OEM no space for differentiation," he said. He pointed at the personal digital assistant market, where multiple, almost identical Windows CE devices compete with each other. ?It becomes a price war, and in the end the only one who benefits is Microsoft," he commented.
Another company eyeing the emerging market for digital consumer devices is Sun, which is developing a version of Java called Embedded Java to address this space.
QNX recently licensed Hewlett Packard?s 'clean room' implementation of Java, which differs from Embedded Java, and is implementing it on Neutrino. However, the HP Java Virtual Machine is not a part of the agreement between IBM and QNX.
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