QNX, chumby Bring Personalized Internet Experience to the Car

QNX has announced support of the Chumby application environment.  The QNX Car Application Platform will allow users to access apps in the same way Chumby users can.

If you don’t know what a Chumby is, it’s a standalone open source internet enabled widget device (i know, that doesn’t mean anything to anyone)…basically it’s a little piece of the internet wherever you put it.  The device connects to Wi-Fi and rotates through the list of widgets the user has chosen (through the website) to be displayed.  Personally I had my eyes on the Chumby about 18 months before it was even released years ago… I ended up buying it as a platform for demonstrating the power of widgets and specifically to demonstrate the potential for users to customize the content delivered to them.This is another example of Tier-1s crossing over into consumer electronics platforms to rapidly deliver broad feature sets to their users rather than having to develop them in-house (i.e. the recent Harman / Aha Mobile acquisition).  There are currently about 1500 widgets from all over the spectrum.

As a long time Chumby user I have a particular love for the device, but I have to admit it’s not nearly as useful as I might have hoped.  The functionality is fine, but unfortunately the development community hasn’t taken off.  I’ve only got about 10 widgets that I find even marginally useful and after that I don’t have a need for 100 different zoo webcams (exaggeration but you get my point).
 Safety will of course continue to be an issue…  Chumby apps allow interaction (clicking, selecting, etc) so as with all new in-car technologies the driver distraction issue will need to be addressed.

I really do like the platform (even if it is flash light based), but I’m not entirely sure what widgets will be effective in an automotive environment. That being said, it’s an open source platform and users are constantly improving the ‘app store’ (for lack of a better term).  The introduction of an automotive partner should definitely spur the community to create some apps more appropriate to the car and I look forward to finding out what those might be.

 A couple note, the Chumby comes with a built in accelerometer which means the operating system can accept inputs from an accelerometer… Will the in-vehicle platform allow developers to take advantage of an accelerometer in the car? How much freedom will developers have to create apps for the car?
 The potential is there for some very fun and relevant apps, but it remains to be seen what apps will be thought up (or allowed to be developed).  Best of luck to QNX and in particular to Chumby that sprite little techno-blob-device that has a special place in my heart.

Full Press Release after the break

via [PR Newswire]

OTTAWA, Canada, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ — QNX Software Systems Co. and chumby industries today announced that the QNX® CAR™ Application Platform now supports chumby’s rich media Internet content for connected screens, including applications that deliver specialized content from major media partners and a vast developer community, including text, photo, video, and audio content.

As a result of this initiative, automakers and automotive tier one suppliers can build multimedia head units and other in-car infotainment products that provide access to more than 1,500 chumby applications for news, music, sports, social media, weather, and other services.

The QNX CAR Application Platform is designed to help automakers and tier one suppliers reduce the cost and effort of building in-car infotainment systems. It allows customers to evaluate a rich set of QNX technologies as well as pre-integrated third-party technologies from vendors such as chumby.

“QNX CAR is an ideal platform for the deployment of chumby’s dynamic applications and services, which allow automakers and suppliers to deliver a rich and personalized Internet experience to the car,” said Derrick Oien, CEO at chumby industries.

“This initiative demonstrates our ability to quickly integrate Adobe® Flash®-based applications, such as chumby apps, within the QNX CAR environment,” said Andrew Poliak, director of automotive business development at QNX Software Systems. “With this simplified integration, automakers may bring media-rich applications to market faster to keep pace with demand for integration with the latest consumer technologies.”

QNX Software Systems is the global leader in operating systems and middleware for the in-car telematics and infotainment market, and has licensed its technology for use in more than 17 million in-vehicle systems worldwide.

About QNX Software Systems

QNX Software Systems Co., a subsidiary of Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM), is a leading vendor of operating systems, middleware, development tools, and professional services for the embedded systems market. Global leaders such as Cisco, Daimler, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and Siemens depend on QNX technology for network routers, vehicle telematics units, industrial control systems, medical instruments, security and defense systems, and other mission- or life-critical applications. Founded in 1980, QNX Software Systems Co. is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and distributes products in over 100 countries worldwide. Visit www.qnx.com.

About chumby industries

chumby industries, based in San Diego, California, is a software company that works with consumer electronics OEMs to bring a rich and personalized Internet experience to a multitude of connected products, ranging from devices as simple as clock radios to high-definition televisions. The open chumby platform enables developers to easily create Flash content for chumby-powered devices resulting in a constantly growing catalog of more than 1,500 applications in 30 different categories.

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