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Old 08-19-2010, 02:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default RIM OS 7 == QNX? (That's UNIX on BlackBerry, baby...)

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RIM purchased QNX a few months ago, and it's rumored to be the operating system on the upcoming BlackPad.

Anyone want to bet that, after BB OS6, RIM is going to switch to a QNX for BB OS7?

QNX is sorta like UNIX in a way, but is a realtime opreating system. Is a well respected real time operating system used in industrial machinery, jet electronics/flight computers, and space probes, and happens to be similiar to UNIX. As Apple switched long time ago to a UNIX foundation with MacOS X after purchase of NeXT, this might actually be good for RIM in the next few years, depending on how well they restructure the OS and what kind of GUI they put on top, and how easy it is to program for, backwards compatibility, etc. Especially the higher layers -- will RIM invent a really good GUI that runs on top of QNX. (The Apple equivalent of Aqua GUI running on top of Mach/Darwin kernel...)

Blackberry 9700 + iPod owner here, desktop PC user, with occasional Mac usage -- so familiar with the bad & good of many platforms. RIM needs to greatly improve programming for BlackBerry, to make it much easier to write new useful software for BlackBerry.

I know friends who are bailing on BlackBerry, and I'm a dual-device owner myself, but over the longer term, RIM has strong incentive to stay a strong player in the consumer market!
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Someone do a lazy forum member a favor and explain "real time" operating system in layman's terms, and why I will like it.

I'm looking forward to the RIM tablet... At least seeing what it is so I can decide whether to get one to carry on travel instead of a netbook. My needs are simple, and the tablet with a blackberry may be heaven for me.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Lets hope so.
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
Someone do a lazy forum member a favor and explain "real time" operating system in layman's terms, and why I will like it.

I'm looking forward to the RIM tablet... At least seeing what it is so I can decide whether to get one to carry on travel instead of a netbook. My needs are simple, and the tablet with a blackberry may be heaven for me.
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Currently the best known, most widely deployed, real-time operating systems are

* QNX
* RTLinux
* VxWorks
* Windows CE

that's from the wiki, there are probably a few more not mentioned, but anything beside those are not truly "real time OS-es".


I think the easiest way to explain, is that it's more tailored to a specific device, than a non-real time OS.
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I finally looked up the definition of a real time operating system. What I got out of what I read is a RTOS provides some capability with almost guranteed certainty according to some time requirement. In plain terms, the application takes priority, and the RTOS deals with application demands in real time, for all practical intents and purposes. An example could be a robot on an assembly line, where an object must be available or an operation performed at a specific moment in time.
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
I finally looked up the definition of a real time operating system. What I got out of what I read is a RTOS provides some capability with almost guranteed certainty according to some time requirement. In plain terms, the application takes priority, and the RTOS deals with application demands in real time, for all practical intents and purposes. An example could be a robot on an assembly line, where an object must be available or an operation performed at a specific moment in time.
Exactly. Another example would be a GPS navigation device in the car (actually many made by QNX) versus Windows 7. The navigation software loaded into the device specifically tailored for that device.

here is a blog I have found regarding RTOS-es
Quote:
Some important facts on the history of feature phones and RTOSes:

- OEM legacy. Feature phones from the big 5 handset OEMs are usually powered by in-house application frameworks which have been developed over 5-10 of years (and over a decade in some cases). They originally ran on the baseband chip of the mobile phone and therefore are designed to run on the real-time operating system (RTOS) which baseband chips run.

- Feature creep. As available processing power on baseband processors increased, the sophistication of the feature phone platforms increased with them. The internal platforms gave birth to additional, more sophisticated features to take advantage of the increased resources.

- The leap to application processors. Today, mid to high end feature phones run separate application processors in order to enable advanced multimedia capability, touchscreens, and so on. We now have feature phones adopting the same chip architecture as smartphones, and this explains why many application processor vendors are keen to have RTOS support on chips previously designated as only supporting high end OSes. The internal feature phone platforms the manufacturers use were designed to run on RTOSes, and therefore you need an RTOS to run on application processor chips so you can run your feature phone platform. Clear?

Indeed, the RTOS based feature phone is far from dead and far from basic. Just consider one of the best selling phones in the UK in 2008 – the Samsung Tocco. Feature phone, touchscreen, advanced multimedia and good pricing and marketing made it a wild success. Indeed there are more and more touchscreen feature phones coming out. The Samsung Jet is a great case in point. It runs an 800MHz processor but is based on a Samsung proprietary OS.

You can also look at the LG Voyager, Neon, Dare, Vu, and the Samsung Behold, and Instinct as top selling feature phones: they are all advanced touchscreen phones powered by OEMs’ in-house RTOS platforms. These Samsung and LG phones make up 5 out of 10 top-selling touchscreen devices in the US, according to a Nielsen survey.

As it turns out, manufacturers are not using open OSes, but RTOS platforms for their best-selling high-end devices. The death of the feature phone has been greatly exaggerated indeed.

So what is going to keep the RTOS and feature phone important? Why is Android or Symbian not going to overwhelm the market as many analysts predict ?

1. Predictability. OEMs know these platforms inside and out. As a manufacturer, predictable model refresh rate is key. If you are releasing 100 models a year (as some OEMs do) you need to be very, very sure that you are going to hit release dates, otherwise your marketing and financial model breaks down. Internal feature phone platforms are not the greatest software platforms available, but they are far from poor, and crucially they are very, very well known by the internal device development teams building the phones.

2. Cost. RTOSes need less resources – and result in cheaper phones. A feature phone requires less hardware and resources than a smartphone. The BOM is smaller and low cost is important when your main customer is an operator who subsidises the phone for the consumer. For example, Digitimes reports that the overall production costs, including royalty payments and resources, for smartphones are 3-4 times higher than those for high-end multimedia handsets, while smartphones require 3 times more components (link – subscription required)

3. The ubiquity of the Application Environment. Historically, the weakness of the feature phone has been the inability to have a broad set of application available and good post-sales application download experience. App Stores and open APIs has been a key focus for the industry and the high end OSes (Android, OSX, Symbian). However, with the proliferation of application environments like Java, Flash, Qt and web runtime environments, manufacturers and operators can hope for both a diversity of applications – and a first-class App Store experience, thanks to solutions from Qualcomm Plaza, Comverse, Amdocs, Sun, Everypoint and many others.

The hype / shipment paradox
There is an obvious inverse ratio between OS hype and shipments; the high end OSes are commanding the lion’s share of media attention but don’t really ship in big volumes, comparatively speaking. The feature phone application frameworks running on RTOSes get almost zero coverage but are the mainstay of the industry. Behind the scenes, the economic drivers for RTOS based feature phones remain strong for the foreseeable future.

RTOSes and feature phones may indeed emerge as a platform for true mass adoption of mobile services for consumers.
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