What Does QNX Mean?

QNX is a Unix-like real-time microkernel operating system primarily used in the embedded systems market and was originally developed by Quantum Software Systems in the early 1980s. As an embedded OS, QNX gained wide popularity and use in the vehicle infotainment market, being used by most known brands of car manufacturers for the infotainment of their high-end luxury cars mostly owing to the customizability and ability of the OS to interface easily with external devices such as mobile phones.


Techopedia Explains QNX

QNX was developed by Gordon Bell and Dan Dodge, two students from the University of Waterloo who founded Quantum Software Systems. The first version of QNX was released in 1982 for the Intel 8088 CPU. QNX was then selected as the official operating system for the Unisys ICON, the Ontario education system’s own computer design.

QNX was rewritten for the POSIX model in the late 1980s to be more compatible at a lower level, and became QNX 4. In the late 1990s, a new version of QNX was designed from the ground up to be SMP capable and support all current and any new POSIX APIs while retaining the microkernel architecture. The company was acquired by RIM in April of 2010. The BlackBerry Tablet OS that first came out for the BlackBerry Playbook announced in 2010 was based on QNX and was later built up to become the BlackBerry 10 OS released in 2011.

QNX remains the OS of choice for automobile manufacturers for their in-car infotainment systems and is also featured in Apple’s iOS-centric car infotainment system CarPlay, which allows users to seamlessly integrate their iPhones and iPads to the car’s system to allow for voice recognition control through Siri.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.