Research In Motion's
Will RIM have any more success on the automotive dashboard?
The Wall Street Journal profiled RIM's dreams of mobile relevance on the open road last week, and it's a little more than just wishful thinking. RIM's QNX is the software revving up the high-end entertainment and control systems in more than 20 million cars out there, with General Motors
PlayBook leans on QNX for its own tablet experience, so why can't QNX's success have a halo effect on both the PlayBook tablet and BlackBerry smartphone in wooing drivers?
A car with dashboard tech powered by QNX can eventually have someone in the backseat with a PlayBook working a car's A/C system or sifting through Pandora streams that are playing through the car stereo.
It's at this point where Sirius XM
"Many nifty features flop without a stable Internet link," warns the Journal after kicking the technology's tires. "QNX's Corvette had trouble linking to the Internet-music site Pandora from an underground parking garage."
This may be true, but you're unlikely to access Sirius or XM -- and possibly even terrestrial channels -- under that scenario. My Sirius reception dies even when I'm going through a covered bank teller window or an aboveground parking garage.
Besides, Pandora is free for all but extreme users.
This doesn't mean that Sirius XM investors should panic and bail. Ford's
Connectivity will be a challenge for Sirius XM, but it will also be an opportunity. If a market for premium streaming is borne out of broader mobile connectivity, won't Sirius XM -- the same company that pioneered a premium alternative to traditional radio -- have the first crack at leading the market?
Mobile technology is changing quickly as automakers try to out-tomorrow the competition. Sirius XM and RIM's QNX should be able to coexist -- and thrive.
Will connectivity be a positive or a negative for Sirius XM? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a subscriber to Sirius since 2004. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article, except for Ford. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance.