Mystery surrounding next BB OS dissipating
Last modified on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:10
During RIM’s WES conference a lot of the mystery and questions surrounding the upcoming release of BlackBerry OS 6.0 are finally starting to become clearer. We spent some time shaking the bushes and asking some questions in an attempt to see what we could really find out about perhaps the most pivotal release of the BlackBerry OS in the company’s history.
We do know that it will start to be released next calendar quarter. We do not yet know what this means, but based on input from our contacts and sources; you can expect it to arrive on the latest new devices first. At some point some of the most recent BlackBerry devices will likely get OS 6.0 update firmware. However, we are told that carriers will have to approve it and not all devices are going to be upgradeable to OS 6.0. Best bet right now is that the higher end OS 5.0 devices will likely be among the first to get it, and could be the safest bet to buy if you want OS 6.0 upgradability in the future.
Backward compatibility is another hot button issue that is a big deal. Enterprise customers who have built custom applications are understandably concerned about this one as well as software developers who spent time building applications to sell. It seems that the best answer we are getting about compatibility is that RIM is going to continue to support the older versions of the OS. We suspect that some applications will work and others may not.
Many are asking about the WebKit browser that will be an integrated part of OS 6.0. Because it is so integrated, you will not be able to install it on an older versions of the OS. The WebKit technologies, however, will provide a gateway for developers unlike we have seen in past versions of the browser; this means that a lot of these new Web oriented applications will work better and can be more robust because of the WebKit technology. We suspect, based on discussions that we have had, that this will be one of the best of the things that will come to the platform as part of OS 6.0.
Of course, 6.0 will work with both touch-screen and non-touch-screen versions of the BlackBerry and you can expect many overhauls to the look and feel of the OS itself while keeping much of the BlackBerry core usability intact. This means that it will not take long to catch on to using it. We think it will need to be robust to keep up with the advancements coming from other smartphone OS platforms. Only time will tell if RIM is able to maintain its market share and grow it after the release of OS 6.0.