RIM Unveils BlackBerry OS 6.0

People have often rightfully pointed out that we here at OSNews do not seem to pay a lot of attention to RIM and its BlackBerry mobile operating system. Those people are right, but it stems from the fact that I simply have never actually seen, let alone used, a BlackBerry, which makes it very hard to write about. I’m hoping this will go a little way into turning that frown upside down: today, RIM demonstrated version 6.0 of its BlackBerry operating system. And it’s on OSNews’ front page.

Mike Lazaridis, Research In Motion’s co-CEO, showed off BlackBerry version 6.0 today during a keynote at the WES 2010 conference (could somebody please tell me what WES stands for?). Its focus will be on a touch-friendly interface, better web browsing experience, rewritten native applications, and a new homescreen/UI experience. “Fresh, but familiar; easy to use, but incredibly powerful; fun, but approachable” were the catchphrases.

Of course, in this day and age, your mobile user interface has to be touch-friendly. BlackBerry OS version 6.0 introduces several aspects common on competing platforms, such as rubberbanding and kinetic scrolling. It will also support multitouch and new gestures. Non-touchscreen devices will not be neglected though.

The home screen has also been revamped. “At first quick glance during the video BlackBerry 6 looks familiar, but then all of the new and improved features start to jump out at you,” writes Kevin Michaluk from CrackBerry.com, “Search from Homescreen, a pull down for notifications (sweet!), pop-up contextual menus, etc.”

Several of the default applications have been re-written by RIM, with the browser being the most notable improvement. It’s based on WebKit now (what else?), which should certainly deliver an improved web browsing experience to BlackBerry users.

“It’s really great,” said Jim Balsillie, RIM’s other co-CEO, “Its ACID test score is 100, speed is great, efficiency is great. It has HTML5 support, JavaScript, multitab browsing, and you’ve got a widget platform so you can download Web apps and run them online or offline.” It will support Flash, too, in the future.

Perhaps the best news is that this new version of the operating system will be delivered to existing BlackBerry phones as well, but which ones exactly the company didn’t reveal. There’s also no word yet on a release date.


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