updated 03:10 pm EST, Tue January 22, 2008
BlackBerry v4.5 Coming
An upcoming update to the BlackBerry line's OS will bring changes that put on a par or potentially exceed other smartphones, Research in Motion has announced today. Through a combination of BlackBerry version 4.5 for the phones and updates to BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the update will give options previously reserved to devices such as the iPhone or to devices running Microsoft's Windows Mobile. E-mail on the phone will now support full HTML web code as well as rich text, similar to the Apple device. Any supporting devices will also be able to edit Excel, PowerPoint, and Word documents on the phone itself without having to resort to a third-party tool, RIM adds.
Other changes for the phone users will include the ability to search e-mail on the server even when deleted from the phone or manage some of their phones' sync over the web rather than install a large amount of software. Businesses in turn will also have more control over the device and will have the option to push wireless upgrades as well as selectively control Bluetooth and GPS, RIM says.
The cellphone maker plans to release the updates in the first half of 2008 but does not say when phones will come preloaded with the new software. Notably, the BlackBerry 9000 is anticipated in May or earlier and should provide the technology needed to make most of the new features more practical, including 3G Internet access and a sharper 480x320 screen.