updated 12:00 pm EDT, Fri April 10, 2009
BBerry OS 5 Leak
In spite of its version number, BlackBerry OS 5.0 appears to primarily be a cosmetic change that modernizes certain parts of the OS, a report on leaked firmware shows. A BGR exploration of a beta release on a BlackBerry Bold shows that most of the changes involve extending the Precision Zen interface to areas that have often had plain text, such as messaging. Google Gears support for offline apps is new but hindered by the web browser, which as of the beta is the same as in older releases.
Minor changes include collapsible menus, easier ways to check the free memory on the device, a simpler way of producing emoticons in IM chat and more intuitive photo browsing.
The truly new feature is said to be Files, a dedicated file browser. The software will show both a typical hierarchical view of the phone's storage but should also give a view of network directories to BlackBerry owners connected to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Access would let users download and work on documents without having them e-mailed to the phone first.
Most anticipate BlackBerry OS 5.0 becoming public at RIM's Wireless Enterprise Symposium in May, though which devices will carry it first aren't known. It's equally unknown if the beta holds all the features for the final 5.0 upgrade later this year.