updated 09:50 am EDT, Tue April 27, 2010
BlackBerry 6 gets redesigned apps,
RIM's Wireless Enterprise Symposium keynote today provided a handful of extra details on BlackBerry OS 6.0. The mobile OS brings entirely revamped core apps, including the known WebKit browser and much improved media browsers. Contacts now have unified behavior and will show all the IM and social networking info for a user at a glance, including Facebook and Twitter.
The interface itself also has many more touch-specific features: contextual menus now show in a grid rather than a text list, and multiple home screens make it easier for touchscreen users to jump to favorite apps. The on-screen keyboard has been given a facelift as well.
At the event, RIM didn't say more about the release date than it has before and said only that BlackBerry OS 6.0 would be ready in the summer. Many suspect the release may come in sync with the BlackBerry 9900 touchscreen slider, but it should also be an upgrade option for most newer models.
The OS is considered RIM's most important to date as it should be the first explicitly designed with touchscreens in mind. While still the second-largest smartphone maker after Nokia, RIM's market share is currently at a plateau and is currently dominated by non-touch phones, especially low-end phones like the Curve 8520. It has almost always trailed significantly in the touchscreen arena as the iPhone and key Android models have regularly outsold the Storm series.