The operating system has been in development since BlackBerry OS 5. RIM has been watching many companies, seeing what is working, what users are demanding, and leaving out what is not essential. With eyes on iOS and Android, RIM has been able to get a feel for what their BlackBerry 6 will be.
BlackBerry 6 is a game changer
One of the biggest drawbacks the BlackBerry platform faced was its ability to manage media. That has all changed. RIM has gone and done a 180 adding a Wi-Fi media syncronisation function. You can now sync your iTunes or WMP music library with your BlackBerry phone. You will create and edit playlists, download songs as if your BlackBerry is just another computer on your network. iPhone particularily is trapped in the iTunes box, and everything must go through iTunes before reaching your iPhone. Some apps allow for access to files, but that is only after you have uploaded them to some far off cloud. Not the most ideal situation for users in the know and wishing to access any file at any time.
Surfing the Internet
The web is like you’ve never seen before. Speed tests show the WebKit browser loading websites as fast as your desktop. Faster than iOS4 and Android 2.1, HTML5 is it’s specialty, and quickly becoming an essential part of the web that BlackBerry 6 embraces.
Multitouch at its finest
We’ve seen some preview videos of BlackBerry 6 for quite some time, it looks fantastic and with a system-wide multitouch it couldn’t get any better. Touchscreen commands allow you to avoid reaching for the menu button over and over. For example, sending email is done by clicking and holding the email and choosing send from a pop-up box. Each application has an Action Menu that BlackBerry 6 now allows you to access common actions or tasks via the pressing down on your touchpad or clicking and holding the trackpad.
Integrated in BlackBerry 6 is social feeds. Bringing Facebook, Twitter, and BBM into a single streamlined feed for a an organize social experience. Much easier and more efficient than having an app to manage each one of these feeds.
It doesn’t stop there
RIM also added universal search, an improved media player, customizable homescreen icons with five view sorting (All, Favorites, Media, Downloads and Frequent). New camera features allow for organizing and sharing of photos with options for grouping. You can also use the dedicated YouTube application for viewing and sharing videos like never before.
Waterloo, ON – Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced BlackBerry® 6, a new operating system for BlackBerry® smartphones that retains the trusted features that distinguish the BlackBerry brand while delivering a fresh, approachable and engaging experience that is both powerful and easy to use. BlackBerry 6 features a redesigned interface that seamlessly works with a touch screen and trackpad, expanded messaging capabilities that simplify managing social media and RSS feeds, an advanced multimedia experience that rivals the best in the industry, a convenient new Universal Search tool, and a new and efficient WebKit-based browser that renders web pages quickly and beautifully for a great browsing experience.
“BlackBerry 6 is the outcome of RIM’s ongoing passion to deliver a powerful, simplified and optimized user experience for both touch screen and keyboard fans,” said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-ceo, Research In Motion. “Following extensive research and development to address consumer needs and wants, we are delivering a communications, browsing and multimedia experience that we think users will love, and we are thrilled to debut BlackBerry 6 on the amazing new BlackBerry Torch smartphone.”
Visual, Fluid Interface
BlackBerry 6 has been redesigned making it easier and more intuitive, with clean, sleek visuals and natural, fluid navigation. Designed to be both fresh and familiar, the new interface enables a productive, fun and highly satisfying user experience whether using a touch screen or trackpad and keyboard.
BlackBerry 6 offers multiple views that help users better organize their applications and content. Icons are arranged on the Home Screen in 5 customizable views (All, Favorites, Media, Downloads and Frequent) that are navigable with simple swipes. Users can organize where they want their icons to appear, and can add contacts or web page shortcuts directly to the Home Screen.
Also new to BlackBerry 6 are visually-rich, context-sensitive Action Menus. Within a given application, by clicking and holding the trackpad or through an extended touch of the display, users can bring the most common actions or tasks of an application to the surface. In addition, users can seamlessly multitask by holding down the Menu key, which pops up a visual grid of all the applications currently running, so users can instantly switch between applications.
A powerful Universal Search tool is also accessible from the Home Screen. By simply clicking or tapping the Universal Search icon, users can search for any content on their handset, the web or in the new BlackBerry App World™, which is also integral to BlackBerry 6.
Fast Rich Web Browsing
BlackBerry 6 integrates a new and efficient WebKit-based browser that renders web pages (as well as email) quickly and beautifully for a great browsing experience. It features tabs for accessing multiple sites simultaneously, an auto-wrap text zoom feature that can intelligently wrap text in a column while maintaining the placement of a page’s key elements, and pinch to zoom.
Social Feeds and Text Messaging
The new Social Feeds application simplifies the management of social networking and RSS feeds and provides integrated access to the native BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™), Facebook®, Twitter™, MySpace™, AOL® Instant Messenger™, Google Talk™, Windows Live™ Messenger and Yahoo!® Messenger applications for BlackBerry smartphones. Social Feeds streamlines the user experience, provides an integrated view of friends’ activities across multiple social networks, and let’s users post updates across multiple networks simultaneously. Users can also easily add their favorite RSS Feeds from the Social Feeds application or directly from a website while browsing.
RIM’s new Text Messages application also adds exciting new features for users who communicate mostly via SMS and MMS, including the ability for users to now view a conversation in one threaded ‘chat’ as well as share photos, videos and other rich content.
Engaging Multimedia Experience
The multimedia experience in BlackBerry 6 is designed to give users a more engaging and streamlined experience with album art everywhere in the new music and video players. The new BlackBerry® Desktop Software 6 integrates media sync for easily syncing photos and videos as well as iTunes® and Windows Media® Player music with the smartphone*. It also includes Wi-Fi Music Sync, a unique feature that allows users to view their entire iTunes® or Windows Media® Player music libraries from their BlackBerry smartphone, create and edit playlists, as well as select music for download. When in range of their home Wi-Fi network (or via USB), the changes are synced with iTunes® or Windows Media® Player and the songs are automatically downloaded to the smartphone.
BlackBerry 6 also gives users access to a range of camera modes that can help them capture better images. Editing, organizing and sharing shots is amazingly simple, with intuitive options for grouping pictures.
The new Podcasts application makes it easy for users to find and manage audio and video podcasts. Users can view all the podcasts saved on their smartphone, browse a catalogue of podcasts available for download, subscribe to them, and wirelessly download the content directly onto their smartphone. There is also a dedicated YouTube® application, so viewing and sharing videos is easier than ever and users can also easily search for videos using the new Universal Search tool in BlackBerry 6.
Compatibility with Existing BlackBerry Smartphones
BlackBerry 6 will debut on the new BlackBerry® Torch™ smartphone (announced today) available from AT&T on August 12 and it is also designed to run on select BlackBerry smartphones already in market. Subject to carrier certifications in the months ahead, the new OS is expected to be available for the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700, BlackBerry® Bold™ 9650 and BlackBerry® Pearl™ 3G, as well as future BlackBerry smartphones.
Research In Motion is releasing an SDK for BlackBerry 6 (also announced today). Developers can find additional details at www.blackberry.com/developers/blackberry6.
For more information on BlackBerry 6, visit www.blackberry.com/6. To view screen shots, visit the Inside BlackBerry Blog: www.blackberry.com/blog. For more information about the BlackBerry Torch smartphone from AT&T, visit www.att.com/blackberrytorch.
* Certain music files may not be supported, including files that contain digital rights management technologies. Photo and video syncing is currently only available for Windows-based PCs.
About Research In Motion (RIM)
Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity to data. RIM’s portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies are used by thousands of organizations around the world and include the BlackBerry® wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld™ product line, software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing agreements. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. RIM is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ: RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RIM). For more information, visit www.rim.com or www.blackberry.com.
Forward-looking statements in this news release are made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws. When used herein, words such as “expect”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “intend,” “believe”, and similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by RIM in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors that RIM believes are appropriate in the circumstances. Many factors could cause RIM’s actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including those described in the “Risk Factors” section of RIM’s Annual Information Form, which is included in its Annual Report on Form 40-F (copies of which filings may be obtained at www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov). These factors should be considered carefully, and readers should not place undue reliance on RIM’s forward-looking statements. RIM has no intention and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited. RIM, Research In Motion and BlackBerry are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be pending or registered in other countries. Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. RIM assumes no obligations or liability and makes no representation, warranty, endorsement or guarantee in relation to any aspect of any third party products or services.