The Bold 9650 ships with BlackBerry OS 5.0 software (126.96.36.1991 to be exact)-a step up from the 4.7 iteration that shipped with the Tour-but delivering a similarly outmoded Web browsing experience as other BlackBerrys. I was able to easily activate the Bold 9650 to our BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 SR1 infrastructure, and the device automatically conformed to our security and wireless network policies, as expected. Sprint already made available an upgrade to 188.8.131.529, which purports to address a radio management problem with the phone in Global mode as well as some dialing issues, which can be installed over-the-air, through the BlackBerry desktop or via BES.The Bold 9650 ships with the now-familiar Zen theme that has become the norm for other recent BlackBerry models. Indeed, across the board there is not much to differentiate the 9650 from its forebears on the software side, as the device doesn't come with a whole lot of software preinstalled. DataViz Documents To Go (Word, Sheet and Slideshow) is there, to view and edit documents. BlackBerry Messenger is the only preinstalled instant messaging application, but download links for AIM, GoogleTalk, Yahoo, Windows Live Messenger and ICQ can be found in the Instant Messaging folder. Likewise, download links can be found in the Social Networking folder for the lackluster BlackBerry Facebook application, MySpace and Flickr, but there is not a link for the still-in-beta BlackBerry Twitter application. The latter can be installed via App World, which is preinstalled.
With its additional Flash memory on board, there is a decent chance the Bold 9650 will be upgradeable to the recently announced BlackBerry OS 6.0 (expected to land in the third quarter of this year), although RIM has yet to firmly announce whether any current devices will be supported. However, even if RIM gives the thumbs-up for the upgrade, there is no guarantee that Sprint will. In other words, customers who want to ensure their BlackBerry will support OS 6 should await further news before making a purchase.