Research In Motion has released another “sneak peek” video, showing off features that BlackBerry smartphone fans can expect from RIM’s newest OS, BlackBerry 6, which is scheduled to debut this summer.
The video shows BlackBerry 6’s new user interface, its redesigned home screen, context-sensitive pop-up menus, a universal search functionality and an enhanced media interface. The arrow-style cursor of most devices is here replaced with an angelic glowing orb-think: BlackBerry Pearl trackball.
“I … think the wide range of changes and added features in BlackBerry 6 will attract a lot of new users to the BlackBerry platform,” Andrew Bocking, RIM’s vice president of handheld software product management, wrote in July 12 post on the Inside BlackBerry blog.
Adding new subscribers is RIM’s goal-and BlackBerry 6 is its bet-the-bank venture for competing with Apple’s iPhones and the increasing number of feature-rich Android-running smartphones joining the market. At RIM’s Wireless Enterprise Symposium April 27, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis first introduced BlackBerry 6, along with a Web browser created on WebKit-the same open-source platform that Google’s Android is built on.
BlackBerry 6, which Lazaridis showed off that day, will allow users to access more than one Web page at a time, search from the home screen and see bookmark-type information in different views. RIM has also redesigned all of the core applications-e-mail, messaging, calendar and contacts-in BlackBerry 6 and added social-networking tools and RSS feeds.
RIM currently has 41 million BlackBerry users, Lazaridis told the WES audience, and it hopes to eventually reach 100 million.
Analyst Jack Gold believes that this new OS is just the first element in a multipart plan RIM has to “upgrade and revamp the BlackBerry platform,” Gold wrote in a June 30 research note.
“Our research indicates that RIM and its popular BlackBerry smartphone is in the midst of a major transformation from which a new and highly competitive OS, compelling device and enhanced user experience will emerge,” Gold wrote.
Following the release of BlackBerry 6 and complementary devices within three to six months, Gold expects a second phase to follow in 12 to 18 months.
“While RIM has not been as vocal or marketing-driven as some of its competitors, it has been working behind the scenes to acquire new technologies and strengthen technologies it already owns,” he wrote, “and hinting at what it might become.”
Indeed, during RIM’s June 24 announcement of its fiscal year 2011’s first quarter, co-CEO Jim Balsillie said that “exciting new BlackBerry products” were on the way-at least one that is expected to be a BlackBerry tablet, capable of competing with Apple’s iPad.
“I just wish I could wind the clock forward a few weeks,” Balsillie said during the revenue call with media and analysts. “You’ll say, ‘I get it now.’ When you see the pieces come together you’ll say, ‘Now I see what they were doing.’ And it is really powerful.”