RIM has been forthcoming about backwards compatibility for their new operating system, claiming the BlackBerry Pearl 9100, Bold 9700, Bold 9650, and Curve 9300 would be compatible. What RIM hasn’t said is what kind of timeline we can expect for such updates as it’s generally up to the carriers to approve the builds, but an internal doc from Bell suggests that at least for them, it won’t be until next year. Bell in just went live with their 9300 recently, so this is good info for those thinking of getting it.
New devices, like the Curve 3G 9300, are launching with the ability to upgrade down the line, in addition to upcoming devices that are on the verge of a launch with OS 6, like the 9670 and 9780. Carrier testing has always been a huge bottleneck for BlackBerry operating system, but I’m mostly curious about what kind of hardware limitations would stop OS 6. The Curve 3G has 256 MB of RAM just like the 8520, and yet RIM still had to make a whole new device just for OS 6. It can’t be the processor, since the Torch is just as fast slow as the Bold 9000. Maybe there’s some particular graphics chip required for all of the fancy transitions, who knows.
In any case, those on carriers other than Bell waiting for OS 6 on their Pearl or Bold will probably want to take the 2011 timeframe as a guideline for now when figuring out if they want to upgrade or stick it out. Take a look at our BlackBerry 6 tour to see if it’s worth waiting for.