This week at DevCon, RIM is showing off for the first time the Pearl 9100, Curve 3G 9300, and Bold 9700 running their new BlackBerry 6 operating system. RIM didn’t offer anything specific as far as a release timeline goes, but they did imply that the software was mostly in the hands of carriers at this point, and that they were hoping for a release before the end of the year.
We’ve been expecting OS 6 to find its way to these devices for awhile. When the BlackBerry Torch 9800 was launched alongside their new operating system, RIM was up-front about providing support for older devices, including the Bold 9650, 9700, and Pearl 3G 9100. Shortly after that, the Curve 3G 9300 was launched, also with explicit compatibility for OS 6. I heard that from here on in, all BlackBerrys will be launching with 6, so worrying about which ones will get an upgrade will soon be a thing of the past. We’ve already seen the likes of the Bold 9780 and the Style 9670 that are more than likely to launch with 6. Still no word on the Storm, though the next one will probably run the new OS.
From the bit of playing I’ve done on the devices, everything runs as smoothly as the Torch, which might not be good enough for those who have been disappointed in the WebKit browser. OS 6 will offer quite a few goodies to the older devices aside from the browser, like universal search, and a prominent user interface upgrade, but as I’m quickly learning at the developer conference, there are a couple of unique APIs that open up new functionality in some apps. Take a look at our OS 6 walkthrough to get the full tour, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, and there’s a video of the Torch in action after the still gallery.