At Capital Markets Day at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis confirmed BlackBerry operating system 6.0 (of which we’ve seen glimpses already) would be coming sometime next quarter.
When asked about what kind of devices 6.0 would supporting, it was hinted that the first device would include a trackpad, touch control and a QWERTY keyboard (sounds like the Talladega to me). As for backwards compatability and how far back OS 6.0 would go, they said that they’re going to try to get it on as many devices as possible, but, for example, there are still a lot of old trackball devices out there, which leads me to think anything before the 8520 is unlikely to be eligible, except for maybe the Storm series.
How much of a change can we expect? Lazaridis said, “We’re trying to update the UI and fix the stuff that people wanted us to fix” and it was a “both inspired and grounded design”. That means, don’t expect the whole BlackBerry experience to be completely upended and revamped in some kind of swooshy mock-Android/iPhone fireworks show. RIM is very interested in making sure the original experience is kept whole, while making it more fun to use. They certainly realize how much they’ve needed to fix; CTO David Yach said rather poignantly about the UI feedback they had previously received “DOS-like was the one that really hurt”.
The new Webkit browser will be tied in with BlackBerry 6, so don’t expect it as a separate download, and since it’s a rendering engine, it will likely have the same hardware requirements that OS 6.0 will require.
Overall, BlackBerry OS 6.0 sounds very promising, and we’re likely to see lots more tomorrow morning from the general keynote at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium. Be sure to keep tabs on our coverage!