BlackBerry 7 OS: 10 things you need to know

The complete lowdown on RIM's new OS

BlackBerry OS 7

RIM has announced its new BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 series smartphones at its BlackBerry World event in Orlando.

But the new phones aren't just about hardware, they pack quite a bit of new innovation under the skin in the form of the new "performance driven" BlackBerry 7 operating system.

BlackBerry 7 OS replaces the BlackBerry 6.1 update – and we've detailed everything you need to know about it below.

1. BlackBerry 7 is not coming to older handsets

As we reported yesterday on TechRadar, the newly-launched BlackBerry 7 OS will not be coming to older phones. So that means the BlackBerry Torch and older Bold models won't be getting the same enhancements as the new Bold Touch. If you've bought a recent BlackBerry we think you've every right to be more than a little bit annoyed.

2. BlackBerry 7 needs a powerful processor

The new BlackBerry Bold Touch packs a 1.2GHz processor and it's said that the new OS can't come to older handsets because of the extra power needed. Compared to rival phones, 1.2GHz is actually quite a leap for BlackBerry - the BlackBerry Bold 9780's processor was clocked at 624MHz.

3. BlackBerry 7 features a better browser

The BlackBerry browser has been significantly enhanced in BlackBerry 7. Thanks to the enhanced Liquid Graphics, there's faster rendering as well as better panning and zooming. RIM says that the BB OS7 browser is 1.6x faster than that on BlackBerry OS 6. The BlackBerry 7 browser also includes a new JIT (just in time) JavaScript compiler to improve the load time speed of web pages.

4. BlackBerry 7 features HTML 5 support

The BlackBerry 7 browser also features full support for HTML 5 elements, such as HTML 5 video using the video tag.

5. BlackBerry 7 features BlackBerry Balance

BlackBerry Balance also makes its debut in BlackBerry 7 OS – put simply it's designed to separate out your personal and work content so you can keep your personal email separate from your work life. It enables you to use your Blackberry for apps like Facebook, Twitter, games and your own email while adhering to the security needs of corporate handsets. The feature works alongside BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.3 to block the sharing of corporate data via personal channels and suchlike – admins can even wipe corporate data without destroying any personal information.

BlackBerry 7

6. BlackBerry 7 comes with Docs To Go

With BlackBerry 7 and the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930, you also get the full version of Docs To Go with all premium features enabled. So you're able to work with your Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly on your BlackBerry 7 device. You can also view PDFs using the software.

7. BlackBerry 7 will include NFC support

BlackBerry 7 OS also supports Near-field Communication, or (NFC), for contactless payments – both the Bold 9900 and 9930 handsets have the potential to support the technology.

8. BlackBerry 7 incorporates voice search

BlackBerry 6 introduced a feature called Universal Search, enabling you to search any content on your handset. BlackBerry 7 OS takes this a stage further, enabling you to search your handset - and the web - using your voice.

9. BlackBerry 7 has better graphics

As well as the faster browser rendering, the BlackBerry icons have been redesigned in the BlackBerry 7 OS. We found the new BlackBerry Bold Touch's interface was "very crisp and smooth" in our Hands on: BlackBerry Bold Touch review.

10. The BlackBerry 7 OS will be released this summer

BlackBerry OS 6 was launched in August 2010, so the next few months is a logical time for an update - it appears the BlackBerry Bold Touch UK release date is this summer and so that's also the date of the BlackBerry 7 UK release date. It's also already been rumoured that 2012 will see the Blackberry 8 UK release date – a brand new, redesigned QNX platform for both smartphones and tablets.

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