BlackBerry 6 is the latest operating system from RIM which promises to offer many new features to bring BlackBerry well and truly into the touchscreen world.
RIM released a little more information this week on the OS which it hopes will entice non-BlackBerry users to its handset range for the first time, pointing to a consumer-friendly interface that's accessible to both business and everyday users.
Here's a selection of what's to come...
1. Universal search
Want to find a contact in a hurry? Well instead of heading over to the phonebook, just tap the search icon and start typing. Blackberry 6 OS provides system-wide search results as you type, much like the iOS 4's Spotlight search. So whether it's a contact, application or song name, you should be able to find it in super-quick time. The OS also displays search results as icons, to make finding stuff that bit faster.
2. Enhanced media playback
The media player in Blackberry 6 OS has had a revamp, displaying your album art front and centre on a carrousel, similar to iTunes' Coverflow. RIM has made it so that all you need is on the one screen. From here you can flick through your albums, navigate through the track you're listening to, shuffle and repeat.
3. Social Feeds
Blackberry 6 displays all of your social activity in one place, so you can quickly tap between texts, tweets and Facebook messages. All of your events - be it a friend request in Facebook, an upcoming calendar event, or an unread text – appear in one place.
4. RSS Feeds
With a simple swipe to the left or right (depending on where you are), you can jump from social networking to RSS feeds, and new feeds can be added by simply entering a web address and selecting the feed you want to subscribe to.
5. Visual, fluid interface
All of these new features link into the fluid interface, which sees tiles float over the top of each other to make efficient use of the screen space. The operating system never shows you more information than it needs to, helping you find the option you're looking for quickly.
6. Blackberry messenger
Blackberry's free messaging service is back on Blackberry 6 OS and it has been redesigned to make your conversations looks clear and crisp, with the option to attach an image, video or audio selection to your message available.
7. Simultaneous postings
Blackberry 6 OS lets you post to your Messenger, Facebook and Twitter accounts all at once, saving the need to write the same message three times. This is great for those who want to treat all their social networks the same, not so if you want to keep Twitter and Facebook entirely separate. Great to have the option, though.
8. Richer web browser
The web browser in Blackberry 6 OS displays web pages in full and implements pinch and zoom to magnify small text. Open tabs are displayed as thumbnails sat on an attractive Coverflow-style dock, and then maximise to full screen when tapped on.
Unfortunately, there is no UK release date for BlackBerry 6 OS but with more and more updates about the operating system coming from RIM, we're expecting it to arrive in the UK very soon - although which devices will be upgradeable is still unknown.