Research In Motion (RIM) today announced BlackBerry 6, the new operating system powering the manufacturer's phones. BlackBerry 6 features a redesigned interface, expanded messaging capabilities that simplify social media and RSS feeds, a multimedia focus, a convenient new Universal Search tool, and a new WebKit-based browser.
"BlackBerry 6 is the outcome of RIM's ongoing passion to deliver a powerful, simplified and optimised user experience for both touch screen and keyboard fans," said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO, Research In Motion. "Following extensive research and development to address consumer needs and wants, we are delivering a communications, browsing and multimedia experience that we think users will love, and we are thrilled to debut BlackBerry 6 on the amazing new BlackBerry Torch smartphone."
BlackBerry 6 also offers 5 customisable views (All, Favorites, Media, Downloads and Frequent) that are navigable with simple swipes. Users can organise where they want their icons to appear, and can add contacts or web page shortcuts directly to the Home Screen.
Also new to BlackBerry 6 are visually-rich, context-sensitive Action Menus. Within a given application, by clicking and holding the trackpad or through an extended touch of the display, users can bring the most common actions or tasks of an application to the surface. In addition, users can also multitask by holding down the Menu key, which pops up a visual grid of all the applications currently running, so users can instantly switch between applications.
RIM's new Text Messages application also adds exciting new features for users who communicate mostly via SMS and MMS, including the ability for users to now view a conversation in one threaded 'chat' as well as share photos, videos and other rich content.
The new BlackBerry Desktop Software 6 integrates media sync for syncing photos and videos as well as iTunes and Windows Media Player music with the smartphone. It also includes Wi-Fi Music Sync, a unique feature that allows users to view their entire iTunes or Windows Media Player music libraries from their BlackBerry smartphone, create and edit playlists, as well as select music for download. When in range of their home Wi-Fi network (or via USB), the changes are synced with iTunes or Windows Media Player and the songs are automatically downloaded to the smartphone.
BlackBerry 6 will debut on the new Torch smartphone, and will also run on select smartphones on the market already, such as the Bold 9700, Bold 9650 and Pearl 3G.