BlackBerry World is in full swing in Orlando and RIM is outing products by the hour. Chief among the announcements so far is the next version of the BlackBerry OS, dubbed OS 7. This new OS will drive two new phones announced today, both updates to the popular BlackBerry Bold. On the tablet front RIM has announced an official Facebook app and a new video chat application.
The new OS 7 is not the version based on QNX we hoped for, but is an update to the current BlackBerry OS 6 found on current phones. It is designed to power new phones in the BlackBerry line with hardware components similar to that of the competition. This is significant, not only to keep the BlackBerry competitive, but because RIM has stated that the new OS will not be compatible with legacy handsets. The only way to get BB 7 on a phone is to buy one of the new ones, starting with the Bold 9900 and 9930. These new phones add a touch screen to the QWERTY-packing Bold form along with other hardware updates.
On the PlayBook tablet front, RIM has announced a video chat app and the official Facebook app. The video chat app takes advantage of the 3 MP front-facing camera of the PlayBook, and allows video calls to other PlayBook owners. The Facebook app was developed in collaboration with the social network folks, and makes the PlayBook the first tablet-optimized app for any platform. Both apps should be available in May, with the video chat appearing as early as tomorrow.
These announcements are good to see, although not what I've been hoping to hear out of BlackBerry World. The week is young, so perhaps RIM will have some surprises in store later. So far it seems RIM is just playing catch-up with everybody else.
See related coverage:
- What we need to hear coming out of BlackBerry World
- Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?
- BlackBerry PlayBook has me excited about the HP TouchPad
- Why RIM will sell more tablets than everybody except Apple
- BlackBerry PlayBook out of box experience