Leaked software BlackBerry roadmap: OS 7 'before Christmas'

A leaked roadmap signals the release of BlackBerry OS 7 by the end of this year, the PlayBook to be released this month, and a series of new applications developed by the BlackBerry manufacturer.

A leaked set of slides shows Research in Motion's aggressive tactics to maintain its high share in the consumer smartphone market.

The slides detail not only some of the new product names but also their projected release dates, with BlackBerry OS 7, the latest revision of its smartphone software, headed for release before the Christmas spending push.

So far, the feature list shows:

BlackBerry OS 7 (operating system)

The PlayBook's operating system diverts from the norm and takes on an entirely new platform, based on QNX. It could well be that the traditional BlackBerry OS software will be ditched in favour for the new, more dynamic software running on the PlayBook, opening up device potential to a wealth of faster, newer devices.

It is not clear whether older devices will eventually upgrade to the new expected-to-be QNX-based BlackBerry OS 7 or will be upgraded to BlackBerry OS 6.1, the last revision of the current operating system.

Expected: By Thanksgiving/Christmas in October or November.

BlackBerry Internet Service (service)

Last week the feature list to the next generation BlackBerry Internet Service leaked online, including integration with the single sign-on service and improvements to Google Calendar.

It's not clear what the next version after will provide, but it is expected to be only a minor revision to the functionality rolling out this or next month.

Expected: BIS 4.0 either this month or April, with another updated BIS 4.1 release expected for August and September.

BlackBerry Protect (security application)

In private beta throughout most of last year, BlackBerry Protect, Research in Motion's smartphone protection software, is already in the hands of a greater number of wider BlackBerry users. It is expected to be released fully this or next month, with a wider pool of bugs and revisions to make it into the 1.2 beta expected in May.

Expected: 1.0 and 1.1 in beta already, and an expected release before the 1.2 beta in May

BlackBerry News (application)

A new application which is described in the slides as an 'instant, always-on news reader application' designed for accessing the latest information. Not only will it allow networks to push through news to their own customers, it'll also add a further incentive towards the single sign-on solution of BlackBerry ID.

Expected: BlackBerry News 1.1 in May and early June.

App World for PlayBook (application store)

According to the slides, though the PlayBook missed its chance to kick start a competitive chance against the rival tablet iPad 2, the BlackBerry App World for PlayBook is expected out this month. This signifies a release for BlackBerry PlayBook this month, along with a 2.1 release for BlackBerry OS 5/6 devices.

Expected: BlackBerry App World for PlayBook is expected this month.

Other new applications

Facebook 2.0:The next generation of the world's most popular social network brought to the BlackBerry device, which will include Facebook Chat. Expected: Beta 1 is already out (February), with Beta 2 out this month, with a final general availability in May.

Social Feeds 2.0: An update for BlackBerry OS 6.1 devices only which combines social networks and feeds, including Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry Messenger and instant messenger clients. New features include with eadand unread indicators, community specific functionality such as retweeting and integration with BlackBerry News. Expected: May release for BlackBerry OS 6.1 devices.