Research in Motion kicked off its annual Wireless Enterprise Symposium with an announcement from co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis, who showcased the upcoming BlackBerry 6 operating system refresh due in Q3 of this year.
To highlight some of the key improvements, Research in Motion (RIM) put together a funky video with the BlackBerry 6 OS dancing on-screen to the music of the Black Eyed Peas, which you can see on YouTube in all its bass-thumping glory. ZDNet UK's sister site ZDNet Australia managed to grab some pics to take a closer look at what to expect from the system overhaul.
'Fresh but familiar' was the buzz-phrase of the presentation, and as you can see from the main menu display, RIM has succeeded in recreating the look and feel of version 5, but with some new-look graphics and icons.
The home screen has been redesigned around collecting app shortcuts together, using a folder-like metaphor under the headings: All, Favourites, Media and Downloads.
Being able to use a universal search for the content on your handset is excellent, and extending that search to the web is a fantastic improvement.
RIM's recent acquisition of browser technology company Torch Mobile is finally delivering what we have all been waiting for: a WebKit browser for BlackBerry. This should provide a faster, better web experience all round.
One of the most obvious improvements in the new WebKit browser is a visual tab switcher for browsing on several sites simultaneously.
A rich, context-sensitive menu is one of the features that has always set BlackBerry smartphones apart from the competition. RIM is improving this part of its OS with a sprinkle of visual flair, spicing up the currently black-and-white text-only menu.
This picture shows how the context menu will change depending on which app you're working in.
One exciting advancement on the app front in BlackBerry 6 is a new combined reader, mixing together your various social-networking feeds with any RSS feeds you choose to check out each day. We can't tell from the video if this will support Google Reader feeds, but if it does, we'll be calling this feature a big win.
Alongside the combined reader will be the ability to combine different modes of communication for each contact and a simple drop-down menu to choose how you're to communicate with them.
It looks like a simplified, one-touch Twitter post tool might be on the cards too.
BlackBerry 6 displays playlist covers.
Universal search as seen through the eyes of a music lover. Add your favourite artist's name and search the web for content not on your handset.
What is it with sample images and flowers? The touch-friendly BlackBerry 6 image gallery.
A slick new way to see the most recent entries in your call logs, messages and calendar.