Research in Motion has released a teaser video showcasing some of the new features of its upcoming BlackBerry 6 operating system.
The redesign of the BlackBerry OS is RIM's attempt to bring it in line with its key competitors in the smartphone market. The revamp places some emphasis on providing "a more fluid touchscreen interface", Andrew Bocking, head of handheld software product management at the Canadian company, said in a post on the InsideBlackBerry website.
The video, released on YouTube on Monday, shows a flurry of new features as well as tweaks to existing functionality, which include a redesigned homescreen and a visual redesign of context-sensitive menus.
A universal search box has been added to the OS, bringing it in line with the Google Android operating system. The box allows a user to simultaneously search all the content on the phone, including contacts, messages and media files, as well as allowing them to expand the search online to sites such as YouTube.
The WebKit-based browser now features pinch-to-zoom functionality on BlackBerry 6, making for easier navigation when used on touchscreen handsets. Similar versions of the browser have been developed for use on Palm and Android-based handsets.
RIM has beefed up the social-networking aspects of the operating system with Social Feeds, a feature that provides better integration of news and updates. Social Feeds also offers the option to post status updates to all or a selection of social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as BlackBerry Messenger.In addition, Social Feeds on BlackBerry 6 integrates RSS feeds better, according to the manufacturer, so that users can keep track of all their RSS subscriptions in one place and more easily keep up to date with breaking news.
Blackberry 6's multimedia capabilities have also been overhauled. The result is a Cover Flow-like appearance (shown above), as found on Apple's iPhone, Mac, iPod Nano and iPod Touch.
To date, the majority of BlackBerry 6 previews have focused on demos on touchscreen devices, though BlackBerry is well known for its hardware Qwerty keyboard.
The company has not said exactly which handsets will first feature the new OS, but that it will be available sometime in the third quarter of this year.