BlackBerry unveils multimedia play in latest OS

**As published at RCR Wireless News** BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd. has been on a slow and steady march toward the consumer market for the better part of two years, and although much of its success of late has come from growth on that front its most current operating system and user interface look hardly consumer driven. The Waterloo, Canada-based company says that’s all going to change with BlackBerry 6, but we’ve heard similar claims in the past with previous OS updates.

RIM first introduced some features of BlackBerry 6 at Mobile World Congress back in February and ever since then there’s been a slow trickle of leaks and sanctioned sneak peeks from the company. But not until today, did RIM officially detail how it’s going to jazz up its Java Virtual Machine-based OS to better meet the needs of consumers on multimedia. Leaks and screenshots are one thing, but formally announced details from the source are entirely another. In a blog post on its official blog today, RIM talked about the new multimedia features that will play a major role in the success or failure of its new OS. The company’s ability to stay relevant in a market dominated (at least on a perceived level) by Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will rest heavily on these new features and its ability to position itself as a modern media hub that can hold its weight amongst the aforementioned. Overall though, the new OS will be an evolutionary step from the current offering, which might leave the company resting on its traditional stronghold areas for continued growth. Those evolutionary upgrades come in the form of an improved visual appeal across the board, but there are some new features that will be well received just the same. Photos and video will be easier to organize by date or event (no mention of location) and pinch-to-zoom will be supported on all touchscreen BlackBerrys. RIM said the OS will also come with improved camera features and options that will be available on screen rather than deep in a menu like they are today. Finally, RIM also announced some new discoverability features that will allow users to “explore” music, video and pictures apps from the main menu within the media player. This might help improve the consumer experience with BlackBerry App World, but much more work is going to be required on that platform before it reaches the popularity and reach that some of its competitors enjoy. RIM says it will continue to provide more details about BlackBerry 6 in the coming weeks, which coincides nicely with the widely expected release of its latest device that packs both a touchscreen and full QWERTY in a slider form factor. The rumored release date for what many bloggers are calling the 9800 has jumped around quite a bit, but many expect it to come before the end of the current quarter and well in time for the holiday sales rush.

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