BlackBerry OS 6 Coming as Early as August

BlackBerry OS 6 has finally gotten an official release date and it is the 3rd quarter of the year. This news came as an announcement by Research In Motion (RIM) Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. With the 3rd quarter as the release time, the highly anticipated update to RIM’s long in the tooth BlackBerry OS 5 could be coming as soon as sometime in August. However, a release as late as October could also be possible. The upcoming BlackBerry Curve 9300 is rumored to have OS 6 support, so hope on sooner rather than later.

RIM released a new video of OS 6 in action recently—see here for the video and an overview of what it’s promising—and so far is receiving a mixed response. Comparisons are already being made between BlackBerry OS 6, Google’s Android OS and Apple’s iOS. RIM has been behind the times when it comes to touchscreen devices and simply upgrading its OS to provide better support for them is such a change from before that it will have difficulty being seen as different from its competitors.

Drastically improved support for touchscreens will be critical if RIM wants its upcoming Storm 3, BlackBerry 9800 “Torch” and still rumored BlackBerry “Cobalt” Tablet to become popular. All of these products will feature touchscreens and are widely seen as RIM’s best hope for regaining some of its lost market share. Apple’s iOS series, Android powered smartphones, and new even Cisco and Dell are trying to shift towards making touchscreens the de facto input standard for consumers and business users alike. RIM has step its game up or risk being shuffled to the bottom of the pack quicker than anyone could have thought in previous years.

Will BlackBerry OS 6 deliver the new experience that RIM desperately needs?

Will it be too similar to Apple’s and Google’s OS offerings and alienate current customers?

Is RIM too hungry for ‘consumers’ and not focused enough on pleasing its core corporate client base?

Comment and let us know what you think.

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