There have been many things said about Research In Motion over the last few years. Some of it positive, while some of it not so much. In today’s smartphone market, the competition has become remarkably powerful, and even in the business world it seems that RIM and their BlackBerry name have begun to slip from their high perch. But with the launch of the company’s first tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook and its brand new QNX Software-based mobile operating system, and the launch of their BlackBerry OS 6, it looked like the company was working on climbing out of that recess they had found themselves in. Will they continue to try and do that with BlackBerry 7? I’m not so sure.
Over the last few weeks, if not a bit longer, there’s been no shortage of leaks filled with upcoming BlackBerry devices. Handsets like the BlackBerry Bold Touch and BlackBerry Touch have been spotted in pictures, and it’s been believed that RIM would launch those devices with BlackBerry OS 6.1. Research In Motion had said in the past that 6.1 would be a major update in of itself, especially suited with new features like NFC, but it would still be part of the BlackBerry OS 6 line-up. It was believed this would be the case because the company was hard at work combining OS 6.1 and QNX Software, melding the two mobile operating systems into a sweet lovechild that could be enjoyed by future smartphones.
But, a recent tip from “numerous sources” suggests that’s not what RIM is doing at all. While the company is more than likely still working on combining QNX Software-based features into that of BlackBerry OS, RIM may be trying to differentiate the mobile operating systems a little bit more than we had previously thought. More to the point, it looks like the newest update to future handsets, like the Bold Touch and Monaco, won’t be running BlackBerry OS 6 at all, but something new called BlackBerry 7.
There’s nothing confirmed about this quite yet, and honestly it does seem to go against the majority of rumors about the future of the BlackBerry OS. But if RIM is looking for a major upgrade, and they don’t see it as part of the previous iteration, then re-branding the whole show would seem like a likely scenario. Of course, the problem would come in the fact that if it is a whole new version of the OS, developers may shy away from the fact that, for all intents and purposes, RIM has three mobile operating systems running around in the market.
The similarity between BlackBerry 7 and Windows Phone 7 aside, I’m not totally convinced that this is the right path for RIM to go. BlackBerry OS 6 was a good improvement over the previous versions of the mobile OS, and we all know that while QNX may warrant a second-glance due to similarities with another brand, it’s definitely unique in RIM’s portfolio. But, the combination of the two would make for a smooth and acceptable operating system for the company’s BlackBerry smartphones, and I think that’s where they need to keep their focus. Adding NFC to future handsets is fine – you don’t need to create and brand a whole new OS to make this change (plus more, obviously).
If this turns out to be true, and RIM does indeed show off BlackBerry 7 at this year’s BlackBerry World, do you think it will be the right move for the company? Let me know what you thin in the comments below.