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BlackBerry OS 6.0 leaks out with multi-touch

updated 11:45 am EDT, Tue April 20, 2010

BlackBerry OS 6 to be more visual, touch aware

A new leak this morning has provided what should be the first known screens and features of BlackBerry OS 6.0. The entire OS is finally touch-aware and supports multi-touch with pinch-to-zoom and other gestures throughout, including the browser and photo viewer. It now has momentum-based scrolling and a tap-to-hold context menu instead of having to revert to the hardware BlackBerry button.

The home screen now draws slight cues from iPhone, according to BGR. While the familiar buttons have carried over from phones like the Storm2, users can now switch between multiple pages of app icons, such as their favorites.

RIM's music and photo apps are also more like Apple's; the audio player has a Cover Flow-like navigator, while the photo viewer provides a rapid-loading set of thumbnails and a tap-to-hide control layer.

The web browser is potentially the largest change and now uses the WebKit engine shown earlier this year, which makes it much more accurate and faster. Tabbed browsing has been added and behaves somewhat similarly to Opera Mini by providing visual thumbnails without hiding the existing page.

Overall, the OS is poised to have a cleaner and more visual interface that has a "web 2.0" look, particularly in areas like the BlackBerry's e-mail client.

Although only just now being seen, 6.0 may actually launch quickly as an AT&T contact expects it no later than June or July. An unveiling could come as soon as April 27th at RIM's Wireless Enterprise Symposium, but whether or not it's attached to a new phone is less certain. Some rumors have put the Talladega, possibly known as the BlackBerry 9900, on a similar schedule. The AT&T nature of the source makes it unlikely that a variant of the usually CDMA-focused Storm would come first.

The changes may prove essential to RIM, which has historically had trouble promoting touchscreen interfaces for its smartphones. As of today, BlackBerry OS 5 is still dominated by text menus and lacks most of the features associated with modern touch platforms like Android, iPhone or webOS.

by MacNN Staff



  1. EternalGuest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    still looks a little clunky. hopefully apple's suit against HTC and its use of multitouch leads these companies to remove it. I was under the impression apple had some serious patents relating to the use of multitouch on handhelds.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Start your lawsuits.

  1. Bermy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Im confused...

    Ditto. It now seems like everyone has multi touch, pinch to zoom, etc. Just what exactly did Apple bother to patent? I find it hard to believe all these companies are taking time to willfully copy Apple's IP without a care in the world?

  1. glued916

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Well each of these mobile phone makers have their own patents and more than likely they are all guilty of patent infringement. The question is who is willing to take action and risk getting counter sued. I am sure RIM have several patents that they can use in a counter suit, that is why they will not get sued.

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple's multi-touch patent is described as follows:

    "A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command. The one or more heuristics comprise: a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command, a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a two-dimensional screen translation command, and a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a command to transition from displaying a respective item in a set of items to displaying a next item in the set of items."

    The problem is that not only does this patent apply to gestures like pinch to zoom, it also applies to single finger inputs, which apple certainly isn't the only one to patent. Not to mention you can't patent something which is intuitive or obvious. Apple's goal is to make a product which is intuitive and obvious (even a three year old can use it!). This is what will harm them. It's a weak patent and everyone knows it.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I heard...

    Steve Jobs tried to patent wearing a black turtle neck sweater with jeans. That's probably stronger than the multi-touch patent Apple thinks it has.

    But, Apple did not invent the multi-touch concept. Someone else did in the mid 80's. Why are all you iTards defending Apple to the bitter end?? Prior art iLosers.

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