It may not be as dramatic a discovery as the likely iPhone 4.0 prototype in the San Francisco Bay Area that inundated tech headlines this week, but RIM is getting a taste of the premature spotlight as details of the latest operating system for BlackBerry smartphones circulate around the blogosphere.
Boy Genius Report said it got its hands on a BlackBerry smartphone running the OS 6.0 from a secret source at AT&T and wasted little time detailing some of the features within. When asked, RIM's representatives declined to comment on the disclosed information.
The OS 6.0 prototyped home screen (pictured right) looks similar to the touch-screen BlackBerry Storm interface with a prominent digital clock, centralized wallpaper, and two rows of touch-friendly icons. Beyond a refreshed design, some UI changes we noticed right away include the e-mail and search shortcuts front and center above the wallpaper, and a sliding bar just below the wallpaper for filtering home screen icons by all and favorites.
The uncovered images also highlight a new browser--long RIM's weak point--which is reported to finally make use of tabs and multitouch, and will be based on the open-source WebKit engine that drives the iPhone's Safari browser.
A refurbished music player dumps the bland-looking skin we see on our Bold 9700 running OS 5.0 in favor of a more sophisticated view that makes use of album art in a pyramidal, tiled design. We took one look and immediately equated the visuals to Slacker Radio's BlackBerry interface, just minus the onscreen elements to mark favorites and block songs.
There are plenty more details to read from Boy Genius Report. Descriptions of the e-mail in-box, kinetic scrolling, and new mechanisms for tapping and holding the screen to surface a menu option caught our eye. The latter sounded much like the long press functionality found in Google's Android platform. We're pretty interested in seeing the OS for ourselves, just in case any errant engineers out there accidentally drop a newly decked-out BlackBerry in the bar...(oh, we kid, we kid.)