I’m attending Research In Motion’s Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) this week. There haven’t been a lot of big announcements, but some of merit.
RIM announced two new phones on Monday – the BlackBerry Pearl refresh (the 9100) which is supposed to be slated for release by AT&T but not really announced by the carrier. The BlackBerry Bold is making its way to CDMA carriers (Verizon Wireless in the US) with the new BlackBerry 9650.
They also announced BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) 5.0 which now adds support for Wi-Fi calling (VOIP) through MVS. I had an MVS account when I worked at Research In Motion and it was pretty cool. It’s an interesting concept and great to have your desk phone ring on your BlackBerry.
During the opening session, Research In Motion showed a video that highlighted the features and capabilities of BlackBerry Device Software 6.0. Research In Motion’s been getting so much pressure in the market to update their UI to match that found on the iPhone and Android platforms and looks like they’re set to deliver. I truly can’t wait to get my hands on the new device software (It’s not the OS although that’s what many people call it – the BlackBerry OS is running at different versions numbers, it’s the BlackBerry Device Software that the user interacts with) to see what’s new. Apparently Research In Motion has done a complete UI refresh on all of the applications. The BlackBerry messages application is already VERY capable for my email use (I just can’t stand the mail client on the iPhone) and I can only imagine this will be even better. It looked from the video Research In Motion showed that it’s got a lot of cool new features.
There’s a lot of speculation that Research In Motion’s got plans for a hybrid device (one with a touch screen and a keyboard) and I’m not sure I believe it’s true. It’s likely they will do this – especially with BlackBerry Device Software 6.0’s cool touch-based UI capabilities, but they’re being pretty closed mouthed about it. Historically every ‘leaked’ BlackBerry device has turned out to be a hoax – I can’t tell you how many times I’d hand a person the BlackBerry Bold 9000 and see them press on the screen. So many web sites said it’d be a touch screen device (even though I knew it wasn’t slated to be) but there has never been a touch screen version and people still push on the screen with their fingers.
I’m looking for some more big announcements coming at the conference, but I doubt there’s any more pending. They did announce the dates for the BlackBerry Developer Conference – September 27 through 30. I’m hoping I can attend the conference again this year.