Need to know – BlackBerry OS 7

It's had a makeover, packs more punch and doesn't give a monkey's about older models. Introducing BlackBerry's OS 7…

Now that RIM is on the verge of unleashing a couple of new BlackBerrys and its 9900 is market-bound in August, its high time we took a look at what will sit underneath the skin of all that shiny new hardware.

Old hat

Bad news if you're hoping to hold on to your BlackBerry Torch or Bold handsets and grab a piece of the OS 7 pie – it's taking a new-models-only approach. Older models just don't have the horsepower to handle the might of OS 7, unlike the 9900 which packs a 1.2GHz engine at its core. So while current BlackBerry owners have been enjoying the fun face of OS 6 since August 2010, they're SOL on the OS 7 update.

Got the power

If it wasn't clear, OS 7's increased power demands need a powerful processor to keep everything chugging along smoothly. Although we're yet to receive confirmation, it's likely the two impending handsets have been fitted with 1.2GHz processors, like the 9900. That's quite a big leap for BlackBerry, whose handsets have typically packed pretty paltry CPUs – the Bold 9780 and Torch's processors had a clock speed of 624MHz. Pathetic.

Surf's up

BlackBerry OS 7 sees a significant improvement in the web department and, according to RIM, a browser that's over one and a half times faster than that on OS 6. That browser, coupled with enhanced Liquid Graphics, will be pumped into all new BlackBerrys for faster rendering, better panning and zooming and high-quality visuals. More importantly, though, it sounds whippet quick. Read: frustration-free.

High-HTML 5

OS 6 didn't come with flash-enabled, full-fat web browsing and OS 7 is no different. But as we've seen with OS 6, HTML 5 once again comes to the rescue for your web browsing and video viewing pleasure.

New UI, new tricks

Expect snazzy new icons and a much smoother user experience on new BlackBerrys. Other OS 7 features include NFC support for contactless payments, while Universal Search, first introduced in OS 6, welcomes voice-enabled search. Docs To Go handles your MS Office-based needs.

Balancing act

Keeping personal and work life separate is crucial and carting around two phones is an unnecessary chore. That's where BlackBerry Balance comes in – it offers a new way to handle your BlackBerry addiction and avoid any inadvertent sharing: preventing access to work info from social networking apps, carrying out corporate data wipes without losing your personal information and we're sure your boss will be able to sleep much better at night knowing you can't copy and paste top secret data into your personal account. Because that's exactly how you spend your weekends, isn't it?

Playtime

The new OS is set to make its debut with the launch of the 9900, rumoured to be landing in a phone shop near you in August, and continuing RIM's drive to distance itself from its business-oriented past to a future filled with fun. We hope.

Also

BlackBerry PlayBook video review

Blackberry Bold 9900 preview

BlackBerry Torch video review

BlackBerry 9900 and 9730 official with Blackberry 7 OS

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