BlackBerry OS 7 and 7.1 Explored
BlackBerry is still known for business users and it has continued releasing a series of operating systems where the BlackBerry OS 7 and its updated version BlackBerry OS 7.1 rule the world. However, the earlier devices cannot be upgraded with this current version which is a biggest disappointment for many BB users. Research In Motion (RIM) has provided much more convenient accesses to the users who can now experience multitasking and some specialized input devices. Several features that RIM has introduced are the trackball, trackwheel, and the most recently touchscreen and trackpad.
The company has lost its amazing position which it used to enjoy years back. The position seems to be taken by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Most of the people worldwide are demanding Android devices or Apple’s products. Currently with the launch of Nokia Lumia series, the demand for Windows Phone 8 based devices has also risen. The competition is increasing and RIM got to do something to bring back its reign and survive. Lets check out what the BB OS 7 and 7.1 versions have to offer.
This OS has got greatly improved web browser. More touch-friendly experience and the OS uses less data as comared to other operating systems. The devices also come along with good social networking integration through this upgraded version.
The third party app selection is still weak. In this powerful competition, the touch elements of the User Interface still seem grafted on. Consumers still have to face poor Exchange support. There is also no integration of mobile hotspot feature.
The BlackBerry platform is widely known its corporate email support through MIDP 1.0. Currently, the phone has got new MIDP 2.0 that allows the users to access complete wireless activation and synchronization with Micro Exchange, Novell GroupWise email, calendar, tasks, notes, and contants, or Lotus Domino. These features use BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the operating system supports WAP 1.2. Wireless carriers perhaps provide automatic updates to the OS, but the carriers should support BB over the air software loading service (OTASL).
RIM BlackBerry 7
This update seems the major revision of the previous BB 6 OS. However, users still get the same OS which they are familiar with and is comparatively behind in the competition. On the other hand, the hardware is not the problem, but RIM is rapidly losing phone market share as consumers now want something far more interesting and appealing to experience.
Basic UI and Device Support
One of the biggest features that RIM has successfully bagged for its enthusiasts is push e-mail. The manufacturer was considered as the first companies to offer push email service to mobile devices. Research In Motion’s operating system offers out of the world experience to its users through Java APIs and others. The launch of BlackBerry 7 OS has grabbed a lot of attention from people where Bold 9930, Bold 9900, Torch 9810, and Torch 9850 were made available through different service providers. The devices were improved as well where users found capacitive touch displays, sharper screen resolution, more than 1 GHz processor, HD video recording, and much more. In fact, the company had also launched some of the touchscreens rather than just sticking with the QWERTY keypad and trackball. However, the question arise is whether the company still stand in the competition where other market players are offering a slew of features to access through different OSes. This is a big challenge!
There is one thing that the BB 7 has got newly is the smoother feel and more responsive upgrades than the previous versions. RIM calls this new feature “Liquid Graphics”, but there is nothing great to chase for as compared to those contemporary smartphones. An Augmented Reality Mode is integrated that enables the users to find out if there is other BB Messenger users available nearby. This also gives devices NFC support, but depends on the carriers.
As far as the UI is concerned, it seems similar, but with little additions. Of all the changes, one thing that disappoints most is the on-screen keyboard that becomes really useful for those who buy devices like Torch 9850 which doesn’t come with hardware keyboard. While using the keyboard in portrait mode, users find the keys very tough to press perfectly. When turned in landscape mode, users find it easier to type, but the keyboard covers more than half the screen that again annoys one.
Multimedia, Browser and Messaging
The BB 7 OS based devices come with WebKit browser which is no doubt a big improvement. In fact, this is the best thing that BlackBerry 7 has to highlight. For users who are beginners can enjoy faster browsing. This browser runs on HTML5 benchmarks which give far better output than those dual-core Android 2.3 phones. It also supports tabbed browsing and dynamic HTML, it renders pages more accurately, and on touch screen-equipped BlackBerries supports pinch zoom and smoother scrolling. It doesn’t support Flash, but it’s still a very good Web browser.
Now when it is said as messaging, the time has changed where the technology has brought a lot more than your expectation. Now messaging also includes updates of Twitter and Facebook, saved as part of the universal inbox. The OS syncs contacts of Facebook account into the main address book which is a matter of convenience for the users.
Other than this, multimedia is another factor which many users need to know. The 720p HD files run well on full screen mode. The devices let you sync music wirelessly with other computers. In fact, the video player apps work smoothly and comfortably display video thumbnails and large album art. There is a new Amazon MP3 based storefront offered for the users to buy MP3 files on air. Web searches for videos have also become easy where MobiTV, YouTube, MSN, and other sites can be access. The OS comes along with voice-activated universal search which is a boon for many.
Some of the third-party features that RIM has offered in its BlackBerry phones are Microsoft Office document editors (built-in), data security, and Microsoft Exchange integration. Push e-mail is a primary feature from this company, but if your device is installed with BlackBerry Enterprise Server then Microsoft Exchange integration is accessible. One of the biggest lacking feature which is turning out as a huge requirement in today’s generation is the mobile hot-spot feature. A lot of devices are coming with this feature, but RIM seems to be crawling at the bottom with its own features and OSes.
The new APIs introduced in BlackBerry 7 OS enables to start third-party app development. There is an OpenGLES 2.0 support that offers some better looking games. New compass and NFC support for apps and also supporting HD camcorder and camera are some much better than the previous versions.
BlackBerry’s Desktop Software
BlackBerry desktop software can be used in both Macs and PCs. What is interesting is that it allows you to sync media quickly to and from your BB phones. This also allows you to sync iTunes playlists and videos, Lotus Notes contacts/calendars/notes/tasks, and Outlook for individual users. Other than this, users can also sync Google contacts over air, but you can’t simultaneously sync with Outlook.
If asked the final answer about how good is the BB 7 OS, we probably would say that this is not a real great thing to chase for. This is the fact that RIM needs to massively improve its operating systems to get some good amount of market share. This is true that BB 7 is better than BB 6, but it’s far behind in the competition where Android and iOS stand. Those OSes in fact offer enterprise security and good battery management.
One of the biggest issues that RIM still faces is the lack of third-party apps. RIM is planning for new OS – QNX that will shift developer’s attention from BB7, but it may deliver improved multitasking, graphics, dual core CPU support, exchange integration, mobile hotspot features, and smoother user interface. If QNX fails to deliver all these important features then it will again be considered as par, because all these are already offered by Android devices. Overall, RIM needs to run faster and get back to its realm to see some real gain. QNX in this matter needs time to enter in the market; till then RIM might lose its hope to see some great future.
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