RIM has just posted a new sneak peek of BlackBerry 6, the next version of the BlackBerry software scheduled for release later this summer.
Like the first sneak peek from WES 2010, the video highlights some of the changes coming to the BlackBerry OS, namely social integration at the system level, a more streamlined interface and support for gestures and other touch features.
In fact, in this second preview, almost all of the interface elements appear to be touch-based. There is even a new virtual keyboard on display that looks similar to what the iPhone sports, as well as support for pinch zoom. This makes us think that RIM is planning to launch a new line of touchscreen BlackBerry devices. However, unlike the beleaguered BlackBerry Storm and Storm II, these devices look like they will be paired with an OS that was designed for touch.
We really like how BlackBerry is integrating Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger with the inbox, and making it easy to post to multiple social networks at one time. We also love the native RSS integration. BlackBerry 6 will also sport a new web browser based on WebKit, which powers Mobile Safari and the browsers on Android and webOS. The browser should go a long way to improving and modernizing the BlackBerry experience.
BlackBerry Protect: A Free Way to Find, Back Up and Restore Your Phone
BlackBerry Protect is still in private beta and will be launching through the BlackBerry Beta Zone later in the week via invite codes. It will reach public beta later this year.
Here’s what BlackBerry Protect, which is free, will let you do:
- Back up your BlackBerry contacts, calendar, memos, bookmarks and text messages over Wi-Fi
- Restore your data to a new BlackBerry smartphone or switch from one BlackBerry to another
- Remotely lock your device with a password or remotely wipe all of the data off of your device
- Track the location of your smartphone via GPS so that you can pinpoint where it is or where you left it
- Remotely activate a loud ringer so that you can find a phone misplaced in your house (or in your sofa)
- Add your contact info to the home screen of your BlackBerry so that others can contact you if they find it
This is a solid list of features we think should be included by all major smartphone makers by default. While Apple does offer these same services via MobileMe for $99 per year, Motorola also has a similar offering for free via its MotoBlur service.
The wireless backup and wireless restore features are especially slick and we think they will nicely complement the workflow of the typical BlackBerry user.
What do you think of the new BlackBerry 6 preview and of BlackBerry Protect?