BlackBerry continues to maintain a lead over Apple and Google in the smartphone area, at least in terms of marketshare. But the Research In Motion handset has trailed when it comes to apps, which some analysts have said in the long-term could hurt that lead. In fact, there have been those who have offered that in a few years Apple and Google could essentially control 90 percent of the smartphone market. But RIM has apparently taken notice, and it doesn’t like the company is going to go down without a fight.
This week RIM announced that a new version of its operating system for the BlackBerry will arrive in the second half of this year. BlackBerry OS 6.0 will likely make the handsets a bit more consumer friendly, with a focus on Web browsing and apps. The new browser will include support for tabs – so you can finally multiple task while utilizing this smartphone, plus it will refine the pinch-to-zoom and offer a new look for the favorites.
Other refinements to the operating system will mean an improved music player and photo viewer, with the requisite new photo app. But according to reports users can also expect a more feature friendly home screen, which will allow users to customize how the apps are placed. The App World application marketplace will further be pre-installed on the OS 6.0, so users will find it easier to get the apps – so now the question is if RIM builds it, will the app developers come out to play?
All this means that the BlackBerry is going to be changing just a bit, and it sounds like the BlackBerry will be taking a cue from the iPhone and Android devices just a bit. Let’s hope that this doesn’t go too far, as some of us business users like things the way they already are. And one area where RIM will not go – at least for now – is with a touch screen interface.
Mobile App Highlights of the Week:
Mocapay Picks up the Bill – This week the New York State selected Mocapay as its official mobile marketing provider. This will include mobile marketing campaigns for New York City to inform members about industry news, seminar and event updates and other relevant information.
Twitter for iPhone – The official Twitter app for the iPhone has arrived, and it has replaced the Tweetie 2 app – after Twitter acquired Tweetie. The app allows for use with Twitter without an account, and this lets you monitor your friends tweets without actually using Twitter. This release follows similar official releases for the Android and BlackBerry operating systems.
Chevy Volt Gets Android – The Chevy Volt extended-range electric car will tap into Google’s Android mobile platform. This seems to be the first result of an alliance forged between Google and GM, with the latter’s OnStar system offering navigation and communication technology. But what does this mean exactly? Perhaps you can honk your horn with an app or start the engine before you even walk out the door?
Canvas Replaces Paper – Need to download a form or survey? Skip the paper and go straight to the Canvas. This new Canvas app store app offers BlackBerry users access to hundreds of paper forms and surveys using the handset. The Canvas app store is free to download and comes with a free 30-day trial, where users can find apps to support a variety of business types, including sales force automation, field service and even asset management, time, expense and travel forms. These cost only about $.50 per form, and there is an unlimited use option for $20 per month or $210 per year. The app is free to download from the BlackBerry App World store.