back to article RIM's BlackBerry OS 6 may be too late to fend off Apple

RIM has been under rising pressure to deliver a significant update to its ageing operating system, so it came as no surprise that BlackBerry OS 6.0 was unveiled at its Wireless Enterprise Symposium this week. The upgraded OS will be officially launched in the third quarter and claims to be the biggest refresh in several years, …


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  1. JWS
    Thumb Up

    Can't wait

    BB OS 5 works just fine, one of the best and easiest I've ever used and I've used most brands out there. I just like the fact it works very well as a phone - novel concept that one!! And does everything else well too. Still, the refresh looks good and should lead to some keyboard + touch screen devices which will be a perfect combo.

    1. Jolyon

      Don't use phones much myself

      "I just like the fact it works very well as a phone - novel concept that one!!"

      It'd be interesting to get the billing info trends and see whether there has been a decline in voice calls over time - I make about three minutes worth of them per month myself and spend much more time typing than talking on my 'phone'.

      Are there phones out there that aren't good enough to use for voice?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Feeling a little left out :(

    i really do hope that they release this for as much of their hardware as possible rather than releasing it on a carrier-by-carrier basis. my Bold 9000, a supposedly premium phone on a UK network is still pootleing along with OS4.6 which is good enough, but it still outdated.

    5.0 isnt going to get released hardware wide for the 9000 as far as i can see, and i'm not willing to use one of the leaked releases.

    so please RIM, i <3 my Berry, please give it a new lease of life!

    1. voshkin

      no chance ;-)

      Your phone is old, it has been replaced by bold 9700 - and even THAT is not getting OS 6. (annoying, as I have it, but what can you do)

      even AT&T has 4.6 for your phone, and they always have the latest firmware.

      My advice, wait for the new hardware with OS 6. that's what I am doing.

    2. John Sanders
      Thumb Up

      My Bold has 5.0.610


      Everybody and his dog is running 5.0 on the bold, if you can use Google, you can find it, it is even being offered on many popular blackberry sites.

      Os 5.0 runs fantastically well on the Bold 9000. Of course phone companies do not rush to offer it to their customers because they would prefer you to buy a newer phone. Your convenience inconveniences their revenue. This is similar to the case of the Blackberry Storm 1, with a proper 5.x upgrade it feels as if it was a newer phone, not perfect though, but much much better than in it's original 4.7 incarnation.

    3. Wade Burchette

      You can get OS 5

      I have a Bold 9000 and I currently have BB OS 5 installed. If you go to the website they will have links and instructions so you can download the latest OS for your BlackBerry, even if it is not carrier supported. Plus has a team of addicts who test every new OS out there and let you know if it is worth the time to upgrade.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        in regards to using crackberry et al...

        i really don't want to have to update my phone using an OS which is not officially supported by my carrier, and i don't want to update it to an OS that removes certain funcionality and in some cases has been reported to cause my to not work as intended.

        official OTA release only, please.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "official" 5.0 for the Bold 9000

          The 5.0 firmware has been officially released for the 9000 by at least one carrier:

          (You have to delete a file called vendor.xml to install a release from a different carrier).

          Unfortunately, carriers have little or no incentive to release the updates for existing customers. :-(

      2. Daniel B.

        OS5 for mah BoldBerry

        I know OS5 is out there for my Bold, but I'd rather wait for my carrier's version to come out. I would definitely like to keep my warranty, and using a non-carrier-locked update might screw up my warranty if my 'berry breaks down. At least I know my carrier will release it; they actually released 4.5 a year after it came out for my previous 8300.

        About OS6... can they PLEASE make it so that memory doesn't fill up during regular use, and enters the "pacman" mode? (Pac-Man mode: when available memory goes 0 bytes, the OS starts deleting all messages and appointments like Pacman eating power pellets.)

  3. ThomH

    Why are Apple in the title of this story?

    They don't seem any more relevant than Symbian, Android, etc. And I thought all Blackberrys taken together were still outselling all iPhones taken together?

  4. RegisterThis

    Too late to fend off Apple?

    ... it already is ... Apples momentum slackened off end last year with RIM taking market share and Apple sliding?

    Q3 2009

    RIM - 8.2m units sold - 19% market share

    Apple - 7.4m units sold - 17.1 % market share

    Q4 2009

    RIM - 10.7m units sold - 19.6% market share

    Apple - 8.7m units sold - 16% market share

    I think the sales analysis (thanks IDC) show that Apple's stealing market share from Nokia and RIM peaked in Q3 2009 and then ran out of steam in Q4 2009.

    Of course you can argue it is unfair as Apple has a one product offering - but the truth is Apple lives and dies by selling new high value niche products and for them to continue to grow market share here at the expense of Nokia and RIM is by releasing their next iPhone.

    But to suggest that RIM *has* to do something to fend off Apple is to argue against the stats (and numerous market reports) that indicate that they ALREADY ARE ... since Q3 2009, RIM (& Nokia) have been growing market share and Apple faltering in their march.

    1. ThomH

      Having thought about it a bit more...

      ... since my previous post, I guess they mean fend off Apple like a farmer might fend off foxes. He's not expecting them to lose his house, his sheep or his cows to them but he would be better overall if he also managed to keep his chickens. Ummm, or something.

      I guess quarterly figures also tend to favour companies like Blackberry that release products all year round over companies like Apple that seem to have a yearly release cycle that yields product at the end of Q2, giving them a huge surge each Q3.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Too late to fend off Apple?

      A major reason that iPhone sales dipped would be to do with people waiting for the new model, which looking at your post, I'm sure you don't need me to point that out! However, because of that I don't think it's quite right to say Apple will be 'faltering' permanently.

  5. uhuznaa

    Cellphones or what?

    The thing is that modern smartphones have totally moved away from being phones. They're internet and application and game platforms with a phone app somewhere on them. And it's very hard to just try to follow a trend and not to look as if you're just following a trend.

    RIM has the problem of being good in a market segment that is eating the dust generated by another market segment taking off big style. There *are* people who want just a good phone with good business functionality, though. On the other hand, this is not a growing market even with business users. RIM is in a really awkward position right now.

  6. Citizen Kaned

    problem with blackberries....

    we are looking at moving over to blackberry as we have had nothing but trouble with the HTC windows phones.

    the thing i want to know is why cant blackberries get exchange emails out of the box. why do i need to install webservers and sql servers on the server to get the same functionality that even a bloody ipod (yes, an mp3 player) can do (via wireless i admit). emails out of the box? not a chance. calendar? pah

    the new BES express software sounded good but after 4 days of playing with it it cannot work. at least they arent trying to charge thousands for this service unlike BES.

    all we need is a phone that can get emails and calendar. android isnt available via our comms provider :( neither is iphone

    1. Timbert

      No software needed....

      I have a few users in my company that pull email to their Blackberries without server software. I didn't even have to open up a POP or IMAP port. They're able to pull it through the HTTP ports that Outlook Web Access uses for Exchange. This has worked even with Exchange 5.5.

      Calendars and contacts might be another story, but there's always Google Sync for that :)

      1. Citizen Kaned


        cheers bud, i will look into this.

        yeah the server software is some of the worst ive seen (50 pages of security settings to get it to work in windows!!!!)

        i know i could get email but hopefully the google sync might work for calendars etc. cheers bud!

    2. SteveNZ

      @Citizen Kaned

      With a BIS account (compulsory anyway on many carriers) you can link to any email account out of the box and with no software. What BES(E) gives you is CONTROL and functions way beyond what your ipod can give you.

      How about running a search on my 2GB mail store - could my ipod achieve that in a short time - nope - but I can on my 9000 (OS5) with BESe.

      It's not hard to set up - and once it is, the two way sync, email functionality, actual PHONE functionality, contacts, calendar - almost everything beats all other handsets I've owned (exception of web browser- iphone/pod wins hands down on that - maybe OS6 / WebKit will fix that one)

      And OS5 works great on the 9000, is easy to install - and it's pretty hard to brick a blackberry since even a badly loaded or corrupt OS doesn't brick the phone cos the loader is still active.

  7. Paul Ross
    Jobs Horns

    fend off apple?

    Most blackberry phones have a keyboard!

  8. Jay 2


    I've got 5 running on my (company provided) 8900 Curve. I quite likeit and it's much better than 4. Though the wifi is still rubbish, and is flakey as anything. That's probably my only gripe. Not sure if it's drivers which could be tweaked for 6, or just a naff handset.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can't see much differerence in 5.0

      I upgraded my 8900 running 4.6 to 5.0, but I can't honestly say that there's that much difference. The browser might be marginally faster, but it's still fundamentally the same browser, and most of the other changes are fairly cosmetic, and I have not been able to get Enterprise Messenger working on the new version. I haven't bothered upgrading any of the 20 or so phones in my department that I'm responsible for, and don't anticipate that I'll bother unless someone points out a significant improvement in 5.0 that somehow escaped my notice.

  9. /\/\j17

    Smartphones - More Thank One Market

    Yay, El Reg write story about mobile so drop in mandatory reference to iPhone (I remember the good old days when everything on El Reg made a reference to the size of Wales...).

    This article not only ignores the facts RegisterThis pointed out but also blandly treats the smartphone market as a single entity. Quite simply it isn't any more.

    At one end you have the toy smartphones, like the iPhone and to an extent the Android phones. People don't buy them to use as smartphones but because they are shiny, cool and/or geeky. Said owners then do a spot of web browsing but mainly play games on their phones.

    At the other end you have the tool smartphones, like the Blackberry. People don't tend to buy these at all, their companies buy them. These owners then do a spot of web browsing but mainly keep on top of emails and their work schedules.

    For Blackberry, etc their market growth comes from both on-going handset replacement and the increased spread within businesses - partly people wanting one because their co-worker does and partly work realising they can get their drones to work more or less 24/7 without paying them any more.

    For the iPhone, etc they probably have more or less peaked in terms of active ownership numbers, in my opinion. Yes, they will still continue to sell a bucket full of phones but they will generally be selling the newest iPhone to the owners of an older iPhone. Lets face it, if you WANT an iPhone you have probably got one by now and if you don't you probably aren't going to suddenly see the light and be converted to the church of shiny.

  10. ml100
    Thumb Down

    VoIP please

    The only thing that would keep me with the RIM hardware is a native SIP client. If thats not part of v6.0 then I am off to android... Only been waiting for a SIP stack for 5 years.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plenty more than just apple in the smartphone market

    While blackberry clearly won't ignore the business market in the future, if you look at their quarterly results they are getting quite a lot of growth from the consumer market, presumably from people that think that the important part of a smartphone is still it's ability to help you communicate whether that is voice, email, im or social networking stuff so in the long run they will keep adding more consumer pleasing features.

    Interesting to see the slant that is always put on these kind of articles though, blackberry have the ageing os and yet theirs has happily had folders for ages and was able to multitask right from it's first release.

    Probably the main thing that blackberry will have to fend off is not the iphone, but rather the vast and ever increasing range of android phones because apple's one size fits all attitude won't suit everyone whereas with android you could easily have companies attacking every form factor and not simply going for touchscreen only designs.

  12. Seanie Ryan
    Black Helicopters

    the problem

    "will have a whole new and more intuitive user interface"

    when will nokia/RIM/MS et al realise to _stop_ putting in a new user interface every time. Think it out properly and stick with it for more then 1-2 years. its what annoys users most and detracts for the immediate recognition of your product.

    also, i think "the trend for the browser to morph into the OS" is a mistake for any OS.

    kinda like a few years ago when the Set-top TV box was all the buzz. Pointless and never took off.

    oh and @/\/\j17 , I know loads of people who are still buying their first iphone. IN fact in the last 3 months here in Ireland i know more who have just bought one than in the previous 18 months (mainly because Vodafone just started supplying them)

  13. John Sanders


    When you use a blackberry is it because:

    1) Your company gave it to you.

    2) You bought it knowing what you bought.

    3) You bought it and have no clue.

    If you're of the 1st type, you do not care, you may like it or not, your company bought it so you get the corporate email, updates to the OS and what can you run on the phone depends on two factors, how old the blackberry is, and how good the IT dep is. Corporates may find easier to keep buying new blackberries just because it is easier to do so, rather than jump the boat. So they're moderately loyal, and change blackberries every two or three years.

    If you belong to the second type, you absolutely love your blackberry, you run the latest OS, and even knowing that an Iphone-like is better for the silly stuff, your blackberry is very convenient and they will take it away from your dead cold hands. You know its pros and cons. You're very loyal and will buy another blackberry, although you won't buy it tomorrow, you will buy it in the next two to three years, and maybe like me, you'll buy it once the old one breaks. But when you buy a new one, it will be probably high end model.

    If you belong to the third type, no matter what, you'll think that the iphone-like or (whatever new market fashion) is great, you'll regret buying the blackberry, and more likely you won't buy another blackberry unlike it is even more flashy that the one being shown on tv.

    So whatever happens, anyone having to spend more than £200 on a BBRY smart phone, won't be buying them in quantities, nor they will do it often. So I do not know how RIM or anyone else for that matter could expect to have a big market increase overnight.

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