Conveniently timed just before the upcoming Mobile World Conference 2012, photographs and information detailing new features of the as-yet-unreleased BlackBerry 10 OS have been leaked to Crackberry.com.
The pictures – which, according to the news website’s Kevin Michaluk, were part of a document obtained from one of the company’s external advertising partners – show a considerable advance in mobile interface development from Research In Motion, including the addition of homescreen widgets comparable to those found on Google Android and Windows Phone 7’s Live Tiles. This brings the BlackBerry interface more into line with the current cutting-edge in the sector.
Previous information on the new OS made it look like a customized version of the interface used on the company’s PlayBook tablet computer, according to Michaluk. While much of that influence is still evident, he said, engineers have clearly made dramatic adjustments to the GUI in order to make it better suited to smartphone use.
The reporter also noted that BB 10 OS features an apparently redesigned icon tray, with new artwork and image previews on the icons themselves corresponding to files or applications stored in folders. What’s more, the system has a new universal inbox feature, which unites contact and communications information from different media, including – presumably – text, email and voice.
Importantly, a shot of the updated caller display screen includes an icon for video chat, highlighting the forward-facing camera capabilities present on the next generation of BlackBerry devices, he added.
If everything in the eventual release of the new BlackBerry series is in line with this information, Michaluk wrote, it could mean a “promising” step forward for RIM.
“Looking at the document, I have no doubt that the OS screencaps were supplied by Research In Motion to the ad company, but looking at the fact it is ‘partner’ material with the final document produced by the partner it’s always possible that changes were made and that what RIM provides as working materials could be different than what RIM will ultimately launch with,” he cautioned.
RIM, experts agree, needs a major shot in the arm if it is to regain the market position it enjoyed until recently. The BlackBerry maker was the dominant force in the business mobility sector for a long time, but has seen its products eclipsed by iPhones and Android devices of late.