Our favorite phone tipsters just checked in after a lengthy vacation in Vegas where they were able to sit down with some contacts for an update on what can be expected in the BlackBerry world for 2009.
First, the BlackBerry 8900 seems like a definite (as has been widely reported already) for an early release. The T-Mo demo models are in the wild being pawed by corporate types for evaluation. Expect BES 5 by March 2009 with BlackBerry OS 5 (subject to carrier approval) in another 60 to 90 days from then. But that’s not the weirdest news that I heard today.
According to our tipsters, the labs at Research in Motion might be working overtime on a new version of BlackBerry Application Suite – this one might even include a version adapted for America’s favorite keyboardless smartphone.
RIM has described the Windows Mobile BlackBerry Application Suite as:
Once installed, the software will provide users with a virtual BlackBerry application experience, including support for BlackBerry email, phone, calendar, address book, tasks, memos, browser, instant messaging and other applications developed for the BlackBerry platform. Devices running the BlackBerry application suite will be able to connect to BlackBerry services via BlackBerry® Enterprise Server as well as BlackBerry® Internet Service.
According to our sources:
Blackberry Application Suite is likely to be released before WES, but is dependent on carriers as this is very different from Blackberry Connect, also expect a release this year for a certain “fruit” device.
Interestingly it seems RIM is implying that there just might be a BlackBerry client for the iPhone in the pipeline. This seems to be rather far fetched as the application would have to pass muster with Apple for its App store and so far as we’ve seen applications that duplicate existing Apple functionality (think email, address, contact) have thus far not been allowed or approved (not to mention that nasty limitation on apps that run in the background).
However just today the world was aflutter with reports that browsers (other than Safari) were being approved. So it’s anybody’s guess as to whether a BlackBerry client for iPhone would ever launch commercially (our sources were adamant that they were briefed on this – albeit only at a somewhat vague high level with no demo).
I take this with a grain of salt because it’s also possible that RIM would use preliminary development of a version of BlackBerry Application Suite for iPhone as a way to introduce uncertainty into corporate buying decisions by trying to convince purchasers of BES systems that support for iPhone could be a reality some day, thereby protecting their investment in BlackBerry software and hardware.
More device tidbits:
- Expect a BlackBerry Bold update in Q2 which will include visual voicemail (as reported initially here on BGR)
- Expect a keyboard version of the BlackBerry Storm
- EVDO Rev A BlackBerry Bold (or variation)
- Seems to confirm much of Silicon Alley
More Confirmation of OS 5.0 Features:
- OS 5.0: Flag messages and set reminder times on your BlackBerry.
- OS 5.0: View personal contact subfolders and edit contacts! Until now BES used to put all of your contacts into the Contacts application even if they were in different folders.
-OS 5.0: You will be able to view and use contacts that are in public folders and copy them to your local contact list if you have permissions.
-OS 5.0: You will have a file browser to access shared network locations to open, add, or save documents. You will be able to see document information from there such as file type, size, and date
-OS 5.0: Forward meeting invitations and calendar entries from your BlackBerry
-OS 5.0: Ability to add, delete, move, or rename personal folders
-OS 5.0: Ability to view personal distribution lists that you have in your Outlook contacts and send email to them.
- RIM is working on a solution to make emails that come from your BlackBerry look exactly like they would if they came from Outlook.
Much of what I heard today is newsworthy not because I’d never read it online before (much of a RIM compiled product list was).
Instead what I find interesting is that the rumors floating around the Internet are starting to be confirmed in meetings. As for the possibility of RIM’s BlackBerry OS running on an iPhone, I’ll believe it when I see it but wouldn’t put it past RIM to have a secret lab project working in a back room in Waterloo.