Earlier today, RIM has officially announced its next mobile operating system, dubbed BlackBerry BBX. This will merge RIM’s two current operating systems, the BlackBerry OS seen on its smartphone range, and QNX, which powers RIM’s first (and as of yet only) tablet, the PlayBook.
This move was expected and makes perfect sense. It’s also quite similar to what Google is doing with Android, where it now has two versions, one optimized for phones and the other for tablets, versions which will be merged when the next iteration, Ice Cream Sandwich, launches.
BBX is also aimed at embedded devices, which is a nice tune that all new OS launches seem to play in recent years. The BBX platform will support BlackBerry cloud services, and you’ll be able to write apps for it in HTML5, the native SDK, Adobe’s AIR, as well as BlackBerry’s runtime for Android apps.
Image via LaptopMag
BBX comes with a brand new UI framework called Cascades (and it can’t come soon enough if you ask us). This supports advanced graphics and many new capabilities such as deep integration between apps, always-on push services, and more. Cascades will be out in beta “later this fall”.
RIM has also announced that the native SDK for the PlayBook is finally available. This allows for the creation of advanced apps which will be compatible with upcoming BBX devices as well. The native SDK supports C/C++ and POSIX.
The BlackBerry PlayBook now supports Adobe AIR 3.0, Flash 11, and WebGL, and the developer beta of the PlayBook OS 2.0 is now out. This includes the BlackBerry runtime for Android apps.
Now if you’re wondering just when exactly you’ll be able to buy the first devices running BBX, you’ll have to continue to wonder, since RIM did not say anything about release dates. From the looks of things, especially considering how small and general the OS announcement was, that probably won’t happen this year. Still, we’ll keep you posted. After all, BBX is probably RIM’s biggest bet yet. It’s literally betting the company on BBX, which means that this may turn out to be a great competitor for iOS and Android. Or it may be remembered in the future as what conclusively drove RIM into the grave. We’ll just have to wait and see how things actually pan out.
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