back to article BlackBerry OS 6 – Red Star Rising

It would be both right and wrong to describe the new BlackBerry Operating System as just eye-candy on the existing java based system. Correct in that what it does is make the OS look very much better. Incorrect in that in making it look better it also works better and is easier to use. The most significant change is the …


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  1. sandman
    Thumb Up

    Blinking Light

    That light may seem like such a minor touch, but it is incredibly useful. It means I can spend my evenings away from the laptop doing normal things, but if my US colleagues come up with anything, the little light will tell me. Then , if it's important, I can reply or fire up the big machine. Much more satisfactory than having to constantly manually check for mail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      O seductive power of a blinky light.

      I don't have a phone that does email (well, it might, if I let it), so instead I make do with a set schedule of acceptable times to check mail. I'll be ready to deal with whatever comes up then, and at the other times I'm presumably busy doing other things. At three hour intervals it's not as relaxed as Donald Knuth's, that is once every three months, but he has a human secretary to filter for and deliver to him the interesting tidbits, and I don't. Oh well, whatever it takes to stay organised.

      On the other hand, it might be useful if the device could differentiate. Perhaps change colour for important messages. And I don't mean by the headers or anything else the _sender_ adds, but by local criteria, as I am the one who decides what's important, not the sender. Not even a direct boss: I decide the message is important enough to look at now perhaps because of where it came from, not the other way around.

  2. ThomH Silver badge

    Not quite right on Safari

    Just the pedant in me needing to shout up; it doesn't affect the tone of the article or the conclusions generally. Web pages in secondary tabs remain active in Mobile Safari unless and until the system starts to run out of RAM. Then they're purged, with only the little screen shot left to help you navigate from one tab to another. So it's just a way of attempting to do more with less, and is why you very often see tabs having to reload on the iPad (a small amount of RAM compared to the speed and storage required for native resolution graphics) but much less often on the iPhone (with more RAM and fewer pixels).

    I guess the correct comparison would be: what does the BlackBerry do when memory starts to run low? But you shouldn't really be able to find out in normal usage, assuming they've put a decent amount in.

  3. Andy Farley
    Thumb Up

    True that.

    Being able to amend the flash rate/brilliance would help as well. Also the alarm clock function with its all or weekdays setting is well thought out.

    If they are going to be able to run android apps as indicated earlier on El Reg then that will really help.

    The one bad point really is that after being tied to one for so long I'm a bit bored of it. It's not as shiny as a new iPhone.

  4. amacks

    frickin' switch

    I do hope the borrow apple's switch for controlling ringing. The magic, i'm in the holster, I'm out of the holster is kinda cool (and could make the basis for an excellent Old Spice parody), but sometimes you just want the thing to shut-up, without going through menus or finding a magnet


    1. Steven Knox Silver badge
      Paris Hilton


      My Torch stops ringing as soon as I touch the screen or a button, or pull it out of the holster. There's also a mute button on the top right corner of the phone.

      As I recall, my previous Blackberry (Bold; OS 5.x) did the same (minus the touchscreen bit of course). I don't have an iPhone, but I don't really see how it could be easier.

    2. Ammaross Danan

      Custom Button

      My BB has a button on the left side that is customizable. However, the default setting is audio profiles. Press the button, and point at the sound profile you want. I usually pick "Loud", however, very easy to switch to "Vibrate Only" or "Silent" for the movies. If you're concerned about silencing a call, pressing any button on the thing (at least mine) stops the ringing. Since my holster is a stretchy-sides flip-top, it's very easy to do.

  5. flying_walrus
    Thumb Down

    Yes it does

    >While the excellent SmrtGuard will let you access your lost BlackBerry to get it to dial you back

    >so that you can hear conversations where you’ve left it, or make it ping loudly, or track the device

    >by GPS, the Apple version does none of that because it doesn’t have the APIs.

    Well, two out of three ain't bad. and it's the useful two.

  6. bazza Silver badge

    Torch bearer

    Got myself a Torch, and I like it very much. The push messaging is very good indeed, as is the battery life. I went for one from 3 because you get Skype for free too then! The in / out holster thing is very good, the browser is pretty good, I like the choice of touch screen and physical keyboard. I even like the fact that I can download the software dev kit for free and write 'n' run my own apps (not that I've done that yet).

    I don't like the fact that you have to buy an app to lock the screen orientation. Pulling out the keyboard locks it in portrait, and often that's what I want. You have to buy an app to allow you to put the phone number of an SMS sender in to an existing contact. It will allow you to create a new contact, but not add to an existing contact - grrr! The camera is OK, but not as good as the one in my old SE C905. I wish the memory card slot was external. I wish that more apps were touch screen aware - Google maps doesn't do pinch zoom (there's soft buttons instead that aren't too bad to use), Opera seems totally unaware of the touch screen and isn't anywhere near as good as the in built browser which I find odd given previous experiences with Opera. The GPS is very good, and the Blackberry maps are certainly alright.

    I got the Torch because I couldn't wait for a BB based on QNX. I've looked at QNX as an embedded OS before, and I really like its truly odd architecture. Linus and Tanenbaum might have a thing or two to say about it! I wanted a QNX based BB just for the OS.

  7. John Sanders
    Thumb Up

    Got a 9780 recently

    With OS 6, and while it has its little quirks, all I have to say is that it feels amazing compared to previous OS 5.

  8. Rick Leeming

    typing this on my 9800...

    I've been a Blackberry user on and off since the 7x00 series devices. A couple of years back I caved in and bought a Pearl as I finally caved in and bought a personal. Blackberry.

    I've had few regrets, namely the AWFUL browser on the pre-OS6 devices, but when I got one I knew it was awful! With the Torch I really think they do actually have a handset that matches (and indeed surpasses) the iPhone in many areas. Still not beating the iPhone for media consumption and gaming, but for what matters to most people who buy this type of handset it's stunning.

    If Adobe do roll out Flash as they are suggesting, and RIM do roll out a JVM to run Adroid apps (again as the rumours have been saying for months) then the iPhone really does have a serious competitor!

    I gave my wife my old 8900 to replace the HD2 thing she's been using, and after a short grump about the keyboard she's already suffering from Blackberry Thumb!

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