Announced last month and released by Verizon today, the new BlackBerry Bold 9930 is both a major hardware upgrade to the BlackBerry lineup and a revision to the classic Bold 9000 released in 2008.
But if you have a BlackBerry running the recently-launched OS 6, is the jump to RIM’s latest software offering OS 7 worth the device upgrade?
As we’ve previously reported, OS 7 will only be available on new phones, so it’s one of the Bold 9930’s key selling points. If you’re sporting a Bold 9650 or a BlackBerry Torch, you’re stuck with OS 6.
The major upgrade that OS 7 packs is a high-powered, modernized web browser. OS 6 brought the webkit browser to the BlackBerry platform, which was significant, but the browsing capabilities were still far behind much of RIM’s competition. The upgraded browser includes a new Java engine, liquid graphics (better zooming and panning), HTML5 video, enhanced gesture support and speedier HTML rendering.
Despite RIM’s claims that the entire “BlackBerry experience” has been enhanced with liquid graphics, the OS 7 interface looks extremely similar to what you find on OS 6. The colors and icons look sharper, and general movements are likely to be speedier, but many 3rd party apps still need to be upgraded to take advantage of this. Furthermore, much of the speed improvements and removal of lag should likely be attributed to the Bold 9900/9930’s inclusion of a 1.2 GHz processor.
Aside from some minimal aesthetic improvements and a browser that arguably puts the BlackBerry web experience in contention with some of its rivals, OS 7 will bring you an expanded voice-activated search function and BlackBerry Balance. Balance is a business tool designed to allow enterprise users to divide work and private schedules more easily by connecting to the BlackBerry Administrative Service.
The argument to upgrade to the latest BlackBerry Bold devices solely for OS 7 would be far easier to make if you were moving from OS 5. If you’re making the switch from OS 6, the latest software offering alone might not be enough to justify a new 2-year deal on AT&T or Verizon.