Some screenshots of the next version of the BlackBerry OS have leaked out, giving the world the best glimpse so far. These show that RIM is adding support for homescreen widgets, video chat, and more.
The homescreens for current and previous versions of this operating system have been entirely icon-based, service simply as an app launcher. The iPhone does something similar, but Android and Windows Phone include widgets, which give users access to additional information without opening a full application.
As shown at right, a weather widget can give current conditions, a phone widget can show missed calls, a music widget can display information on the current song playing, while a map widget can give the user’s current location… all at the same time.
Of course, RIM isn’t giving up on icons. One of the leaked screenshot is of the app launcher, which shows that the company is working hard to make these more attractive than their current versions.
Another new feature that is supposedly going to be in BlackBerry 10 OS is a Universal inbox. This will bring together messages coming in from multiple sources, such as email and BlackBerry Messenger.
In addition, a re-designed caller display screen includes an icon for video chat. An increasing number of smartphones have front-facing cameras, as the rise of speedy 4G networks has made mobile video more practical.
Not Coming Soon
RIM is expected to starting publicly showing off the look and feel of BlackBerry 10 in the coming weeks. That doesn’t mean the launch is imminent, however. The first smartphone running this upcoming operating system — which goes by the code-name BlackBerry London — is reportedly going to be released in early fall.