Recently we heard that RIM is gearing up for a release of BlackBerry 7 as opposed to the previously announced 6.1. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie confirmed that the number change is in fact true.
According to Balsillie the change in number comes because of how much is included in the update. It seems that there was so much being updated in the OS that RIM felt the need to add the extra 0.9 to make it a full version number increase. Rumors of the update have more multitouch in the OS, as well as hardware acceleration with OpenGL. The hardware acceleration would be both on the OS and in 3D games, so both should run smoother and faster (as far as graphics go, at least). There’s also mention of voice controls, and more homescreen customization.
If those rumors prove true, the version number increase does make sense. It will also make it easier for users to understand what version their phones can and can’t run. Explaining that an older phone can’t use 6.1 would seem arbitrary, while explaining why they’re still on 6 instead of 7 should be a bit easier. It’ll also make it easier to advertise the phones that run the new OS, especially considering BlackBerry OS version numbers can be quite long.
We should hear more about BlackBerry 7 and the rumored BlackBerry Bold Touch (said to be the first phone to run the new OS) next week at BlackBerry World in Orlando.