What To Expect from BlackBerry OS 6 - WebOS and Java Hybrid?

View Comments

When I was in Scandinavia meeting with Opera, along with the lucky BBCool reader who won the trip, I got to talking with them about RIM’s acquisition of Torch Mobile. The guys at Opera are really smart and gave me some insight into what a browser really is. A browser is really a combination of 50-80 mini apps, that all serve various functions such as understanding the HTML/CSS. WebKit is a core technology within the browser. There are other core technologies that can be used to build a Browser: Presto, Gecko, Trident etc.

The acquisition of Torch Mobile meant that RIM now controls a few of the developers who are contributors to WebKit’s source code. The Webkit platform, while Open Source, doesn’t allow just anyone to manipulate the base code. There is a relatively small group of contributors from Apple, Nokia, Google, various Universities, and now RIM.

With WebKit, RIM can and will build a better browser, but that’s just the beginning of what you can do with WebKit. Again, WebKit is just the engine, what you power is entirely up to you. It was around this time that I had to goad the Opera team into what else was possible with WebKit, and what RIM might do with the core technology pertaining to BlackBerry OS 6. While they wouldn’t confirm or deny anything, the most likely possibility, I believe, is a Java-WebOS hybrid platform.

In recent years, RIM have been getting flak from developers about their platform being a pain to code for, and consumers saying it’s not user friendly. In response to this, RIM have been touting Widgets. Coding in HTML is easier, and as Palm have proved, an HTML based OS goes a long way to addressing both user and developer concerns. I doubt RIM would ever go with a full WebOS, because Java provides them with a lot of the security and functionality a good smartphone needs, as well as they have a lot of vested interest in Legacy systems. That being said, the compromise may come true: a hybrid Java and WebOS. This already happens on the desktop where you have apps running on the traditional OS, but web apps running on top.

As smartphones move closer to a desktop experience, I’m going to give it 10 years (at the most) until your mobile OS will be virtually the same as your desktop OS. As for BlackBerry OS 6, RIM are only working on releasing 5.2 this year, so it will be a couple of years until we see OS 6. A lot can happen between now and then, so take the above with a grain of salt. Personally, I would welcome a WebOS hybrid, if it means apps are cheaper, more abundant and better integrated. Also, I tend to get technical terms confused so if any of the above is technically incorrect, it wasn’t Opera giving me the wrong info, it was definitely my illegible notes.

  • Andres
    Somebody how if it will be avalible for 8520?
  • Ireel
    Uhm did this article say a few years for OS 6?
  • Loony2nz
    Seriously...if 6.0 or even 5.2 isn't up to snuff with the competition, I'm going to think hard about abandoning ship until RIM gets their act together. I don't see why RIM can't do both...a consumer oriented phone AND an enterprise oriented phone. Wait..all their phones are pretty much enterprise (is the pearl?), so that just leaves them to R&D a killer consumer phone. They've got scads of dough to throw at the R&D dept...so why not come up with something that's truly a jesus phone killer or a damn near close one?
  • AntiEbscer
    In a few months, there will be more apps in the webOS catalog than all BlackBerry apps available...

    And about security, webOS is more secure with stuff like Exchange and a very safe platform. Just because it's called webOS, it doesn't mean it's all HTML. It's all Linux underneath
  • Ebscer
    Nobody wants to develop for webOS
blog comments powered by Disqus

Bad Behavior has blocked 35045 access attempts in the last 7 days.