We've got the goods on BlackBerry OS 5.0

With WES 2009 set to kick off two weeks from today, we thought now would be the perfect time to dish out some goods on OS 5.0 that we’ve been sitting on for a while. In short, this post covers a lot of the stuff that will be found in OS 5.0 that was not already covered in either of our our hands-on reviews. So without further adieu, hit the jump for our latest OS 5.0 scoop.

Messages

Starting off with the heart and soul of the BlackBerry, the Messages app, we’ve been told quite a few things. When scrolling through a long list of emails, the date header will remain stationary thus making it impossible to lose track of which days emails your looking at — something which is a huge plus to those who have a tendency to keep several weeks or months worth of emails on their device at any given time. Also when sending photos, an option to resize individual photos to 1024×768, 800×600 or 640×480 is given.

The following options will be available to users on BES 5.0: flag emails and define them by request, color, status and due date as well as create, edit and delete folders from the device itself; something that should have been implemented a long time ago. It is worth noting that these features requires BES 5.0.

Calendar

Users will be able to forward calendar entries (woo hoo!) and will also finally be able to view attachments that are attached to calendar invites. Conference call information can also be plugged into Calendar, something which is totally awesome as a reminder will pop up and give you the option to instantly connect to the call. Again, BES 5.0 is needed for these actions.

Browser

We already mentioned that Google Gears will be supported in OS 5.0, but now we’re told that videos will be able to be streamed inline within the browser itself. A bunch of new AJAX formats are also supported.

Maps

Maps has gotten something of an overhaul, but it’s probably not the type of overhaul that you’ve got in mind. Rather than bringing the visuals of Maps into the modern era, RIM has decided to bring in a bunch of new features to it that almost make up for the maps that scream circa 1997. So what exactly is new? Plenty…

First and foremost, RIM has seriously upped the ante with Maps and all maps should render around two times as fast as they did in the past. In addition to this, we’ve been told that scrolling around and zooming in should no longer result in lagging.

Another cool feature added to Maps occurs when you receive a message, be it in the form of email, text, PIN, etc. Any addresses are automatically sniffed out by the OS and a simple click will bring up the location in Maps. It’s a neat feature, but unfortunately we are hearing that it won’t work in all countries right off the bat.

Speaking of countries, a bunch of new towns, cities, counties and countries have been added to Maps so you should pretty much be good to go no matter where you are in the World. And if you are in a place that you’re not familiar with and want to use Maps to get you to where you’re going, it will be a much nicer experience as Maps now pre-loads a good chunk of the route that you’re taking so you don’t have to freak out when your screen draws a blank while you’re flying down the highway at 75 MPH.

When you get to your destination, you might be inclined to take a few pictures. Maps will now take advantage of the geotagging capabilities of devices that have GPS and will display all of your geotagged images on Maps if you so choose (via the Layers interface). Pretty neat-o considering it’s currently only possible to view one geotagged image at a time in Maps.

General Stuff

There is no easy way to categorize this stuff, so we’ll just shoot it out in point form like we did in grade school:

  • Users will be able to set their default download folder, wallpaper, theme and reset the icon layout of a theme to its default layout from “Homescreen Preferences”
  • Holding the Menu key will bring up Application Switcher as it currently does on the Storm/newer Bold OS builds/etc
  • When an item is highlighted in a menu setting, hitting the Menu key will select it as it currently does on the Storm
  • If the device is running low on memory, a message will pop up that not only informs the user of the low memory buy also recommends rarely used apps for deletion
  • Users can decide if they want to have sounds when the device is booting up, shutting off, plugged in to charge, unplugged from charging, when the battery is full and when the battery is kaput
  • Users can now individually encrypt email PIN messages. All that is needed is for the sender and receiver to know the encryption password which is done via S/MIME
  • Yes, Storm users, you will get your full-QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode so please stop asking

And there we have it. There’s sure to be some more goodness crammed into OS 5.0, but we can only report on what we’ve been told by our eyes and ears in the field. As we mentioned before, we’re looking for OS 5.0 to get an official mention at WES 2009 which kicks off on May 5th — and we’ll be there of course — so get ready for a lot of BlackBerry news coming your way.

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