UPDATE: This post has been modified to reflect a new rumor that RIM will announce the BlackBerry Bold Touch 99xx smartphone at BlackBerry World next week, and not the Curve Touch device, as was initially reported.
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) is holding its largest event of the year next week in Orlando, Fla., and the company is expected to unveil at the conference the latest version of its BlackBerry smartphone OS, "BlackBerry 7,"along with at least one as-of-yet unannounced BlackBerry smartphone that will run the new OS.
Thanks to what is thought to be leaked internal RIM information, details on the next version of the BlackBerry smartphone OS, formerly referred to only as "BlackBerry 6.1," have been available since January. And another leaked internal RIM document that hit the Web around the same time offered details on RIM's 2011 handheld lineup. (Read more on BlackBerry 6.1/BlackBerry 7.)
But RIM has not yet released any official details on the next BlackBerry OS or the smartphones that new software will power.
The mobile OS that runs on RIM's most recently-released handhelds is called "BlackBerry 6." And RIM's brand new PlayBook tablet PC runs the "BlackBerry Tablet OS." But a new rumor posted on CrackBerry.com suggests RIM will skip over the BlackBerry 6.1 name for its next smartphone OS update and go with "BlackBerry 7." And BlackBerry 7 is expected to be officially announced at the BlackBerry World conference next week. ("BlackBerry World" is the new name for RIM's annual Wireless Enterprise Symposium [WES].)
The new BlackBerry Tablet OS is built on a completely different foundation than the BlackBerry handheld OS. The Tablet OS is built on code from QNX Software Systems, which RIM acquired in the spring of 2010. Rumors have suggested for months that RIM will likely move away from its aging handheld OS and release a new smartphone OS similarly built on a foundation from QNX.
BlackBerry 7 was initially predicted to be the first BlackBerry smartphone OS that would use QNX code, while BlackBerry 6.1 would be a somewhat minor "evolutionary" update based on the same mobile OS that has powered RIM's handhelds for years. But now it looks as though BlackBerry 7 will be the minor update. And the rumored QNX-based BlackBerry smartphone OS will probably be released as BlackBerry 8 or something along those lines.
In addition to the BlackBerry 7 announcement, RIM is also expected to take the wraps off of the brand new BlackBerry "Bold Touch" smartphone at BlackBerry World next week, according to gadget blog BGR.com.
The BlackBerry Bold Touch is a successor to RIM's popular Bold 9000 handheld, and it is expected to become available in both GSM and CDMA flavors some time this summer. It's also possible that RIM could announced more new handhelds on top of the Bold Touch, such as the Curve Touch or Torch2. (Read more details on the hottest upcoming BlackBerry smartphones.)
I'll be on the scene in Orlando for BlackBerry World next week, and I'll be sure to report any and all details on BlackBerry 7 and/or the Curve that come from the show. So stay tuned to the Mobile WorkHorse blog.