Rumor Mill: RIM working on new touch-based OS

Research In Motion is said to be hard at work developing a refreshed touch-based OS update for its popular BlackBerry smartphones, and a touch-based Qwerty BlackBerry device has been spotted on the Web, according to multiple reports.

According to a report on TheStreet.com, RIM has been developing a reworked, Web-friendly BlackBerry operating system, though details remain unclear. Additionally, a post on ZDNet identified a new BlackBerry, code-named Magnum, that sports a touchscreen user interface alongside a full, physical Qwerty keyboard.

RIM is still the most dominant smartphone vendor in the U.S. market--October figures from comScore show the company with a U.S. user base of fully 15 million, far outstripping its nearest competitor--but critics argue the firm's offerings have fallen behind the curve set by touch innovators including Apple, Google and Palm. Though BlackBerry has dabbled in touch with its Storm and Storm 2, the devices essentially rely on a touch-based version of RIM's existing OS platform.

The news builds on recent indications that RIM is working to update its platform. The company filed patents aiming to accelerate network browsing speeds on BlackBerry devices, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. And last year RIM acquired WebKit solutions developer Torch Mobile (WebKit powers mobile browsers on numerous mobile platforms, including the iPhone and Android). Thus, it appears RIM may be gearing for an overhaul of its operating system.

A RIM spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports.

For more:
- see this The Street.com article
- see this ZDNet post

Related Articles:
BlackBerry revenues, profits swell in Q3
RIM files patent to boost web browsing on BlackBerry
RIM acquires browser development firm Torch Mobile
RIM seeking WebKit developer--better browser to follow?

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