Video Hands-On With BlackBerry 7: Universal Search, Music Store, More

Here at BlackBerry World, RIM’s high-profile press and marketing event in Orlando, the company just announced an updated version of its BlackBerry OS. Called BlackBerry 7, the new OS promises to offer plenty of advanced abilities in an effort to keep pace with competitors from Android and Apple’s iOS. But what exactly does the refreshed BlackBerry operating system have in store? Here’s a rundown of its core improvements.

Universal Search

One new neat trick is universal search which, as in Google’s Android phone operating system, will allow users to sift through their entire device or the Internet for selected terms. Apple is rumored to be working on a similar feature for the latest version of iOS (possibly iOS 5). Another new BlackBerry 7 feature is voice search with queries activated by spoken commands. Android has had this ability for some time now, called Google Voice Actions.

Liquid Graphics

Most notable, however, is an attribute of BlackBerry 7 which RIM refers to as Liquid Graphics. More of a marketing term than an additional capability, the term highlights the improved processing power in RIM’s latest BlackBerry 9900 and 9930 handsets. Running 1.20GHz CPUs and an undisclosed video processor, the phones have the computing muscle to load Web pages, launch apps, and perform multitouch gestures with greater speed than previous RIM devices.

BlackBerry Balance

BlackBerry 7 devices will also be able to keep corporate data separate from personal information to preserve security. Named BlackBerry Balance, the feature will give IT managers the tools to make sure BlackBerry users can’t share sensitive knowledge via Facebook or Twitter updates or even through plain e-mail. BlackBerry Balance isn’t limited to BB 7 though and will support older handsets through BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.3.

Documents To Go

BlackBerry 7 will ship with the full version of the Documents To Go mobile productivity suite from DataViz. It will enable viewing and editing of common office files such as Excel, Word, and PDF documents. This kind of capability usually isn’t included by default and typically must be purchased.

Music Store

In an effort to beef up the BlackBerry’s music capabilities, BlackBerry 7 will feature strong ties to the BlackBerry Music Store. Using Amazon’s engine, users will be able to purchase and download songs directly to the device.

Take a look at this video to get a feel of how BlackBerry 7 handles and see the new features in action.

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