BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) unveiled the new BBX operating system Tuesday in hopes of grabbing some attention away from the iPhone and Android phones.
The software, called BlackBerry BBX, combines features of RIM's existing BlackBerry operating system and its newer QNX program, co-Chief Executive Officer Mike Lazaridis said today at RIM's BlackBerry developer conference in San Francisco.
RIM said BBX will incorporate the reliability and security features of QNX and will enable software developers to create more advanced, dynamic apps for the devices.
Development environments supported by the BBX platform include HTML5 with BlackBerry WebWorks, Adobe AIR, Native C/C++, and the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps. Apps built today for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will also run on BBX.
In addition, RIM announced a series of developer tool updates, including WebWorks for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, the Native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook and a developer beta of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 with support for running Android applications.
BBX will include the new BlackBerry Cascades UI Framework for advanced graphics, also demonstrated during the General Session Keynote. BBX will also extend the core BlackBerry DNA of collaboration, communication and immediacy, with familiar "Super App" capabilities such as deep integration between apps, always-on Push services, BlackBerry security and the BBM Social Platform .
RIM did not say whether the BBX software would enable the PlayBook to handle email routed through RIM's secure enterprise servers for the first time without being linked to a BlackBerry smartphone.
RIM is banking on the new software to encourage developers to build more programs for its devices as consumers increasingly use mobile devices to watch video, listen to music and browse the Web.
Compared to Google (Android OS) and Apple, RIM is lagged in the market for apps that run on smartphones and tablets. Its BlackBerry App World, which includes apps for its smartphones and its PlayBook tablet computer, includes more than 46,000 apps. That is just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of apps offered for the iPhone and Android phones.