Even though Windows Phone 7 is heavily anticipated this fall, mainly as Microsoft's last chance to turn its mobile device effort around, it isn't the only major release in the pipeline. Research in Motion's Blackberry platform is getting a pretty big update with version 6 and now there are a number of screenshots available as well as information about the Blackberry 6 Desktop software.The Inside Blackberry Blog
has released several screenshots of the desktop software, including where you can go to sign up for the limited beta. The software looks very modern and has a lot of nice features, but it strikes me as a bit anachronistic. The big players in smartphones are relying on the cloud for everything. Microsoft is the last real holdout with Windows Mobile Device Center to sync with Windows Mobile, but that software has one foot in the grave as Windows Phone 7 will not use it. That will leave RIM as one of the few that continue to sync with your PC.
With so many services like Google Gmail and Microsoft Hotmail storing important data in the cloud, it would make more sense for RIM to leverage that and bypass desktop software altogether. Of course, those services rely on Exchange ActiveSync, which RIM doesn't support.
The blog also posted screenshots of various features of the mobile device's screens. RIM has clearly put a lot of effort into multimedia, supporting music, video, YouTube, picture libraries, podcasting, advanced camera features and more.
As I said a few days ago, I am not sure this is enough to win customers over that are looking at giants like the iPhone or Android, but it is surely enough for existing RIM customers to be able to hold their heads high in relation to the competition.