Research in Motion launched their newest BlackBerry operating system (version 6.0) with the release of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 on August 12th. At the time they promised that the OS update was coming soon to some other devices such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and 9650. However, now well over a full month past the release of the Torch there has still been no release of OS6 for any other devices. The new webkit browser was showed off on the 9700 over 7 months ago, there is really no reason not to have these releases ready to go.
Instead we have plenty of BlackBerrys that are “OS6 ready”, but only actually have OS6 on a single device, that is currently only available in a single country, from a single carrier. The Torch is selling well enough, but is still a small segment of the market for the reason mentioned above. As a result there are very few devices that currently support OS6.
The end result is that as a developer all of the new features and APIs that OS6 offers will go unused. There are alot of cool options in the new operating system, but if the vast majority of users are unable to use them, then it is impossible to justify spending time learning and developing for OS6. Features that a super majority of users can not use is not a good reason to delay the launch of an new release.
It is not that I don’t want to offer these new options, it is that I need the market share in order to do so. All RIM needs to push out an update to the 9700, 9650, and 93xx devices and that would be a significant amount of users. Until then the advantages of OS6 will not be seen, even by those that already have the Torch.