The BlackBerry Torch 9800 was a disappointment for me because I felt it didn't live up to the launch hype. Besides, I'm not a touchscreen devotee. The BlackBerry device I've been desperately waiting for has been the BlackBerry Bold 9780. This smartphone aka Bold 3 is just out in North America and has just made its India debut.

The biggest reason behind my anticipation was BlackBerry OS 6, which the Bold 9780 would feature, besides double the RAM (512 MB as opposed to the 256 MB on the Bold 9700) and a camera with a 5 megapixel resolution, again a boost from it’s predecessor. I did get to play around with OS 6 on the Torch 9800 and while the experience didn't leave me awed, I was quite eager to check out how the new Os 6 would fare on the Bold 9780, a non touchscreen device. But the wait was making me impatient and I wasn’t quite ready to switch handset so soon, so naturally when announced that they had a leaked OS 6 release for the 9700, all hell broke loose.

Funky new look

I've been using the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and while I usually don't try out a leaked OS release, this one was too good to resist. Here's a little bit of information on my experience with OS 6 on the 9700.

Getting some basics out of the way, my Bold 9700 has performed like a dream. The smartphone is built tough and has the best QWERTY BlackBerry keyboard ever (in my opinion, even better than the one on the Bold 9000). Battery life is great and usually gave me between one-and-a-half to two days on heavy BES usage, accompanied by social apps like SocialScope Lite, lots of RSS feeds on Viigo, BBM and media usage, besides a range of other apps running on the 9700. I've found the 9700 so good that after reviewing the Torch 9800, I still felt the 9700 was the better choice and hence, when OS 6 leaked for the 9700, it made my day.

Before getting into specifics of OS 6 for the 9700, let me clearly state to those readers who may not know this that a leaked OS is not an official BlackBerry OS and installing one definitely voids your warranty if you have one. Plus, leaked OS’s are buggy because some features may be turned off or missing to facilitate testing. Of course, you can roll back to your previous official OS, but the fact is- this is not for the risk-averse.

Having got that out of the way, here's the link to the original forum post about the leak. Download links are also provided though you must know that thanks to copyright issues, the original ones won't work and you'll find working links in the latter posts on the same thread. Well, don't complain- you have to work a bit to get something so keenly anticipated!

OS 6 on the 9700 is buggy but a bliss

Also, before you install the leaked OS, read this link, which explains the dos and don'ts that you should follow.

Battery life is just as good and perhaps even better. OS 6 works amazingly well- it's so good that I'm rarely seeing the irritating BlackBerry hourglass/clock that I found so often even on the Torch 9800! And a full reboot is much faster than on OS 5 or OS 6 on the 9800. Frankly, despite the far lower RAM, I think the leaked OS 6 works better on the 9700 than the official release works on the 9800.

While OS 6 is not revolutionary, it is a welcome upgrade and provides a much needed more in-tune-with-the-times user experience. You can scroll horizontally now and rather than folders, with screens for Media, Downloads, Frequently used apps et al. There's also a drop down notification view and of course, the much talked about Universal Search. From the home screen Universal Search enables the 9700 to throw up answers to your query (say, a contact or a song) across apps, folders, the Web, e-mail, Facebook, and much more. You also have new ringtones (there are ways you can get your old ringtones back if you don't like the new ones). The new Webkit browser is great too, with tabbed browsing finally available. To know more about all the goodies in OS 6, click here.

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