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BlackBerry unveils BBX operating system

BlackBerry's next-gen OS, BBX, will be for smart phones and tablets, bringing together the best of the BlackBerry and QNX platforms.

It may still be licking its wounds after its BBM outage woes last week, but BlackBerry has just unveiled its next-gen operating system for mobiles and tablets.

Named BBX, it promises to combine the best of the BlackBerry and QNX platforms to "connect people, devices, content and services," according to RIM. An operating system that unites tablets and smart phones? Sound like Android to anyone else?

The QNX operating system launched on the Blackberry PlayBook last year, so this looks very much like BlackBerry's equivalent of Android Honeycomb -- an OS that works across tablets and smartphones with no difference. Android Ice Cream Sandwich is due to be officially unveiled in the early hours of tomorrow morning, so we'll have more details on it then. BBX will also work on embedded devices like car dashboards and smart TVs.

BBX includes BBX-OS, and will support BlackBerry cloud services, so you should be able to access your files from wherever you are. You'll also be able to develop for it using HTML5, and it'll support apps developed for the PlayBook using Native SDK, Adobe AIR/Flash and WebWorks/HTML5, along with the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps. If that sounds like a load of jargon, know this: somewhere some developers are probably squealing with excitement.

Graphics should be awesome thanks to the BlackBerry Cascades UI Framework. The operating system will also allow more advanced features, like deep integration between apps (like Twitter's integration into iOS5), always-on Push services, BBM (when it's working), and more.

RIM has also announced developer tool updates available now, so good news if you fancy developing an app for BlackBerry's range of smartphones or tablets.

The announcements were made at the BlackBerry DevCon Americas conference.

Last week BBM suffered a three-day global outage that enraged customers and dominated the headlines. It came back on, went down again, then BlackBerry held a press conference and blamed an email backlog for its infrastructure falling over.

Image credit: This Is My Next.