BlackBerry – Architecture to be loved

By Ranjith Murali

IMS CORE, PurpleLeap

I have been a proud owner of a RIM Blackberry (BB) device since its launch in India. Learning and updating myself on the BB operating system and its features has become a pet project for me. My BB is a one stop device for all communication and helps me keep in touch with all my friends anytime, anywhere. I remember, after a rather tiring day at office, I got back home eager to catch up on my personal emails and messages on networking sites. I wanted to send birthday wishes to my friend Karan through the Facebook application on my Blackberry smartphone. After a few failed attempts, I found out about the global melt down of Blackberry services. It was a real let-down and I decided to make use of my time by studying about the BB operating system and architecture. Here, I plan to share some of my thoughts and knowledge about the OS.

The operating system platform used in the Research In Motion (RIM) BB mobiles is the BlackBerry OS. The operating system is developed using C++ programming language.

BlackBerry OS is compiled in such a way that it can meet the requirements of a user who needs to multi-task. The special input devices like the scroll wheel, the trackball and the track-pad available with the device enable the user to navigate effectively and efficiently through the applications.

The operating system supports the Java mobile information device profile (MIDP) 1.0 and the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) 1.2. Java has MIDP as a specification which is used for mobile devices. WAP is an etiquette that supports the WAP browser. The WAP browser is comparatively identical to the web browsers used on an operating system of your choice. The WAP technology is used to access internet from the mobile phones. A comprehensive wireless synchronization is allowed by the BlackBerry OS with the calendar, tasks, contacts, e-mail and notes.

These tasks are achieved by software named, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) that is an integrated part of blackberry OS. An alternative to the BES and is the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) which allows internet access to the operators. The user can make use of POP3, IMAP and Outlook web access e-mail accounts without logging in through a BES. This is possible through the push technology of RIM. BIS is the service that is actually run by RIM, but then again it is provided by your mobile network service provider (such as Airtel, Vodafone, Docomo etc.). BlackBerry releases upgrades to the OS like we have with all versions of operating system and this is available through your service provider that support the over the air software loading (OTASL) a special service provided by BlackBerry OS.

However my favourite part of a BlackBerry OS has to be the Application Programming Interface (API). Using API third-party I can write source code for my very own application programs. It sounds interesting doesn’t it? It is exciting when you can integrate your own application to a blackberry operating system.

Just like the operating systems designed for computers and notebooks, BlackBerry OS also uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI). The GUI enables the users to interact in multiple ways with the various applications and software on their mobile phone.

Before I conclude, I would like to say that it’s not the looks or the design which makes Blackberry the King of smartphones but rather it’s the operating system which gives it the edge. With social media sites and BB messenger integrated into the device, it has become the go to smartphone for both business users as well as the youth, helping everyone stay connected.

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