RIM announces its next OS: BBX

"This is strictly a developer release, it is not indicative at all of what the final PlayBook 2.0 release will be," Saunders said.

RIM is also launching a new version of the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK 2.2 for building HTML5 apps, as well as the WebKit-based Ripple emulator for testing WebWorks and HTML5 apps either on a desktop PC or in a viewer directly on a PlayBook.

RIM is porting key open source framework and libraries like SQLite, Box2D and CouchDB to BBX.

BBX-OS also includes a new user interface framework called Cascades for native hardware accelerated animations and graphical effects in applications. It's built on top of QtCore but aimed at both developers and designers, in much the same way as Microsoft's Expression Blend tools for building Metro apps.

"This is the future of mobile computing," said RIM VP Chris Smith; "the user interfaces are going to change, with 3D being used not just frivolously but for something useful in the app. Nobody else has this level of capability baked into a framework for developers to access."

Mary Branscombe

Mary is a freelance business technology journalist who has written for the likes of ITPro, CIO, ZDNet, TechRepublic, The New Stack, The Register, and many other online titles, as well as national publications like the Guardian and Financial Times. She has also held editor positions at AOL’s online technology channel, PC Plus, IT Expert, and Program Now. In her career spanning more than three decades, the Oxford University-educated journalist has seen and covered the development of the technology industry through many of its most significant stages.

Mary has experience in almost all areas of technology but specialises in all things Microsoft and has written two books on Windows 8. She also has extensive expertise in consumer hardware and cloud services - mobile phones to mainframes. Aside from reporting on the latest technology news and trends, and developing whitepapers for a range of industry clients, Mary also writes short technology mysteries and publishes them through Amazon.