*UPDATE* We’ve received more confirmation on this. At the current moment, Vendor ID 501 is BES focused. However, RIM is looking to offer it to end users (consumers). The OS versions will not be OTA, as previously stated. Basically, RIM will be issuing “universal” OS versions that you can install normally via Desktop Manager. This should help speed up the process in getting the latest OS available, instead of waiting on your phone carrier to approve it.

Everyone should be familiar with the BlackBerry option to do a wireless update. As shown by the image above, if you go to options > advanced options > scroll to the very bottom and select wireless update you have (at times) been able to update your operating system (OS) over the air (OTA). Usually, these updates were not full OS versions, but merely a “patch” to the current OS build your device was running.

The only OS versions that would be available through this process are OS versions that have been evaluated and approved by the carrier your mobile plan is with (i.e. Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, etc.). This has caused an enormous delay in the timeliness that new OS versions release to the public. Many times the carriers do a full overhaul in testing the OS (which may take months) before they’ll allow it to be released to their customers. Needless to say, this is rumored to have RIM getting pretty upset with the release lateness of their OS versions to customers.

What’s the solution? Introducing ‘Vendor ID 501’, RIM’s rumored solution to get their new OS versions out faster. From the rumor we’ve heard, RIM is planning on offering the end user (you!) the ability to switch your ‘vendor ID’ to ‘501’. By doing so, and utilizing the wireless update as described above, you will supposedly be able to download full OS’ as soon as RIM releases them. This should cut out the middle-man (your phone carrier) and allow you the ability to get access to the latest and greatest immediately.

The only downside we’ve heard to this rumored feature is it will most likely make your warranty and/or insurance with your carrier null. However, we’ve heard RIM will allow you to switch back to your original carrier’s vendor ID so as to thwart any possible problems your carrier may have. We may no longer have to use Desktop Manager to install official OS’. This could dramatically simplify and improve the availability of new OS versions to keep your BlackBerry running smooth. We’re very excited about this rumored feature!