This past Thursday, Sirius|XM released its Premium Online streaming application for the BlackBerry Curve (8500 & 8900), Bold (9000 & 9700), Storm, Storm2 and Tour. As a longtime subscriber to Sirius (and, in the interest of full disclosure, a shareholder), I must admit I got overly excited about the announcement. My excitement waned, however, when I realized that a separate subscription is needed after the seven-day free trial.
Last Thursday, the company that makes BlackBerry smartphones had a problem with its equipment that prevented some users from receiving email on their devices.
Tonight, Research in Motion (RIM) is experiencing a total service outage effecting North and South America. For at least an hour, I’ve been unable to access any data services from my device, including internet service and email.
In the case of BlackBerry, all emails routed to the device travel first through its data center, a setup intended to reduce the load on individual corporate email servers. As the recent problems highlight, however, such a design can have devastating consequences if RIM’s data center goes offline or experiences some other downtime.
One very minor lesson learned: BlackBerry users now know what it’s like to be an iPhone user on AT&WeSuck.
Update: It appears that the problem was resolved around 3:05 EST on December 23 as I received a number of previously-undelivered emails at that early hour.
My biggest complaint about the BlackBerry device software is that application memory is limited to whatever space is left after the operating system is installed. This means that, while my first-generation Storm has a MicroSD memory card, I cannot run applications from the card. As a result, I am somewhat limited in how many applications I can add to my device. To address this problem, newer BlackBerry models include significantly more Flash RAM than does my Storm or did previous BlackBerries.
Ironically enough, while OS 5 takes up more space than its predecessor, my Storm is more responsive with the new software. I regularly run low on memory, but even when the device prompts me to delete unused applications, its performance isn’t impacted. This revelation came as quite a surprise, considering the improvements to the interface’s appearance that OS 5 brought.
Perhaps the minor changes, such as reducing the 3D effect on buttons, reduced the processing power needed to render the Storm’s user interface just enough to improve the device’s overall response. Whatever the reason, I certainly don’t mind that my device rarely displays its clock-face-like “please wait” icon.
I woke up yesterday morning to a pleasant surprise from Verizon Wireless: a software update for my first-generation BlackBerry Storm. As has been widely reported, Research In Motion’s (RIM) first attempt at a touchscreen device has not been without its share of problems, so every software update is met with excitement from Storm users. This latest update, which moves the OS from version 4.7 to 5.0 and greatly improves the device’s performance, is no exception.