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RIM says that software glitches are now the norm for complex devices

The smartphone market is booming and the most popular of the smartphones is the Apple iPhone. With the sales figures the touch-enabled iPhone is racking up, it's no surprise that virtually all of the cell phone makers have rushed devices to market to compete with the iPhone.

One of the competitors that many had high hopes for was the Blackberry Storm. The Storm was the first touch screen device to come from Blackberry. Unfortunately for Blackberry, the Storm received some of the worst reviews of any Blackberry device.

The problem according to many users is that the Storm is besieged with bugs that hamper performance and results in overall sluggish performance. RIM, the maker of the Blackberry handsets, didn’t apologize for the problems with the handset. Rather RIM co-chief Jim Balsillie said that scrambles to launch products on time and software glitches are part of the "new reality" of making complex phones in large volumes.

Smartphone users are to assume, according to Balsillie, that it is normal for a device that barely functions to be rushed out simply to meet the Black Friday shopping rush. The Wall Street Journal reports that people familiar with the matter say that RIM moved 500,000 Storm's in the first 30 days after its November 21 launch.

By comparison, the Apple iPhone 3G moved 2.4 million units in its first quarter on the market. The iPhone now holds about 16.6 percent of the global smartphone market. Balsillie says that RIM considers the Storm an overwhelming success and is making 250,000 devices per week to keep up with demand.

RIM is working to fix issues with the Storm and to add features that users have asked for. One of the complaints that will be addressed in future updates is that users can’t type on a full keypad in portrait mode, which only allows a keypad with multiple letters at this time. Verizon, the exclusive carrier for the Storm, and RIM released a software update to address some of the early issues with the Storm that the companies claim fixed many of the early complaints users had.

As for returns, Verizon won’t issue a specific number. However, a Verizon spokesman said that the rate of returns for the Strom is in the single digits (percentage wise) and the spokesman says that is normal for any smartphone.

Sources close to the launch say that Verizon and RIM rushed the Storm to market before the software was fully vetted in an attempt to get the Storm into stores in time for holiday shopping, despite glitches in the software and the stability of the operating system.

The Storm's operating system was reported to have been a challenge for RIM because the OS was optimized for Blackberry devices that used keyboards, click wheels, and trackballs for navigation rather than a touch screen. Part of the OS tweaks made was to integrate compatibility for the accelerometer that changed the orientation of the screen when the phone was rotated.



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RE: Considered a success by RIM,...
By Souka on 1/26/2009 1:58:25 PM , Rating: 2
I run a two Blackberry Enterprise Servers at my company...we've had maybe 30 Storm (Thunder in EU) setups over past weeks. All but 2 have been returned by the users for a more typical Blackberry (8310,8320,8900 Curves...or 9000 Bold).

Most common comment? "Unreliable, I'll even take back my old beatup Blackberry...."

My $.02


By omnicronx on 1/26/2009 3:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think the problem lies with expectations. I think its pretty safe to say that many iPhone users were not previous RIM users. Previous RIM users have got used to being able to type very fast on their full keyboard, and the ability to quickly scroll around. Previous BB users expected a device in which you can do everything just as fast as previous BB devices. Well this just is not the case with touch functionality, not just with RIM devices, but with touch smartphones in general.

If I were to hand an iPhone to an experienced BB user, they would run into exactly the same problems. As much as everyone would like to think so, productivity on Touch only phones is not going to be the same as phones with a keyboard and a good scrolling method.

Expectations can be a bitch, and RIM should have thought about this when developing the Storm, realizing that the userbase is going to be different than that of the iPhone.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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