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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: I don't get it.
By Motoman on 1/26/2009 3:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
...I have a BB 8330 from work, which is OK. Keyboard is smaller than my LG, but it works.

Clearly, people buy things with touchscreen keyboards - they work. My point is that there is nothing "better" about them. They have no inherent advantage over a regular button keyboard. It is my assertion that they do, however, have many disadvantages...such as accuracy and speed. Not to mention fragility...

It has been my observation that what people buy, and what is a better product, are not as correlated as one might think. Especially where style and perception is involved. Is it "cool" that you can type on the touchscreen? Sure. But it's not as good for typing as a regular button keyboard.


RE: I don't get it.
By othercents on 1/26/2009 6:53:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My point is that there is nothing "better" about them.

The keyboard isn't the only feature of a phone. While you give up accuracy and tactile feel, you gain a larger screen which allows you to do more. If there was another iPhone available with a slide out keyboard I believe that that phone would sell just as many as the standard phone they currently sell. However people choose the iPhone over other phones because of the iTunes integration, applications, photos, and web browsing. Those were the exact reasons why I gave up my other phone that had a keyboard and moved over the the iPhone.

There are other phones available now with keyboards, but none of them are as good as the iPhone in all other areas especially applications. G1 is good with the web and on par with the iPhone, but their music and video service isn't as good and their apps are still behind. This is probably the closest phone I could think of using to replace everything I have in the iPhone.

Other


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