E-mail service for many of RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones went out two times in a week, giving this company a serious black eye.
The most recent of these outages — which lasted from Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning — has been blamed on flawed instant messaging software.
RIM released the following statement:
“A service interruption occurred Tuesday that affected BlackBerry customers in the Americas. Message delivery was delayed or intermittent during the service interruption. Phone service and SMS services on BlackBerry smartphones were unaffected. Root cause is currently under review, but based on preliminary analysis, it currently appears that the issue stemmed from a flaw in two recently released versions of BlackBerry Messenger (versions 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11) that caused an unanticipated database issue within the BlackBerry infrastructure. RIM has taken corrective action to restore service.
“RIM has also provided a new version of BlackBerry Messenger (version 18.104.22.168) and is encouraging anyone who downloaded or upgraded BlackBerry Messenger since December 14th to upgrade to this latest version which resolves the issue. RIM continues to monitor its systems to maintain normal service levels and apologizes for any inconvenience to customers.”
The new version of BlackBerry Messenger is available on RIM’s website or in the on-device BlackBerry App World.
A Black Eye
One of the best selling points for BlackBerrys is that they “just work”. Two outages in a week — the previous one was last Thursday — are not good for its reputation.
RIM’s devices are sometimes called “CrackBerries” because people get addicted to having constant access to their e-mail. However, a new nickname is starting to be bandied about: CrashBerries.
A unique feature of this platform can cause service interruptions in huge areas. All mail and messages sent to or from one of these devices go through a Network Operations Center (NOC), and if there’s a problem with one or more of these, then service stops.