The BlackBerry Gets a Black Eye, And Other Mobile-Phone News
Hundreds of thousands of busy "knowledge workers" had to pay attention to their dinner companions for the first time in years when Research In Motion's BlackBerry e-mail service crashed for several hours yesterday afternoon and evening.
As a longtime skeptic of the BlackBerry e-mail cult, I must admit that I reacted to the news with a bit of schadenfreude. I've never liked the centralized architecture of RIM's mail system, in which you give this company the keys to your mail account so that its servers can take over delivering mail to your phone. (It puzzles me why companies pay RIM for this service when they could have real-time mail delivery--and not just to one brand of smartphone, but to any mail program on any device--by using the right open standard.) Yesterday, that monolithic design turned into a single point of failure.
Elsewhere in the mobile-phone business, Microsoft was making its own news yesterday at a convention in Barcelona.
First, it announced that it would buy Danger, Inc., the colorfully named company behind T-Mobile's popular Sidekick smartphones. It's unclear what this means for the future of the Sidekick's hardware and software. But in the past, when Microsoft has bought companies whose products run non-Windows software--such as WebTV--it has made a point of switching these gadgets over to some version of Windows. So will we see a Sidekick running Windows Mobile? Will it be as quick and simple as today's model?
At the same convention, Microsoft and Sony Ericsson unveiled a new slide-open model called the Xperia X1 yesterday, the first from Sony and Ericsson's joint venture to run Windows Mobile. From pictures at SE's site, it looks a bit like an iPhone, but has a QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the side and is not quite as thin as Apple's device, at about .7 inches thick. This model should go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of this year, at a price to be announced.
For your comments, please pick from one or more of the following themes:
1) "I was part of yesterday's BlackBerry blackout, and boy was that terrible/not as bad as I'd thought."
2) "I'm a Sidekick user, and I'm concerned/excited about what Microsoft will do here."
3) "I've liked the Sony Ericsson phones that I've used before, and the prospect of one running Windows Mobile intrigues/discourages me."
February 12, 2008; 12:31 PM ET
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