Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another Service Interruption for BlackBerrys

A month after BlackBerry service crashed worldwide, stranding some customers for up to three days, the company said on Wednesday that some users were again experiencing service delays.

And earlier in the day, Google said it would stop offering a Gmail application for BlackBerrys on Nov. 22. While the app will continue to function after that date, Google also plans to abandon support for it.

Tenille Kennedy, a spokeswoman for RIM, said the users whose service was affected on Wednesday were in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. Thats the same part of the world where the failure of a major networking component led to last months shutdown. The problem that time became worldwide as the buildup of undelivered data it created eventually overwhelmed all of RIMs network.

Speaking late on Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Kennedy said it was unclear how many users were affected or exactly what sort of delays they were encountering.

She emphasized that the trouble appeared to be isolated to that part of the world.

“Theres no systemwide outage, she said.

RIM operates a proprietary, worldwide network to handle data traveling to and from BlackBerrys. For corporate users, the network creates a high degree of security. For all users, including consumers, the network has technologies that speed up Web browsing, lower wireless data bills and enable the companys BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging system. When, of course, everything functions properly.

The announcement about the Gmail apps on BlackBerrys was less significant than perhaps symbolic of growing competition between Google, which makes the Android smartphone operating system and which is acquiring Motorola Mobile, and other smartphone companies — even though BlackBerrys have suffered in some markets like North America because of a comparative lack of apps,

Since 2009, all BlackBerrys have shipped with software in their operating systems that supports a variety of Google services, including Gmail, Google calendar and contact syncing.

In a statement, RIM said, “The large majority of users who access Gmail on their BlackBerry smartphones do so through RIMs software rather than Googles Gmail app. As well, BlackBerry users can also use Gmail through the browser on their phones although that can be a less than optimal experience on some models with small displays.

RIM said it would continue to expand and improve its operating support for Google products.

Earlier this month, Google introduced a Gmail app for Apples iPhone and then withdrew it for repairs after the software proved flawed. As is the case with BlackBerrys, the the iPhone’s iOS operating system allows users to use Gmail without downloading any additional apps from Google.

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