Mobile phone bugs and glitches: the new reality?

Mobile phone users are learning that their devices aren't immune to bugs, glitches, and poor construction.

RIM's BlackBerry Storm.

RIM's BlackBerry Storm.

Cell phone users are learning that their devices aren't immune to bugs, glitches, and poor construction. The Blackberry Storm, released on November 21, 2008, has been particularly affected by these faults, as Research in Motion (RIM) rushed its device to compete with the iPhone.

Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM, told The Wall Street Journal that these bugs are becoming a part of the "new reality" for cellphone manufacturers. Sources close to the device's creation told the WSJ that the bugs were known but were overlooked for the purposes of getting the Storm out on the market.

RIM should have known better. [[artnid:268357|PC World called the device|BlackBerry Storm: awkward and disappointing ]] "underwhelming" and "awkward and disappointing." The New York Times' David Pogue called the Storm "by far the worst product Research in Motion has ever produced." And now consumers are returning the phone in droves. So what is this new reality, and can it be avoided?

As cellular phones become as complex as small computers, bugs and viruses are bound to follow. Before a software fix, the iPhone 3G suffered from a poor battery, lagging keyboard, and spotty 3G reception. Google's Android phone was plagued by glitches in the development stage. Both of these phones were rushed out to the market in order to get a heads-up on the competition, and both, in a way, suffered for the hubris.

RIM could have learned a valuable lesson from both Apple and Google: Make sure the phone is done before throwing it in the coliseum. Instead, the company appears to be twisting reality to its standards of failure by calling it a "new reality."

Perhaps companies are now turning a blind eye to quality construction and functionality in order to slash the throats of their competitors, but here's the "new new reality": the public won't buy it, and you won't get away with it. Future cellphone manufacturers take note: the Blackberry Storm's failure should be your impetus to ensure a product is the best it can possibly be before landing in the eager hands of consumers.

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Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
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