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BlackBerry contingencies

Given the SCOTUS decision yesterday to not hear the BlackBerry patent case, I'm curious if agencies are making contingency plans. The Justice Department previously said that BlackBerries were mission critical, a point the WSJ -- and many of you -- discounted, to say the least.

But it seems like something could happen sometime soon.

We did this story in the current issue... and in the first issue of the year, we highlighted some of the alternatives.

Palm has long made highly capable, if somewhat pricey, personal digital assistants, culminating in the Tungsten T5 and Treo 650. Both products, compared with BlackBerry, provided capabilities the BlackBerry couldn't. The downside was that the Treo 650 works with only one major wireless provider, while the Tungsten series couldn't work as a wireless device without expensive add-ons. Now Palm has released the TX handheld device, which resolves that problem and costs less.

Having wireless access is not mission critical for me, personally, and I would rather go without then use a Palm again.

As I mentioned earlier, I had two Palm 650s, both of which were beyond horrible and my carrier, Cingular, seemed unable to fix the problem. Both had phone problems -- people couldn't hear me -- and one crashed all the time... I mean all the time!

[The WP.com posts a story where, apparently, I'm not alone.

The Bad:I've read complaints that the Treo 650 is prone to crashing. Also, the Treo 650 offers only a meager amount of memory (32MB of RAM, of which only 23MB is usable), and it's chunky and awkward to use as a phone.

Not alone, indeed!]

By contrast, I have loved my BlackBerry -- both the 7290 and the 8700c.

So I hope they work it all out... somehow.

UPDATE on 1.25.2006 at 8:39a ET: The WSJ has a story along these lines this morning. [The WSJ has provided a 'free' link so even non-subscribers can get to this story.]

The BlackBerry started out seven years ago as a device for high-ranking corporate types, but it has quickly become a verb, a source of marital discord, a safety hazard for those who cross busy streets while responding to email, a status symbol (Will your company give you one?) and even a pick-up tool. (Michael L. Romero, a 27-year-old systems administrator in Phoenix, says his friends email him on his BlackBerry to point out "cute girls" at nightclubs.) The BlackBerry has been responsible for many an interrupted vacation and dinner hour, but it's also integral for keeping the wheels of commerce, government and even law enforcement moving. So even the inkling of a possibility that it could shut down has sent people scrambling to arrange backups.

The LAT also has a story this morning:

BlackBerry Outage? Oh, the Horror [LAT, 1.25.2006]
While BlackBerry aficionados shudder at the thought of a system disruption, foes celebrate. There's a cultural tug of war as Research in Motion, which makes the devices, faces an injunction.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jan 24, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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