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Bye bye BlackBerry mail

Euro addicts get unexpected day off

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European BlackBerry users got an unexpected afternoon off today as the service stopped delivering mail from soon after lunch, forcing them to pay attention in meetings and, in some cases, speak to people.

We tried to contact RIM, but the company prefers to communicate via email, which is a shame given the circumstances. UK network operator Orange confirmed that some customers have been having problems though claimed that everything is working fine now.

BlackBerry pioneered the idea of pushed email, with an architecture based on a central server and a genuine-push mechanism based on notifications sent over the SMS channel. It was a clever idea, but is starting to look slightly dated now that most handsets are able to regularly poll for email and data tariffs are cheap enough to let them.

BlackBerrys still have some edge in corporate environments, but the functionality that made the system unique is now pretty much ubiquitous.

Having such a critical point of failure is never a good thing, and though RIM has achieved a remarkable stability, a whole region can all still fail in one go, which is all it takes to convince some customers to go elsewhere.

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