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RIM hopes to distract punters with free pretties

You don't need connectivity to play Bejeweled

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RIM is to hand out free apps to appease its beleaguered customers, along with free technical support so next time the network collapses a human being can tell you you're screwed.

The free apps include SIMS 3 and N.O.V.A as well as the aforementioned Bejeweled and a dozen other time-wasting distractions. They'll be available free from App World, for a month, starting Wednesday. The free tech support is also limited to a month, or a free month's extension to those already paying for it, and you'll have to apply to get it.

Along with the offer we also received RIM's official description of the outage that took down BlackBerry communications and web access around the world last week:

Many customers experienced service interruptions and delays over a period of approximately 3 days in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, 1.5 days in Latin America and Canada, and 1 day in the United States.

The details of what went wrong to cause such an outage aren’t yet clear. It has been suggested that the disruption was caused by an overhaul intended to prevent a repetition of last year's outage, followed by a bodged roll-back and the failure of backup systems. Whatever the cause, the outage has focused a good deal of attention on the weakness inherent in the centralised routing of data and in a reliance on cloud processing in general.

Being offered a free copy of Bubble Bash 2 might seem like a slap in the face to a city trader who spent half the week incommunicado, but RIM could never recompense all its customers for their perceived loss, so it's hard to see what else the company could have done.

But it will be expensive: free apps are always popular and RIM will still have to pay the developers (at a suitable bulk discount we assume). A month's free support will cost a bit too, money which can't be spent ensuring that such a thing never happens again, but hopefully the customers will be too busy playing Texas Hold ’em Poker 2 to notice, next time. ®

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