Three Days Without Service? There’s an App for That.

The good news for BlackBerry owners is that they’ll be getting more than $100 of compensation for the recent outages.

The bad news is that it isn’t in the form of cash or credit, but rather a selection of apps. And customers don’t even get a choice of apps. Instead they’ll be able to download any or all of the following for a month starting this Wednesday:

  • Bejeweled (game)
  • Bubble Bash 2 (game)
  • Pro (reads texts and e-mails out loud while you drive)
  • Drive Enterprise (same as Pro but with encryption, compatible with BlackBerry enterprise servers)
  • iSpeech Translator Pro (translator with voice recognition)
  • N.O.V.A. (game)
  • Nobex Radio™ Premium (internet radio – Premium version includes international stations and no ads from the app)
  • Photo Editor Ultimate (additional filters and effects)
  • SIMS 3 (game)
  • Texas Hold’em Poker 2 (game)
  • Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant (voice recognition system)

Further apps will be added later.

Enterprise customers will also get one month’s trial technical support; those who already have support contracts will get a one month extension. This won’t be automatic and customers will need to register at

The announcement of the new deal from Research In Motion came with a formal acknowledgement of what customers already knew: that service was somewhere between patchy and dead in the US for a day, in the rest of the Americas for a day and a half, and in the rest of the world for three days.

Officially RIM has only said a “core switch failure” was the problem, though reports suggest a faulty router in a UK facility was to blame. (The operator is presumably very very tired of “have you tried turning it off and turning it on again” gags right now.) That’s one of only four mail routing facilities, which is why the blip was so dramatic.

It’s also said work was still underway on a back-up centre, meaning automated failsafe systems didn’t work as a designed. That led to a lengthy process of trying to fix the problems without the backed-up data becoming so overwhelming that data was lost rather than delayed.

Whether the apps offer will satisfy customers remains to be seen. The tactic seems to be to highlight the $100 figure, which far exceeds the actual financial losses of most users, and hope most people don’t bother to download the apps.

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