A slight clammy feeling. General anxiety. A sense that something is missing or out of place. Heightened frustration or even distress. These are the symptoms of BlackBerry withdrawal, and it’s now being experienced on a continent near you.
The contagion began in Europe on Monday, and the BlackBerry service problems have now spread to the Middle East, India and North America.
My BlackBerry is receiving no personal email, no Twitter, and work emails only in clumps and bunches every now and then. What to do?
Users I speak to report a spectrum of responses ranging from glazed eyes (no emails, no worries) to physical twitching.
Three days of intermittent or no service is a problem for the general public and a major inconvenience for business people, but it’s seen as a potentially fatal blow to the company behind the BlackBerry, Canada’s Research in Motion.
RIM was already struggling, criticized in the tech blogs and by stock analysts for the lack of great new phones and falling average sales prices. It’s being beaten by Apple and Android phones.
And RIM hasn’t done itself any favors during this latest crisis, providing explanations and communications that have failed to satisfy the general public or the market watchers we hear from on CNBC.
I would reproduce RIM’s latest statement here so you could decide for yourself, but err, it’s stuck on my BlackBerry. I think.
Frustrated users have time on their hands now, and you know what that means. Journalists and business people with itchy thumbs and high anxiety levels. Yes, conspiracy theories abound. It’s too generous perhaps to describe these as actual “theories,” but here’s some you might not have heard (or thought of) already.
But the truth as we know it from RIM is so much more prosaic. The outage has been caused by a systems failure in their office in Slough, United Kingdom. Yes, Slough. And Slough is famous for another sort of Office. The one featuring David Brent. You know, from “The Office.”
Poor Slough, butt of so many jokes and now the center of a global communications debacle and rather a lot of odd conspiracy theories.