Are "Push" Services RIMs Strength And Weakness?

By Bla1ze on 18 Jan 2010 12:19 pm EST
 RIM push services

When it comes to email any BlackBerry user will tell you that they love their BlackBerry smartphone for how fast they can get email. RIM has been doing "push" email for a long time now and has  become the leader in that area - No doubt about that. Only now is the smartphone market catching up to BlackBerry and it sure as heck still has a long way to go as of yet in the area of push.

As much as we love our push email and applications, with the recent outages I can't help but wonder if the strong point RIM has made with BlackBerry is also a weakness of the service. Think about this for a second. While other Platforms such as iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile do have some push capability for the most part, they also have "pull" capability at the same time built directly into their individual OS'. If the iPhone push services go down at any point, which they do, you can still pull your email into your device using your carrier data. The same goes with Android and Windows Mobile as well. The power of being able to pull email is not given to BlackBerry users due to the fact RIM is always touting the push benefits with email and even apps more and more.

BlackBerry users however, are well, kind of stuck for the most part. Sure you may be able to use the GMail application to check your GMail or your browser to access some other popular POP3 accounts, but that's assuming those items are working as well. As we know, some applications use RIM data services and some applications use your carriers data network. This area becomes fragmented as to which apps will work on your BlackBerry if there is a RIM outage. As RIM moves forward more and more with push applications, again I have to wonder, is push a benefit but also a hinderence to the the BlackBerry offerings at times? Should BlackBerry users have the ability to pull their data if they do so choose? Cast your vote and let us know, then sound off in the comments and tell me if you think I'm crazy or if you see my point.

Reader comments

Are "Push" Services RIMs Strength And Weakness?


Honestly, now that RIM is building all Blackberrys to have Wifi, what are we missing?

Secondly, I love my Blackberry but I also own a laptop. How many people have access to the web ONLY through their BB.

Don't get me wrong, I love BBM and think it is the best application but I don't need it since I can text most people.

I think if it continues to be a problem then give us the option for pull email. But I think if that happens Blackberry is doomed. That is one of the best things about a blackberry the email push service.

I totally agree. What's really ironic is that the thing I find most invaluable about my Blackberry, the push email, is also the thing that aggravates me the most when it's not working.

I think it WOULD be a great idea for RIM to give us the ability to use our carrier's data services to either push or pull in apps (especially email) in the event that BIS goes down.

I know it's a lot to ask, but it would be nice if that kind of transition was seamless, too!

at least in the past, when your email wasn't working, it was your isp, exchange server, etc.

Here it is relying on one company which has done it well for years. In the past, when I had winmo, I used to joke with my brother that I could get access to email and web when he couldn't....

RIM can't rely on their laurels and need to incorporate some ideas that competitors have introduced into a new os.

i personally love the bb push service, but something should be done for us to at least have access to the internet when the servers are down. that is a little ridiculous

I was wondering this during the outage in December. I think push AND pull should be the way as you suggested. How can I find out if an app uses RIM data services or the carrier data network?

RIM keeps harping on and on about how superior (yes superior 5 to 8 years ago, but NOT ANYMORE today) Push Mail is. But then again, are they innovating? Or have they stalled and giving themselves a pat on their back just because their sales are up? Let's analyze this.

Blackberry's strengths are mainly 1) Push Mail and 2) Blackberry Messenger . These are their only 2 TRUE STRENGTHS (forget about the corporates and their security concerns - consumers are driving you forward). Nothing else about their hardware is worth shouting about. The hell are they doing like the rest of the pack trying to play catch up with Apple for? You can't beat them, you can only reduce their marketshare! Don't they get it? If you want to beat them, you have to innovate or give users superior benefits; benefits in terms of better hardware, better features, exclusive features, etc and more importantly, by listening to their users.

The day the IPhone or Android comes up with good Push Mail (comparative with the Blackberry) is the day i ditch the Blackberry... and my sources tell me that day is coming real soon. The hell with the Messenger, Ping's already on IPhone and there's one in the works on the Android platform. Enough said.

ps I have a spare copy of The Purple Cow. I'll send whoever's in charge a copy if i get an addy.


Everything you said is true. Rim needs to start appealing more to all consumers. They need to make it more appealing to develop for the blackberry platform. The 1% I don't agree with is when you say Ping can replace BBM. BBM is shipped with all Blackberrys and is therefore more well known. So BBM is still a strong...for now.

If Rim can implement real-time video chat into BBM, THAT WOULD BE INNOVATION.

Based on the sales data made available in December 2009, RIMs market share increased more than Apple. Given that companies are downsizing, one has to conclude that RIM is selling more phones to non-business/non-enterprise customers. That would suggest that RIM is appealing to a broader range of consumers.

Yes, but that is only because the IPhone is exclusively on AT&T. If Apple can work out some kind of deal to get on Verizon RIM will be in trouble.

I love my storm for email, but it doesn't compare to the IPhone on everything else.

Everything you said is true. Rim needs to start appealing more to all consumers. They need to make it more appealing to develop for the blackberry platform. The 1% I don't agree with is when you say Ping can replace BBM. BBM is shipped with all Blackberrys and is therefore more well known. So BBM is still a strong...for now.

If Rim can implement real-time video chat into BBM, THAT WOULD BE INNOVATION.

When RIM servers go down, Wi-Fi is almost useless since most applications go through RIM's proxys anyways. Finding out which apps work via Wi-Fi and which don't is too much of a hassle, especially since WinMo, iPhone and Android users don't have to put up with crap like this.

I'm sorry for BlackBerry purists but this is one of these things that RIM needs to change ASAP to stay relevant in the near future. Cut that middle man between me and my carrier, or at least don't force it down our throats as the only option to get email and data from the built-in apps.

The main problem is RIM needs to make a "fallback" service from BIS to WAP service. Tell the user the switch is going to happen and to be careful if they don't have unlimited data; but allow them to continue using their blackberry as normal (in case of BIS failure) This gives you the best push service in the market, and more flexibility when there's a problem in their NOC.

But as that problem, I also do think they need to raise the attachment size (come on 3mb was ok in 2005 not 2010), have a good integrated browser and allow more things using the BIS service (international roaming benefits). But I don't know what's going on RIM and what are their plans.

If BlackBerry didn't provide push email would you even purchase one? I wonder if RIM has really prepared its servers for the number of new BlackBerry users. In the past a BlackBerry data outage was big and unexpected news. Now there are websites and online forums dedicated to just this topic. Sign!

I finally switched back to Windows Mobile and on the other line have an iPhone 3G. No outages. No call drops that result in six minutes of resetting. Just two working smartphones.

To answer: Yes, RIM should offer a way to pull information when their network has issues.

iam on t-mobile in germany with BIS and never had an outage, so i dont care about. allways got my email or other notifications.

It's not that I really NEED the pull email, but the outages are somewhat annoying, and if I had the option to pull also, that would be sweet.

It's always better to have more options than needed, just in case. It never hurt anyone, having more options.

alright, so i get how frustrating a BIS outage can be (not had one, but when my internet at home goes down its kinda the same) but my views is this
dont make RIM split their time attention and finances between 2 methods, as that would then be jack of all trades master of none, yes by all means strengthen ther push service, which is obviously needed, but people winge about the OS now, imagine the potential issues if it doesnt work right on pull as well as push, imagine all the hassle developers are gonna have making their apps both pusdh and pull compliant, i dont think its a feasible option, and the suggestion is more a knee jerk reaction to recent outages rather than a feasible soloution
i have a windows pc, and sometime it says `an error has occured do you want to send details to microsoft` or something like that, we`ve all seen those messages with issues with programs, do we still use windows? yes

RIM should build on, and strengthen their push servers and services, not bring in another system thats not only gonna complicate, but also risk instablilty too

just my thoughts, but there ya go :)

"we`ve all seen those messages with issues with programs, do we still use windows?"

No, I use a Mac so I don't experience these issues. My money goes to the company that provides the best product and the best experience. If the are not willing to be innovative enough on a main issue like this then they need to stick with supporting the business world only. Its the same bs story as to why the Blackberry OS and browser are so dated compared to the competition. Adapt or be relegated to the niche segment.

I like the option that most (if not all) ISP's offer: Instant email *notification*, but hold it on the server until I pull it down...

I've been a a loyal BB user for years now but decided to try out the Nexus.

I will never go back to BB.

Gmail is pushed to my device instantly. Just as reliable as BB email. I always bought in to the "bb does email best" mindset until I tried something different.

Now, not only do I get my email just like I did on my BB, I also get no hourglass icon or waiting, no battery pulls, no crashes, no BIS outages, and finally a fast and rich web experience.

Oh, and i don't have to worry about the app world locking up my 9000 Bold all the time when I try and browse it.

RIM has fallen so far behind in it's OS's and UI that without an advantage in email delivery I don't see how they can make it. IMO, they have lost that email delivery advantage they once had.

since i am experiencing yet AGAIN another email issue, I would gladly dump the push for the pull. my other family members all have iphones and have little issues.

i like the idea of push email. i hate the idea of no syncing.

for example. winmo would sync. so it only pulled up email sitting on the server side. anything you delete from the pc was also deleted upon activating the send/receive method.

i hated having to hit send/receive to retrieve my email.

the only advantage i see from push email is the fact that it's there on your phone. everything else involved with the email routine i don't exactly like.

I think its just fine how it is. People complain too much about the RIM outtages. I've had my Blackberry for a year now, and I've only noticed BIS stop pushing my e-mail once during that December outtage caused by the BBM problems. Lasted one day out of the entire year. I've otherwise experienced no noticeable service interruptions. I think everyone makes a big deal out of something that's really minor when it comes to these BIS outtages.

I used a BB curve for a year and then the Bold 9000 for a bit more than a year (most unreliable phone / device I ever owned). I decided to switch back to Windows Mobile as I missed the better web browsing experience from a full / touch screen and I didn't think much of BB's early ventures into the touchscreen world.

I have the HTC Touch Pro 2 and use it both with GMail and with a corporate MS Exchange server. The MS Exchange mail arrives at the same time (sometimes a second or two before, sometimes a second or two after) as it does on my laptop. This is basically the same experience that I had with my Blackberries.

The Curve was a fantastic phone, but the Bold 9000 was disappointing to say the least. Poor battery life and very unstable - it would hard reset at least once a day.

Windows Mobile has it's faults, but for me it is a better platform and much more functionally rich device. I am waiting for the HD2 to come in an North American version and will likely move to that, although the lack of keyboard worries me a bit, so I will probably hang on to the Touch Pro 2 until I make sure I can live without a keyboard.

I have two BlackBerries: one for work and one for personal use. We've got the whole corporate setup at work - Exchange, BES, you name it - and it's a great experience. I often receive e-mail on my Curve before my PC, and I have no complaints whatsoever.

For personal use, however, I use Gmail. A lot. This means that I have tons of labels, rules, and other custom things that most non-power users probably wouldn't bother with. With BIS there's no two-way sync, and my PC-side rules/filtering basically go out the window.

This article addresses my #1 - and virtually only - complaint with BlackBerries for personal use. I don't care if it's push, pull or pigeon. I just want my inbox to match on my PC and BlackBerry no matter where I choose to archive/filter/mark as read/label e-mails. If RIM simply had real IMAP support this wouldn't even be an issue.

So thanks to this lack of functionality with BIS or a proper workaround with IMAP, I just use the Gmail app instead and go around this crap altogether. It's a shame that I have to use a cheesy looking program just to manage e-mails the way I want to instead of being able to use the built-in interface.

3 outages in last month and several more since June 09 when I got my BB.
I'm heading elsewhere until RIM steps up it's game.
March 1st BUH BYE.

Seems that this article was spurred by today's "scheduled" outage. Sure, it affected more than just Rogers carriers, but several carriers were not affected. For the most part, users knew there was going to be an outage.

Apple's MobileMe service has had at least two outages in the past several months. I've had my cable modem go out on occasion. We've even seen the CrackBerry website go down a few times as well. No server is going to be up and running 100% of the time. I think it is foolish to think that just by switching to another device that you will never see an outage of some sort.

There are 3rd party e-mail applications for BB. So if you want pull-email, you don't have to use RIM's push services.

with all these outages going on with BB i've becomed more and more disappointed with their services. the Push email is the best hands down and i've made a lot of new friends through BBM but all that is pointless if these outages that happen make my BB become useless. I'm looking towards the way of the iPhone. When qualcomm makes that chip for the iphone to be used on CDMA networks i will ditch my verizon tour for that iphone. The Technology the iphone has and being able to sync with my macbook is more appealing to me than what RIM has offered. But that's just my honest opinion. Apple is catching up to RIM in terms of push email and i think RIM has to step their game up to come up with more innovated ideas.

I have more problems with my work Internet crashing (small family business, that relies heavily on telecommunications) than I have had with BIS/RIM outtages.

In fact, more often than not, it's my BB that I turn to when I can't get online. The most prolific of RIM outtages in my time here was in December 2009. In that instance (all 3-5 hours of it) I turned to my Gmail app to get my e-mail, which serves as my back up method to RIM's built-in UI e-mail.

The Blackberry push allows Blackberries to have better battery life and speed when they work. So I guess its a hard tradeoff. Hopefully, with software more stable, it should work more stable sicne they upgraded the BBM.

The way I see it... if people don't like push services... get something else than BlackBerry then.

Let's face it outages suck.

Last I looked RIM is still putting up four 9's for availability. Should they have better internal controls on upgrades - no doubt. A upgrade to BBM should not take down your whole infrastructure.

That being said MobileMe/GMail have both had significant outages in 2009. Didn't Apple even lose email during one? GMail is hacked it seems every other month so I guess go for what matters to you. Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync is still PULL email and it has its own disadvantages. Not to mention many outages are carrier driven.

Keep in mind RIM encrypts and compresses all data packets. Helps the carriers bandwidth and until the days of unlimited data plans (which seem to be going away soon) help users keep their data usage down. Ask at&t how their data network is doing lately.

I would have thought, that most People would be using the BlackBerry, as an extension, to their E-mail Address, Somewhere else.

After all, I can't see Myself, downloading and installing EVERY Application, that I might possibly need, to view EVERY type of Attachment, that I might encounter.
(If that Software is even available, and if I can afford it.).

The BlackBerry is strong, very strong.
But to use it as a stand alone, Front End to Your E-Mail..?
I think that, this could be insane.
It all depends, on what Your E-Mails look like.
For Me, it really would be.

Only now is the smartphone market catching up to BlackBerry and it sure as heck still has a long way to go as of yet in the area of push. Dont know where that came from only now? to each there own, and rim is very much moving forward for developers right now, first you build a good reputation in your area of service, then you stable that development, all the bitching about rim this and that i know rims not that bad or else it wouldn't be used right now and as for catching up, i dont know about that, most smart phones still dont last with this kinda fetchers on end all day so i dont know why hype always push its self where it don't belong. all phones got there roll to play in the market and some people like to get there mails on demand some dont, and using all these phones over the years, rim gets the job done, it works and there will be more improvements as time goes on in this area, set aside the berry the iphone success is really on functions and its not a master in the emailing area, pretty soon when sensor keyboards hit the market will die hard spread sheet users make the switch because of the beauty of it or do they care more about stability.
I have spent hrs on end with other phones only to find out the time it takes to get it setup just right with 3rd party apps and other addons is just not as powerful as the blackberry, and could never get by 8hrs on hard core mobility. other phones fail in this area, the nokia is the only maker besides the berry that is a solid contender that really moves. i dont get how a touch screen keyboard can be more productive than a q keyboard. its like telling me wifi is more dedicated that cable and snoopy is a cat.
as for the outages i never had any problems with that at all, i cant complain about something that dont happen every Friday night to make me miss my train. i cant talk for the Enterprise part of it but im sure things can only get better and as more and more people realize how well this works, you have to get a more reliable service after all you will never be able to please everyone thats for sure.
im sticking with the berry.

I'd rather have push and conserve battery instead of having a battery outage daily.

All the other manufacturers will be doing the same as RIM. Gmail and MobileMe are doing it, Palm is still working on it. They'll have their outages.

Push is essential with mobile devices.

I love push "everything" but the outages have me seriously considering android as a replacement. Honestly, as soon as they come out with a super-thin touchscreen slider running android, I'm gone! Service outages and an archaic OS has pushed me to the limit.

A couple weeks ago I'd had a conversation where I mentioned a number of things about RIM that I was worried about:

1) what seemed to me to be an increased number of outages as compared to a couple of years ago,

2) The fact RIM is pushing Push services , web-signals, and cloud-based services. I know RIM would rather have cloud-based services since that means they don't have to open up more API's on the device. And any processing that happens on servers before being delivered to the device also makes it easier on the device. What concerns me is with outages people are left with smart phones that they can't use to their full potential. Not a good consumer experience.

Personally, I used to have to travel to areas out of cell range so any program that couldn't work on my device alone wasn't one I'd likely keep around or use much. As nice as some of the push services are, people have little patience these days for things that don't work as intended 100% of the time, and it no doubt is driving some of them to leave RIM.

There is a major difference between RIM's "always on" services and the fake push offered by other companies. For RIM to switch to a phone that polls like the others it would mean abandoning everything that gives them their edge in the marketplace. Always on,security and data compression are areas that can't be matched by other manufacturers.

Every service and carrier saw major outages last year, yet only the outages by RIM have created this frothing madness that they are somehow behind the times.

Security for whom? I think people are missing the forest for the trees.

People should be concerned that RIM is one stop shopping for hackers or anybody who wants to see your 10 email account userids, passwords, email, and PIN messages. The EULA clearly states they will give out this information even based on requests from police, which is clearly a violation of constitutional law in many countries- that preempts due process of law. Apparently, with RIM you have not even the presumption of privacy.

Time for a wakeup call, folks.

Push email is a superior convenience, but it is not a superior solution. They could very easily have set up a polling implementation and native POP/IMAP/SMTP clients like other phones have, even if they recommended you use their service. Increasingly, smartphone sales will depend on informed consumers, and more importantly, freedom of choice.

While push probably is the best scenario for BES, it's clear for many reasons it has questionable value and significant downside for BIS users.