Krakow on the BlackBerry Trackball... What's Your Take?

By Kevin Michaluk on 1 Oct 2008 10:55 am EDT
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I'm not sure how I missed this video yesterday, but I did, so I'm posting it now... Senior Technology Correspondent for the TheStreet.com, Gary Krakow, in this video goes off about the reliability of the BlackBerry trackball after his quit working on his BlackBerry 8820 after six months of use. Talking to his IT guys (who show Gary a box of old BB's that mainly have the scrollwheel and not the trackball), Gary discovers and is sort of shocked to find out the problem appears to be fairly commonplace.

Gary isn't too much of a CrackBerry Addict... or else he would have known to try the wet-thumb trick (dirt sticks to your thumb and cleans up the trackball) or to  check out our forum post on How To Remove and Clean Your Trackball vs. saying there was no way to clean it. We'll forgive him though - not everybody is as hardcore as all of you reading this.

Gary is one person though... and while he's run into bad luck with his 8820, I've actually never personally ran into an issue with the trackball on any of my BBs (they turn black from dirt, but still seem to work fine). Yet looking at our BlackBerry How To and FAQ forum, the article on Removing & Cleaning the Trackball is actually the most viewed of all the forum how to articles, making me think there is some truth to Gary's rant. And we know it's on RIM's radar since with the BlackBerry 8900 they are introducing the new and improved atomic trackball. 

So that leaves the question, What have your experiences been like with the trackball on your BlackBerry? All Good? Big Problems? Somewhere in between? How about with friends and co-workers? Sound off in the comments and let us know!!

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Krakow on the BlackBerry Trackball... What's Your Take?

109 Comments

When the trackball works, it's great. But I view the trackball as one of the Blackberry's big reliability weaknesses. I don't use a holster, just a lint full pocket, so I'm sure that is part of the problem; but this is a phone after all, it should be ok to put it in a pocket.

I have had my 8800 for about 1.5years, and average a trackball disassemble once every 6 months. It's giving problems again and think next time I will just buy a new one trackball rather than trying to clean it out. Wish it had keyboard shortcuts so it could at least somewhat function when that problem crops up. Very much looking forward to the Atomic trackball, whatever that is, because there must be a better way.

Had a 8100 Pearl for 18 months & trackball still worked no problem, infact it "flowed" even better after time...shame the screen went ;)...now on Bold so see what happens with that.

I, like most had the dark colouration of the Pearl even though I kept my hands as clean as possible.

Possibly people who have trackball problems don't use the pouch or holster & just put their Berries directly into their pockets which will pick up more dust ?

Could the Bolds new sunken trackball be a response / help to this problem ?

i do wish though that the bold trackball was dark, like a dark green something that makes it less quick to dirty

This is the same genius who said the iPhone should run Windows Mobile. He's obviously just taken the internet troll to the video medium.

Bait-y brilliance, but will backfire when people start to assume he's just a loudmouth moron. Hope the traffic is worth it!

But at least CrackBerry.com gets lots of shout outs in his Verizon Storm video (errr.. ignore all the details he gets wrong about the phone)...

After watching that video about the Storm leak I have decided Gary Krakow knows nothing.

He says it will work on CDMA in the US and GSM in the rest of the world. Then he slams RIM for making the Storm exclusive to Verizon "which means it won't work anywhere else in the world". This guy is so stupid he doesn't even listen to his own comments a minute earlier. The phone being exclusive to Verizon means nothing in the big picture of working around the world. It has the right GSM radios for the rest of the world.

That was just one mistake he made in the video. There isn't enough space on the Internet to list the rest of Gary Krakow's misinformation caused by being the most technically illiterate technology correspondent.

Gary Krakow makes Walt Mossberg look like Einstein.

What a piece of SH*T. Watching those two videos just piss me off. I can't stand when people try to pretend they know half of what they are talking about and spread it as gospel. "Most trackballs only last about a month.." yea right. 90% of the "facts" he brought up were completely false. What a douchebag TOOL.

First off, this cnet guy is a real doosh. A guy this irrational shouldn't be allowed to vote, own a gun, or interact with minors and the elderly.

I have had a similar experience previously with the track ball on my 8330, but I had the track ball out and cleaned in 10 seconds. And that was all on my own, without the help of vzw or crackberry forums. (not bragging here, but honestly how hard is it to clean or pop out a track ball).

I always have revered CNET as an excellent resource for product info and reviews. It is a miracle this man still has a job after such a moronic and idiotic rant.

Exactly my point, I had this issue once and I went through the forums on how to remove the trackball. I removed it, cleaned it, and put it back with ease. He said he browsed online but I don't think he went to crackberry he would have been up and running in no time.

My 8830 is ten months old and the trackball still works great even with minimal cleaninng. Maybe he should wash his hands.

Yes,

I've got an 8830 - its 9 months old and I'm on my 3rd trackball (with 2 weeks wait between each fix). I'm pretty frustrated to say the least.

Are the newer generation blackberrys like the Bold built any better>?

Frustrated

I had my first 8830 for over a year before it started giving me problems, and thats because I spilled water on it. When I got my replacement, I was shocked to see how grungy and yellow my old Blackberry's track ball was. But the trackball still functioned perfectly. Bad luck ol' chum. I don't see the big deal. Every phone got replaced by the service provider. Some people shouldn't be televised, blogged, podcasted, or listened to.

I understand the trackball isn’t the most reliable piece if equipment, but I like the feature and ease of use with it, but I will say one thing if my trackball has dirt underneath it im not going to complain to RIM or my carrier that its not working wen everybody on this board knows just blow on it and move it around and it fixes itself so why go thru the hassle of not checking your email or trying to fix your phone ???

My trackball has problems with going left. I have to slightly press in on the ball itself for it to register a left spin. If I don't it just sits there and does nothing. But I've learned to slightly press in so it works okay. Only problem now is when I accidentally press in too far while scrolling left and click something I didn't mean to.

What the frick kind of IT guys to they have over there?! Why blast the Berries because of an inept IT crew! I have not had ANY of my users complain about their track ball. I myself have had an 8300 for over a year, and have never had an issue. What are they doing? Dipping their hands in mud and using their Berries?

I have not experienced any trouble with my track ball, what the hell is this guy talking about, maybe he should read the tips on this website and familiarize himself a little more with his Blackberry!

What the hell are these people doing to their track balls? Between my wife and I, we have had 4 BB's over a span of about 2.5 years. We have never had an issue with a track ball. I don't get it.

My wife and I both continue to have good experiences, till last week. I had exactly the same problem happen at work. Me being inpatient and mere blocks from a vzw store I had my berry replaced (which didn't bother me, I beat it). I wish I would have remembered about the cleaning post. I was kinda surprised vzw didn't pop it off and clean it, I was very surprised that they replaced it.

Its funny you posted this today. Because for the past two week I have been dealing with a trackball on my verizon curve that will scroll down ok, but doesnt want to scroll upwards. It will scroll up, but its really slow.

Im prolly going to try some of the cleaning methods that were posted on this site and see if that helps. Hopefully it will!

No doubt the newer trackballs aren't as good as the older ones, but they are easy to replace (and cheap).

Thier IT dept. should spend some money to get replacement non oem trackballs (the smooth kind about $10 ea.) and just pop a new one in instead of returning the entire berry.

I've had a Pearl 8100 for about a year now and I've never had any issues with it, including the trackball. Every phone will have it's faulty devices. Has this guy ever seen an iPhone that will freeze? Pretty common.

what a douche bag!! and his it staffers are dumb asses too!!! either his searching skills are atrocious or he's got to clean the spunk off his hands post-jerking the chicken. how can i get a hold of his IT dept, i see a pile of profit right there after a $8 retrofit and blackberry spa treatment

I personally haven't had any issues with my trackball, but the timing of this is funny. My friend's trackball stopped working yesterday. I had glanced at the forum here a while back and knew the trackball could be removed, so we experimented. We had no problems removing and cleaning it, but it didn't solve the problem completely. He had to go get his 8130 replaced (it's only 4 months old). It was almost like there was a time delay...he would scroll to something, and it scrolled ok, but wouldn't click. Then it would work fine. And back and forth, until the click worked, but the delay was huge! So we stopped messing with it and AT&T replaced it

Hello:
This issue can be avoided with preventive care. Personally, my blackberry is like my baby. I make sure I clean that trackball at least once a week so it can continue working perfectly. If you have a baby, you wouldn't change his or her diaper every week mainly because we all know that can cause serious problems. My phone is two years old and it works as good as the first day.

Hope this helps

I really liked the wheel on my 7100 but when I got the curve I loved the trackball. It is soo much easier to scroll through icons instead of using the wheel. I have had my curve for a year and it works great, never had the need to clean it. I have a few co workers with the pearl and theirs are very glitchy and need to be cleaned. But they are women and carry their phone in their purse so I would think that dirt and fuzz probably build up faster since it is in the bottom of their purse versus my holster.

He says you can't take the trackball out to clean them? I sure can. Given I have a Pearl 8130, I can remove mine and clean it out with can of compressed air. As well you can buy replacement Trackball assemblies, and swithch them out your self.

Yes, dirt can get into the assembly, but if you maintain your device it should work solid for as long as you have it.

my 0.02

I have had three other bb and I am currently using the 8320 from tmobile and I hjave never had a single problem with any of their trackballs. My wife did have a small problem with her pearl but I was able to fix it with CB help but other than that nothing.

Funny this just came out. Two days ago I finally took my phone in to VZW to get it check it out due to the trackball not responding up and down. The rep/tech popped out my old trackball and replaced it with another BlackBerry's(Curve) trackball that had been returned and was getting sent back to RIM. Come on people, we know all moving and friction parts will eventually wear due to constant use. I went months with my trackball acting up, I only wish I had gone to VZW store before to get it fixed. I made the assumption that it was my software because I'm running 4.5 OS. Long story short, my trackball now works better than ever and it cost me nodda to get it fixed. If you have trackball problems, take it to your provider...its a simple fix. They fixed my honestly in less than 5 mins. Also, while I was there I tried to dig some Storm info out of'em.

Personally, I don't press the track ball unless I really need to, or if I am using my bb with one hand.

I'd discerned from the start that the trackball was a sensitive aspect of the phone. Usually, you can get around using it by pressing the enter button -- or if pressing the blackberry button and then enter.

My point: I try to cut down using it as much as I can.

One thing I must point out, though. When he was rolling the ball to show it did not work any longer, it seemed almost as though he were exaggerating the fact -- like he was drifting softly over (and sometimes not even touching) the trackball.

Maybe it's just me...

WCM

I've replaced 2 trackballs. 1 on my daughters 8100 and another on a friends 8300. My 8320 which is appraoching a year old hasn't had a problem yet. I keep mine in a sleeve, the two I replaced they keep them in pockets with no protectors.

I do have a spare new trackball in my desk in case mine, or another friends, goes out.

I came here to post that Krakow is like Enderle: anything he says, you should assume the opposite is true. But it looks like the comments above have it covered. :D

I have never had a problem with my trackball. A friend of mine has the same phone, the 8820 and he has taken his trackball out to clean it. He has cleaned it once and hasn't any more problems with it.

I've had several BB's with the trackball and I have the same problems. I've become a pro and taking it out and cleaning it, but after 2 or 3 times the small parts bend and break so I have to replace it. Its really annoying!

This guys an idot...hahahaha..

i had this issue a few months back, i thought i was going to have to replace the trackball myself.. then i read a few forum posts and all i had to do was a battery pull.

oh shit go figure it worked!!! yeah i realize its a little stupid that i would have to do it, but shit it was worth a try and it did fix the issue.

now granted the problem for this guy could be worse but i looked into replacing the track ball too and its a really simple DIY anyways. THIS DUDE JUST WANTS TO BITCH!! and so much for his IT guys if they cant get it working again when so many non IT techs have done it in the community.

GARY is a dumbasss that shouldnt be allowed to use a blackberry. i think he should donated it to a worthy user and should go find some LG that would work better for his competency level..

come on really this guy is a joke.. Kevin you should send him an email and tell him he's a Jackass.

if idiot you mean the guy in this video.... holy shit i registered just to bag on his old dumb ass. my blackberry ball comes right out once i remove the silver ring, he hasn't taken the time to discover shit and is talking like a know it all moron. I would be scared to see the cell phone design of his.... if it would be so much better.

It made me cringe seeing those nice BBs (well some of them) just piled in a box with no protection! Some of which were only there because their trackballs didn't work. It is quite silly to replace the entire phone just because the trackball doesn't work.

Trackballs are a good concept but moving parts are bad. RIM should have learned from the old mice using the mouse ball. Those clogged all the time and caused jumping around the screen.

RIM is going in the right direction with touch screens and non-mechanical touch trackballs. Soon we will have on a Blackberry the atomic trackball, keyboard and small touch screen (like Treo, half keyboard, half touch screen).

I've had my curve 8310 for a while ( i got it when it came out) and I've never had any type of problems with the track ball. Same goes for my girls curve she's never had any issue with it. The only thing is that it starts to get dark from the dirt and grease. But overall it's a great phone.

Trackballs have always been an attraction for dirt. There is a reason they stopped using them in computer mice. There is a lack of reliability. Adding a trackball to Blackberry phones has been a trajedy. I feel it was added to add 'style' to the phone. I see kids around schools running around with Blackberry phones and they talk about how stylish and cool they are. Unfortunately, what RIM has forgotten is what go them to where they are at today. The phones need to be robust for professional use and abuse. I have a Pearl 8130. My job requires me to visit customer locations that are manufacturing facilities. I generally do not get very dirty at these locations, yet I am now on my 3rd Pearl because the trackball simply craps out because of too much dirt. I am trying to take care of this phone, hence I leave it in my car and I make sure to always wash my hands prior to leaving a customer location. Honestly speaking, RIM's Blackberry 8703e is the best phone they have available right now for professionals. They are a little bulky, but the large screen along with the trackwheel make it better then all the trackball style Blackberry phones out there. I know you're thinking why did I get a Pearl then? I got one because I didn't realize the issues I would have and because it was free on a 3 year plan. The 8703e is now available for free from my service provider. If it had been free at the time, I would have gotten it instead.

Who is this guy? Does he really think that he can teach RIM how to make hardware??? I've had my Pearl (the infamous trackball other name) for 6 months, and it works just fine. A friend of mine got his since october last year, then again no problem at ALL.

So what? Some device get dirt more easily than others. Ok. But do not blame RIM for a few problems among a tremandous numbers of quality and devices with no problem...

And do not try to compare it to Apple iPhone or the G1. The second isn't really out yet and for the first one, my mighty mouse made and designed by Apple REALLY HAD A TRACKBALL ISSUE, and it costs 50 €. You better talk about it. This guy seems to know everything. Who is he anyway?

Moreover, there ARE ways to clean the BB trackball (or should I call it the Pearl) while there ARE NOT for the Apple trackball on the mice.

This video must be produced by some anti-RIM people...

He is just mad because he probably had a bad experience with a customer service rep and used his authority to bash a company. Editors may do this at times. Welcome to freedom of press. When the storm is launched he will have one and show the love for the phone. That is what makes him a crappy editor.

So, lets say this is a legitimate claim (which I'm sure it is), and trackballs really do break and/or stick. Does any one see any potential problems with having a touchscreen device dependent on one giant screen/button? What if the screen/ button stops working like these trackballs? Then the whole device is useless.
Has anyone else thought about this?

I have thought about that. I am hoping the Storm allows for multiple inputs. Meaning I hope you can still select/type on the screen without having to press it in. Possibly change a setting to select after a certain time even if the screen isn't depressed.

From the videos it looks like you can swipe the screen without depressing it so it would be likely selecting/typing without depressing would be possible.

If it has that ability I won't worry about the screen depress breaking. It will need to be replaced or fixed like anything else. At least it will still be usable until I decide to fix it.

had to replace my track ball after 9 months. freak problem, the crome plating on the tb ring flaked off and logded under the tb. was easy to replace. where it would be better if it was easier to remove the tb, i don't think the comments on the video are warrented.

Does anyone want to wash my blackberry balls? I like to keep track of my balls.. wash your hands before your rub your balls ladies and gents

So far, the biggest thing I think I run into is not so much the dirty trackballs themselves, but the large number of friends who keep their BB in their pants pocket. The trackball is apparently good at collecting lint. Once the lint gets onto the ridges on the rollers you are screwed, and start losing control of directional functionality. I usually can remove the ball and disassemble it, and clean it. Getting it back together however, usually requires, mini screwdrivers, tweezers, and steady hands. It doesn't help that the rollers are magnetic, but I know that's what makes them work. Hopefully in the future, RIM can come up with a bit better solution, one perhaps where the rollers are fixed in a plastic piece, but in such a way that you can still remove the ball and clean things out when you need to. I think for now, I am going to order some extra trackballs, and keep them around for when repairs are needed.

Hey All,

I've had my BB Curve for almost two months and encountered some issues with the trackball. One day it did not scroll up. I immediately did a soft reset (battery pull out) and WHOOSH....it worked again. A couple of weeks later the camera would not zoom to 5x...it stayed on 1x. Has anyone else experienced these little quirks? BTW, this phone is amazing and would never go back to a conventional cell again

I haven't personally had any issues with the trackball on my 8120. But other users in my company have had issues on thier devices (8800, Pearls and Curves). We actually found and online seller that sells the trackball by itself. They was pretty cheap about $15 or so. We just bought a bunch and swapped out the trackball if needed.

I believe that is the reason for the keyboard shortcuts. It reduces the wear n tear from using the trackball for everything. Things like pressing "r" for replying to a message or the "enter" key rather than pressing in the trackball. These are all ways to eliminate the stress on the trackball. I mean this thing isnt the NASA spaceshuttle. Its not meant to last forever. I have an 8830 which I have had for 18 months and have had no problems with my trackball. However, I use the shortcuts and remove and clean the trackball about every 3 months. Does this guy abuse his car the same way he abuses his BB? I mean really? Dont you have to perform maintenance on it as well?

I am having to replace the trackball on my old 8310 curve, because when i took it out to clean it, the bottom part separated from the rest of the assembly. so i am now just waiting for a replacement, and then my old phone will become a back up(i have the same things loaded on both phones)

on the plus side, i wound up with a new shiny BB curve LOL(only because ATT hasn't released the BOLD yet)

I have had the 8100 pearl for almost 2 yrs and i delt with my track ball only working in two directions for about 2 mths. I then did some research and bought a new track ball asembly and a t7 torx and tore it apart to fix then six mths later i had to do it again (i just cleaned it this time) i carry my prl in my pants pocket 100% of the time and get alot of build up of lint on the little rollers. But i love my phone so much i just look at it as another way to have bonding time with my pearl ya know kinda like working through a fight with the wife. As a side not i have had problems with an intermintet mico usb port

by the way i just discovered this site and i love it!!!

My 8320 is nine months old and just had my first issue with the ball not working to scroll up - - I took a commercial pre-moistend wipe used for cleaning eye glasses - it is plastic safe (isopropanol) and without removing the trakball I cleaned it with the wipe - it now works just as well as the day I bought it - if people would get in the habit of wiping the trackball every so often I think they would go a long way without issues.

But lets get something straight. I have been saying it on many forums since he first started reporting. Gary is an excellent technology correspondent.........., for his target audience. You know the typical Joe and Sandy types. You know the ones who just wont admit that they don't get into technology because they don't understand it. This type of reporting doesn't belong amongst the Elite Crackberry Users (ECU). We all know that there are ways of cleaning with a little ingenuity and care. But use common sense, the pc mouse has been around how long? You wouldn't scroll over a greasy track pad with a mouse would you? If you take care of your stuff it will last. Common sense says if your hands are dirty, it wouldn't be a good idea to pick up and use that BB or any phone. I have had only one BB (8130, and I have own many since the 6510) give me any kind of problems let alone a trackball problem, and it was due to unknowingly allowing my little niece getting her hands on it. She managed somehow to actually chip the ball, go figure. In case you weren't aware, the ball works like a mouse. It rolls on four pins in a square formation, so needless to say it had to be replaced. I could of got a new track ball assembly for like 12 or 15 dollars somewhere on the internet. Just search. But I have insurance with Sprint. So why not a new phone! Take care of your stuff and stop listening to this guy while losing brain cells. If you like technology like I do, just watch his videos on mute or go elsewhere for your technology satisfaction. Later.

I don't know any BB owner who has had a problem eith the trackball. Mine is only 4 mos old but not showing dirt. I use it alot but I wash my hands.

From my experience as the person in charge of blackberry support at my company the trackball isnt the issue, its the horribly weak mini usb connector on the 8830. I've had many of those fail.

a few days ago i had a panicked moment when my trackball refused to turn and i was rendered incompacitated!!! i temporarily freaked out but recovered when the ball started turning again (about 5 long gut-wrenching moments)!!!! I'm glad to know there is a video on crackberry to help me thru it if it happens again!

I replaced the trackball on my Curve less than five months after purchasing it, and the replacement has been flawless. Was concerned about it at the beginning, more concerned when the first one flaked out, but now I am confortable with it and keep it clean as advised on this site. No problems whatsoever.

You can remove the trackball and clean it very easily. No real tools are even needed. Just a razor blade or anything with a sharp point to lodge under the balls houseing ring. Pry off the ring and then remove the ball. Clean with rubbing alcohol, let dry and replace ball and ring. Your all done, all fixed. Maybe 5 minutes of your time.

If your saying what I think your saying. I wouldn't recommend that for everyone. Just because your technologically sound, it doesn't mean you are mechanically. You'll be performing tasks that will be a bit consuming with such small parts. Especially if you have big fingers. Taking off that metal ring can get quite complicated for the unskilled. You have four very tiny magnetize pins that sit under the ball when you pull it/drop it. And then bending that paper thin metal ring back into place can get quite complicated and you could possibly break those fragile tips quite easily. Even if you are mechanically sound, I wouldn't recommend it. Even though you may can put the ring back in place, it doesn't mean you got every little bend out of the ring. Trust me it will bend in many ways when you remove it. But I am very picky about these type of things. Something about a small little ring with very minor bends just might affect the longevity/reliability of the track ball to me. Later

stop eating twinkies and mashing the buttons too hard...

i've had plenty of berries with balls, like most of you ... and never had a problem except with sprints... and i think most of sprints have problems. But then again, sprint was a problem so i didn't expect much out of the phone. My USCC and my ATT berrys have been wonderful.

i have had one 8130 replace under warranty for trackball issues and it was two months old at the time. the 8130 that i have now the trackball is rough feeling and it is also about two months old.i would have to say that Rim has some issues with the trackballs and they need to fix the issue.if Rim would make the trackball so us customers could take the trackball apart clean it and put it back in then that would be a big plus.

This guy is a techie? Poor man can't get to his email icon? lol! Doesn't he even know that he can re-arrange his icons?

Puhhhleese.

OK, I can really only deal with so much crap until I explode! Watch his thumb very carefully! The way he scrolls left to right is not the same intensity of which he is scrolling up and down! Seriously! Look at the reflection of his thumb in the BB keys around the trackball!! NO CONTACT WHEN UP TO DOWN!!! He MAY have a problem, but I believe he is full of himself and embellishing. My point is, HE ISNT MAKING LEGIT CONTACT WITH THE TRACKBALL WHEN HE SCROLLS UP AND DOWN!!

... and what’s with the box FULL of OLD BBs that has only ONE model with a trackball actually in the box?

I recognize that there are problems with trackballs, but this guy is just being ridiculous.

By the way, my 8330's trackball is working great!

He obviously didn't do enough research on the web. The IT department at that place should all be fired if they don't know something as simple as cleaning the trackball! I have had the trackball of mine and my friend's Blackberry not scroll in a certain direction but a little cleaning and it worked fine again. This guy should do his research before he opens his mouth because he obviously doesn't know what he's talking about.

I personally like the trackball better than the scroll wheel. Especially with OS 4.5 and the ability to scroll through pages faster.

who is this guy? why is he talking so much? how does he have so much free time to go around asking people about this yet can't type in 'how to clean/replace blackberry trackball' on google?

I am confused? Did you add this to show us that there are people out there who have no clue what is going on?

I have had my curve for almost 1 year and trackball gets oily but I press and roll it while off or in stand by mode and works fine. Got my mom a Pearl and its trackball has been fine for over a year and a half! You can get replacement parts online as well but are not very cheap. www.bbrepairshop.com has replacement retaining rings or full ball and retaining ring assembly for sale.

does the guy not know that you can take the thing out using your nail or a small Flathead? I mean come on! instead of blaming the carrier or rim try some do it your self work on it. its a whole hell of a lot quicker and cheaper to just clean it yourself

I never heard from, or even of, this guy before today. Before he goes on a rant about a device he claims to have had for 6 months, he should maybe take a little time to learn something about it.

And the observation that most of the berries in that box in the video are older models with a wheel is dead on. What they didn't show in the video is the box of older non-optical mice that stopped working for Krakpot and his friends with their dust-covered mouse pads.

Any device with moving parts is going to require periodic maintenance. The period may vary, but moving parts can't be expected to work like new forever.

After 9 months the trackball stopped clicking on my 8830, Sprint did take care of it though. Everyone I spoke to at Sprint did bring up that I have insurance but I was not going to pay the $50 when the phone when I was clearly still in the one year manufacturers warranty!

For someone that is constantly following the tech world, I am shocked to see him pissing and moaning about part of a device that he probably gets for free. If you have a problem with the trackball (which I never have) contact your carrier or blackberry and get a replacement! There is not a device out there that is one hundred percent perfect! FYI, the trackball can be removed very easily and cleaned, I know from experience. Get a clue!!!

wow. i can't believe people have finally realized that the trackball is the downfall of crackberries.

my trackball completely took a $*** on me after only a few months of having my 8830. i CANNOT press it to make an "enter" command. instead i have to use the "return" button.

plus my "end call" button doesnt work either.

i hope the storm will actually respond to my finger.

wow i never knew trackball was causing people a lot of problem. I had mine for more than a year now and its still working perfectly. Never had to do any cleaning or replacing for as long as i had my bb.

It usually doesn't want to go down, but tinkering with it for a couple of minutes it usually frees right up. 99% of the time it works just fine. I have only had my trackball BB for about 3 months though.

I am using an 8120 and I have trackball problems intermittently. When it happens I cant scroll side to side or up and down.. I roll the ball and cus a little and it eventually will work again..

I have had 2 BB's (8300 & 8310) Both are great, I just wanted the latest and greatest.
I've cleaned my trackball once because it was a funky discoloration. I've never had a sticky trackball or a lazy ball.

I think I had my 8830 for less than a month when I was forced to search the web for a way to fix the trackball. I found what I needed and cleaned it with no problem, but I did make the same comment as Gary about how these trackballs should be removeable similar to the way old computer mice could be opened and cleaned. Or, maybe RIM could take a page from the evolution of said mice and go with a laser-type trackball. At any rate, I have since started putting my 8830 in a pouch when I put it in my pocket instead of putting it straight in my pocket. That seems to be helping the trackball stay clean longer. I'd be interested to know how the "atomic trackball" on the 8900 differs from my phone.

-SR-

Ya know what....its simple snag!
He is a doof!

LOOK he is actually in the last part not really running his finger on the ball!

Mine has done this briefly, it was so easy to clear!
I am an addict and was only a little annoyed, I still feal its a great product!

I work for a at&t, and I have for over 3yrs. I have honestly had maybe 10 people come in with this trackball problem.

All those phones in that box were probably spare phones that the company gives as replacements when its employees need a temp phone.

His wife is probably cheating on him....

I have a BB 8830 on Verizon and the trackball would no longer click after about 10 months of use. Verizon, fortunately, replaced the device for free. It sucked because I'd have to use the return button to 'click'. I'm hoping it doesn't happen again and that, if it does, they'll just upgrade me to the storm =).

I have a BB 8830 on Verizon and the trackball would no longer click after about 10 months of use. Verizon, fortunately, replaced the device for free. It sucked because I'd have to use the return button to 'click'. I'm hoping it doesn't happen again and that, if it does, they'll just upgrade me to the storm =).

I've had my 8300 Curve for over a year and after very heavy use I just replaced my trackball for $12.99 plus shipping from BlackBerryTrackballs.com. There are other replacement services, too. It just wouldn't scroll down. I tried cleaning it and I followed all the tips from the forums but, in the end, it was easier (and cheap enough) to replace it.

Still love my Curve but waiting for the Bold.

Mathew Price

I had my Blackberry Curve but a couple (read: two) short months before the trackball and its enclosure (little round silver ring that surrounds it) had to be replaced. The tiny prongs that hold it all together broke (no, I did not drop or abuse it in any way) and the trackball continued to FALL OUT completely. Yeah, more than slightly annoying. Rendered my BB completely useless. After spending about $50 for a local store to replace it, I vowed to never get another BB that uses a trackball. The store repair guy told me that he has never had so much business to replace a single part on a specific device. Yes, there are DEFINITELY design flaws with their trackball. What was so horribly wrong with the scroll wheel that RIM felt the need to replace it with this stupid track ball???

Ha, It's called washing your hands every once and while. And routine cleaning. I guess we have all been spoiled by the laser optical mouse. Does he not remember the constant cleaning of the track balls in our old mice? If there are cracks, there will be dirt there eventually. So what he really needs to complain about is not the phone, but his poor hygienic upkeep. =P IMOP.

the little crome ring around the track ball pops off and then you can clean the track ball and pop it back together. works fine. i had that problem when i am out on the job site my hands are never clean my track ball is actualy brown right now and it works fine.

I've had my Curve 8330 about 4 months, and no prob with the trackball. But I wipe my phone down every couple of days just because I get makeup on it. So I keep it pretty clean. Smooth rolling!

Lets just say I have worked for a major carrier up until recently, the whole dept. had issues with balls stoping and clogging and we were not able to clean them in most cases. I went through 3 8820's in a 6 month period. Again I love RIM and their product but that alone will not stop me from getting something that works!

I agree on: everyone trying to make the phones as cheap as possible and us (users), mainly looking at the list of features... little care about durability and/or quality.

PS. I remember the days of my blackberry flying off my car roof @ ~ 30mph, smashing down, just so I can pick it up and read my email!

Soooo ignorant. Have had my 8820 for 14 months with absolutely unwavering performance. Gary Krakow is a tool, and his IT guy is a liar. New blackberries last 1 month? What end do they hope to achieve with this bulls***?

Hi Guys.
I have the same problem as Gary. I work in a big company, we have about 100 BB 8800/8820, and usually we have to send back to our mobile operator to service 1-2 BB every week because of dirty trackball. What's worse we wait up to 6-7 weeks to get it back.
I understand Gary, I know that is big problem, and I do have no idea why made so weak device.

i dont know wut this guy is talking about, it is soooo easy to open the trackball comppnent and clean it and then put it back in...

....which I'll shoot with my bb while smashing it into a brick wall because of this stupid trackball issue (If the memory card survives).

Same day I bought my new 8130 to try out a bb, which I know is not the cream of the crop for bb's, the trackball was sticking. Cleaned, worked for about 5 minutes, same thing. Did this a couple more times. Decided probably just got unlucky with a p.o.s trackball. Ordered a new one. Replaced. Not even halfway into the day, same issue.

Glad I chose a lower priced model for my trial run at a bb.

All right, so maybe I'll put the original one back in and take it back to where I got it. Since it looks like this guy sold me a refurbished which he said was "...brand new" after I specifically asked him. !@#$%!!

Wow this idiot said you could clean out the old PC mouses by taking the ball out... well u have to take the ring out first, look at your blackberry again that silver ring pops right out with a knife or flat head screwdriver just make sure you open it carefully, and you can clean inside there. Oh shit it even snaps right back together.