Seinfeld Red Menace

A while back we posted an article on Word Substitution, one of those "BlackBerry only" features (for now).  Today I'm going to tackle another BlackBerry only feature - the LED light. Most will call this an awesome feature while others I know think of it as a curse and the cause for sleepless nights.  For me personally it is both blessing and curse.  Before I get into that, for our friends reading this article who are not fortunate enough to have a BlackBerry and are not aware of this great feature let me give you a quick overview.

In the top right corner of all BlackBerry smartphones is an LED light.  Out-of-the-box it flashes Green - to indicate network coverage; Blue - for when connected to a Bluetooth device; Red - when you have an unacknowledged message.  Most BlackBerry users I know immediately go into the options to turn the silly coverage indicator (green) light off - seriously is there anything less useful than that?  The Bluetooth one is useful on rare occasions.

The red light is the useful one because the BlackBerry made it's bones as a messaging platform and knowing you have a new message is important.  Other smartphones have a popup or a notification bar that you've go a message, but the challenge to those smartphone owners is if they are out of the room when the message arrives they won't hear the audible alert to let them know they have a message.  Until they walk over to the device and wake up the screen they just won't know that a message arrived.

So awesome is this little light that an entire industry of third party developers has created innovative and interesting applications to harness this light and allow for multicolored notifications.  One of the favorites of my on the CrackBerry team is BerryBuzz, it was the runner-up in the Utility App category in the 2010 CrackBerry App Awards. I use it to distinguish my emails from personal vs work, when I walk back into the room work emails flash a different color from personal so at a glance I know what emails have come in.

All good right?  Why is the LED also a curse?  At night when the BlackBerry is at my bedside snug in its cradle the red menace is just waiting for me to turn over and open my eyes at 2:30am.  Calling me like a homing beacon calmly flashing letting me know that I've got mail.  Now I know there is a very good chance it's Bla1ze with his insomnia messaging me but I MUST check my mail!  You just never know it could be really important.

Wether the message was some junk email from Future Shop telling me of the upcoming sale on TVs or Bla1ze letting me know there is an OS leak it will be at least 1/2 an hour before I can get back to sleep.  Another night not sleeping all the way through courtesy of the BlackBerry LED light.

Now I 'could' edit the device profile and create a "night mode" with no LED notification, but I'm a masochist and I just need to know that I've got mail. What if, I mean what if...someday that 2am email is actually important?

What do YOU think? Is the LED light what draws you to your BlackBerry? Or could you get by without it? Sound off in the comments!

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