A week after embarking upon the mission of discovering the max number of contacts BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 can handle, I'm calling it quits on the experiment. It started off fun, grew a little difficult as my BlackBerry Bold began to bog down, and eventually the device just couldn't take it anymore and begged for mercy. The video above serves as evidence of this nutty/stupid/insane and I think somewhat historic event. Warning: It's a long video - I have over 90 minutes of recorded footage, but chopped it down to 15 minutes (cut out the cursing that occurred towards the end and made sure there were no clips where people's pins are shown). If you can make it to the end you're truly a BlackBerry addict. :)
So what what's the verdict? I still don't know the exact number! The total number of BlackBerry Messenger requests to come in was well over 10,000. I managed to get all the way up 2050 approved contacts, but started receiving the Max Number of Contacts Reached message long before that. But I found by closing chats, deleting some of the requests and leaving all joined BBM groups that even though I would get the max number message, BlackBerry Messenger would still squeeze in a few more. At the end of the day, I'm not sure that RIM set an actual max number of approved contacts, but rather set a loose limit based on database size or total number of "things' going on in messenger at one time.
As you can see in the video, the test started out smoothly enough. The constant stream of incoming requests definitely consumed the device (the data arrows/flows never stopped twitching) but the device was still useable - I could navigate around and open and close apps without much lag. However, the battery life was horrendous. An average of ~1,000 requests per hour were coming in while the barcode was stickied at the top of the blogs and at that rate a fully-charged battery wasn't even lasting two hours. In fact, even though I had the device plugged into a wall charger when we started the experiment, the battery drain exceeded the charge rate as the first three thousand requests came in and the radio shut off. I wouldn't think BBM requests would be that data intensive, but apparently the Bold was working hard (the device was darn hot all day).
Once I began to approve contacts, and especially once I had a lot of open chat sessions open, that's when the device became extremely difficult to use. Constant hourglassing, Exception pop-ups, you name it. When I started the experiment my free application memory was over 30MB, but as I neared 1000 approved contacts (and 8000+ requests, 400+ chats), even after a battery pull my free application memory was down to 6MB which quickly turned to 2MB after using the device for a few minutes. Killing the data connection allowed me to stop the hourglassing, which gave me a chance to remove all third party apps and clear out my inbox and free up as much memory as I could. Turning the data back on, the additional free memory boosted the device performance a bit, but as I neared the 2000 approved contacts mark I ran into the same issues before.
I tested out the broadcast message function to 2050 contacts. It appeared to work, though I did receive a few tweets from individuals I had approved who said they didn't receive it. One thing is for sure though, my Bold hasn't been the same since sending that message. Even with data turned off, the device constantly is popping up the evil hour glass and freezing up. I really wanted to try to wireless back-up 2050 contacts, but after literally a dozen battery pulls and attempts later I just gave up - the device simply became unusable (couldn't click, couldn't really scroll, lag, lag, lag, etc.). I think from here I'm basically going to be forced to do a clean install of the OS.
I think part of the issue was the test device of choice - the BlackBerry Bold only has 128MB of flash memory as opposed to the 256MB in newer device models. I'm almost tempted to try the experiment again on a Tour or Storm2. If you think that's a good idea, you can let me know in the comments and maybe we'll make that happen one day sooner than later. What a test!
In closing down this experiment, I just want to say THANK YOU to everybody who added me as a contact to take part in the experiment. It's always awesome to see how enthusiast a community we have here at CrackBerry.com. It truly is special. As for who got approved/didn't get approved, please don't take any offense if you didn't - my hope was for everyone to get approved. Looking back on it, I think most of the contacts who got approved either had a symbol in front of their name, or, their names started near the beginning of the alphabet. Because I didn't approved contacts immediately as they came in, but rather went to BBM and approved them out of the requests drop down, BBM orders them alphabetically (not in order of being sent). I was simply hitting enter, enter, enter as fast as I could, and did some from the top and hit spacebar to get to the bottom and do some from there (with sooo many requests scrolling through the list was impossible). It took me a while to notice that it was namely A names and * names being approved - once I noticed I mixed it up by approving out of the inbox but by that time was nearing max capacity. if we try this again, I'll try to be quicker on the ball and approve requests as they arrive in sequence.
That's it for now... BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 Stress Test Complete!!