RIM: Software bugs are the 'new reality' of manufacturing

Software glitches are part of the "new reality" of handset manufacturing, said Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Sources also tell the publication that RIM and carrier partner Verizon Wireless rushed the notoriously buggy BlackBerry Storm to market despite known OS issues. The Journal reports that RIM and Verizon Wireless spent more than $100 million marketing the BlackBerry Storm, with sources close to the matter reporting the device sold in excess of 500,000 units in the month following its Nov. 21 retail debut. But Storm owners soon began grumbling about software bugs and sluggish performance, culminating in a blistering review by New York Times tech columnist David Pogue that warned of "freezes, abrupt reboots, nonresponsive controls [and] cosmetic glitches."

While December brought a Storm software update that resolved some user concerns, the Wall Street Journal article contends that RIM and Verizon rushed the device to retail to capitalize on the holiday sales season, knowing its operating system still suffered from serious stability issues. Balsillie admits the companies made their self-imposed Black Friday deadline "by the skin of their teeth" even after missing a planned October debut. Balsillie goes on to chalk up both manufacturing challenges and subsequent software bugs as a byproduct of the smartphone product cycle, especially given the volume of devices necessary for a full-scale retail launch. The Storm proved particularly demanding because it represents RIM's first-ever touchscreen devices, necessitating the addition of new hardware, including an accelerometer.

For more on the Storm's behind-the-scenes drama:
- read this Wall Street Journal article

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