Free memory: The Achilles heel of BlackBerry App World

Hip hip huzzah! BlackBerry App World has been with us for over three weeks and no doubt a lot of the World’s 25 million BlackBerry users have jumped on the wagon and taken it for a spin or two around the block. But after playing with it for a while, we’re quite sure that there are plenty of people whose puppy-love infatuation quickly turned to irritation. Why? Errors, bugs and high costs aside, it’s likely that App World users discovered the reality that BlackBerrys have a bit of an issue when it comes to dedicated application memory. This, coupled with the infamous memory leaks that sadly seem to be oh so prevalent on every BlackBerry model since the Pearl 8100, make for a device that isn’t anywhere near capable of handing as many apps as competing smartphones. Put simply, the more contacts, phone logs, saved messages and of course installed applications a user has on his or her BlackBerry, the less free memory the device has to dedicate to new apps.

It really doesn’t take much of effort at all to eat away at the 128MB of app memory on both the Bold or the Storm. In fact, we took a peek at one of the Bold’s at BGR HQ that was running OS 4.6.0.247 and found that it had a paltry 4MB of application memory left. After a battery pull it jumped up to 20MB but then quickly started its descent. The saddest thing is that this Bold only had a Twitter app (more on this some other day), Google Maps, Viigo and a few IM clients installed.

So what can be done about this? Well, for starters, RIM could not only bring its devices into the modern age by giving them 512+ MB of application memory, but it could also do something that we’ve been clamoring for for the longest time and allow users to install applications to their memory cards. And no, we don’t buy it for a second when RIM says it can’t do this securely (surely they can encrypt a microSD card).  Other than that, RIM could put some serious work into its aging OS because for the life of us we cannot think of any other platform that has so many updates to fix major bugs and niggles (it seems like for each new device there is a new update, be it a leaked private beta or an official update from a partner carrier, each and every week like clockwork).

Truth be told, we think RIM can be pretty ass-backwards at times, especially considering that it spends a meagre 7-8% on R&D while its competitors spend the 11% industry standard, but it does make a damn fine product nonetheless, one that we couldn’t live without. All in all, it’s just such a shame to think that it can’t do apps right.

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