Blackberry maker dodged another bullet on February 24 when a Virginia judge held off on an injunction that could have left millions of United States users of the Canadian-made handheld computer without service. NTP alleges that RIM’s BlackBerry wireless e-mail service infringes upon its patents.
Rim dodged a bullet last year when a painful musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), seen in people who over use any of the other handheld devices with a miniature keyboard designed for thumb tapping, was named “Blackberry Thumb.” Experienced users scroll through e-mails at high speed with their thumbs, an awkward motion. The consensus of several experts quoted in a recent Associated Press article is that the thumb is not sufficiently dexterous for rigorous work.
Experts say in the AP article that small modifications in the way the device is used can avert MSDs, but the term, “Blackberry Thumb,” is still in common use and the device is linked with pain.
NTP’s suit against RIM was successful, but negotiations are under way about a possible settlement and continued Blackberry service is not assured. Customers don’t like uncertainties. According to The Age and several other news outlets, analysts are predicting RIM’s troubles won’t be over even if it is allowed to keep the service running. Users are unnerved enough to be looking at alternatives, they say, and may not wait for the judge’s final decision before switching to a device that promises less worries about interruption of service