Wednesday, November 01, 2006
When the BlackBerry debuted in 1999, carrying one was a hallmark of powerful executives and savvy technophiles. People who purchased one either needed or wanted constant access to e-mail, a calendar and a phone. The BlackBerry's manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM), reported only 25,000 subscribers in that first year. But since then, its popularity has skyrocketed.
Image courtesy RIM
In this article, we'll examine the "push" technology at the center of the device's popularity, RIM's former dispute with patent holder NTP Incorporated and its current dispute with Visto Corporation. We'll also explore BlackBerry hardware and software.
A BlackBerry, on the other hand, does everything a PDA can do, and it syncs itself continually through push technology. BlackBerry Enterprise Server or Desktop Redirector software "pushes," or redirects, new e-mail, calendar updates, documents and other data straight to the user over the Internet and the cell phone network.
First, the software senses that a new message has arrived or the data has changed. Then, it compresses, packages and redirects the information to the handheld unit. The server uses hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and transmission control protocol (TCP) to communicate with the handhelds. It also encrypts the data with triple data encryption standard (DES) or advanced encryption standard (AES).
Image courtesy RIM
A person can send and receive messages and phone calls on a BlackBerry from virtually any location.
Once all of the parameters have been set, the software waits for updated content. When a new message or other data arrives, the software formats the information for transmission to and display on the BlackBerry. It packages e-mail messages into a kind of electronic envelope so the user can decide whether to open or retrieve the rest of the message.
70 percent of BlackBerry subscribers live in the United States.
Source: Washington Post
The BlackBerry listens for new information and notifies the user when it arrives by vibrating, changing an icon on the screen or turning on a light. The BlackBerry does not poll the server to look for updates. It simply waits for the update to arrive and notifies the user when it does. With e-mail, a copy of each message also goes to the user's inbox on the computer, but the e-mail client can mark the message as read once the user reads it on the BlackBerry.
People describe BlackBerry use as an addiction, and this is why. Not only do they give people constant access to their phones, they also provide continual updates to e-mail, calendars and other tools.
Lately, RIM had been dealing with issues of patent infringement. We'll look at that next.