RIM announces free apps for disgruntled BlackBerry users

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has started the process of winning back customers that were left unhappy following last week’s massive worldwide service outage – by offering free ‘premium apps’.

Despite millions of users across the world being without services from Monday to Thursday last week RIM has yet to talk about compensation. Its co-CEOs dodged the question during a conference call with journalists to discuss the service outage.

RIM has however decided to offer "premium apps worth a total value of more than $100" free of charge to its users, "as an expression of appreciation for their patience during the recent service disruptions," the company said in a statement.

As of Wednesday this week the following apps will be available free of charge on RIM’s BlackBerry App World:

  • SIMS 3 – Electronic Arts
  • Bejeweled – Electronic Arts
  • N.O.V.A. – Gameloft
  • Texas Hold’em Poker 2 – Gameloft
  • Bubble Bash 2 – Gameloft
  • Photo Editor Ultimate – Ice Cold Apps
  • DriveSafe.ly Pro – iSpeech.org
  • iSpeech Translator Pro – iSpeech.org
  • Drive Safe.ly Enterprise – iSpeech.org
  • Nobex Radio Premium – Nobex
  • Shazam Encore – Shazam
  • Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant – Vlingo

The company has promised more to come. The promotion will run until December 31.

The first thing that jumps out about the list is that there isn’t a huge amount there to satisfy an enterprise user. Beyond the games on offer there are a couple that could be useful for a business traveller, particularly the speech translation apps such as Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant – maybe RIM is worried about the impact of the introduction of Siri on the new iPhone 4S?

RIM clearly agrees and has added a few extras for enterprise customers; they will receive one month of free Technical Support. Current customers will be offered one month extension of their existing Technical Support contract while customers not signed up to a Technical Support contract can get a one-month trial.

Will this be enough to keep BlackBerry users happy? Not if our survey is anything to go by.

CBR last week revealed that nearly 20% of BlackBerry users were already in the process of moving to another platform before the service disruption, while a further 34% think they or their company should now move away from BlackBerry as a result of the outage.

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