It would be technically impossible for all Android phones or iPhones to experience a global four-day outage like the one BlackBerry recently.
The answer is in the technical details of how Research in Motion — the company that makes BlackBerry smartphones, with their click-clacking keyboards and tie-wearing owners — handles e-mails and text messages.
Here’s the gist: RIM acts as a middleman for all e-mail and BlackBerry text messages. It picks up messages from the wireless carrier and passes them on to the recipient.
Androids and iPhones don’t have a middleman for texts and e-mail.
It’s this BlackBerry baton-passing system that went down, killing or slowing e-mail and texting services for millions of people in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The ordeal lasted four days.
It’s because of the way RIM has set up the (network) architecture that is the downfall when it comes to these types of outages. When it’s working fine, it’s a great system. When it’s not working fine, it’s a failure.
This is not to say that Androids and iPhones never experience network outages.
But they wouldn’t be global. And they would be the responsibility of a particular wireless carrier – Airtel, Reliance, AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile — or a particular messaging system, like Gmail, Hotmail or iMessage, Apple’s new in-house messaging service. Not the maker of the phone.
That makes their problems inherently more localized.
RIM filters e-mails and BlackBerry messages through its own server farms — giant warehouses full of computers — for security reasons. The company scrambles messages, making them more difficult to intercept. That’s won BlackBerry big fans in the business world. The system also uses less battery power because RIM handles much of the computation work.
The process for checking your e-mail with a BlackBerry is done by the RIM servers. So RIM is going to handle all the heavy lifting of going to your inbox and looking for new e-mail, and if it finds new e-mail, it’s going to push it back your devices.
It also creates the risk of a global crash.