I don't know the ins and outs of the agreement with BlackBerry, but I've got a simple solution for all of this hostility.
Why don't you open up a beta program?
Think about it, seriously, everyone here wants it and they would get it if there was a beta program. Yes, you would get the ones who **bleep** about something wrong with the beta, but then you could just kick them out of any further betas if they don't follow the reporting procedures or whatever you would do.
Think about how much less stress you would have Sarah? You wouldn't have to be a liason anymore and people WOULD BE HAPPY WITH SPRINT
Maybe this was discussed here, but it's such a magnificent idea it worth another mention.
Kudos and seconded.
Most of the people complaining here would be happy to beta test with the understanding that the software was not complete. They would not complain about the bugs, but would report them, reducing the testing load on your development team. The people who dont want to test would see reports from the ones who did, would know what the status was on the latet build, and would not complain about the lack of communication. Sprint gets free real world testing and releases a better final product with fewer bugs. Everyone wins.
Except Sprint wont do it. Not right now anyway. In a year or two, if they are still around, they will start a beta program and make an announcement that they have listened to their users and this is what they want and it will save sprint money and blah blah blah. They will leave out the fact that this is what users wanted years ago, and they ignored them for that long, and they are finally getting around to implementing one of hundreds of solid suggestions from their users, most of which left in frustration.
Allthough, I would love it if Sprint would prove me wrong on that.
I personally wouldn't mind helping out on a beta program since I have done so many beta's for Sony on the PS2 and PS3, I don't mind them at all.
There would have to be some kind of a program for the hardware though, I can't see us beta testing OS's and getting our phones bricked or not working, then you are getting a bill for services and you couldn't even use your phone.
Also based on the experience of the way that most beta programs are going now with the game market, the beta key or software is just handed out as a prize of some sort, no longer is it an honor to be selected to help shape the future of the market. Couple that with the fact that someone is always bitching or whining about not being able to carry over stats, or keep upgrades earned into the final release, I can see it now the first time someone has to start a new phone book because they had their one on the beta full and now the final OS or whatever had them wipe their device and start fresh.
This seems like a "no lose" proposition for any company feeling pressure from customers to keep a constant flow of upgrades for services and features. As an old hand at QA and/or beta testing, one knows that there are some issues with such releases. Tracking problems and being able to recreate them is one matter...being able to articulate that to the programming team is quite another, but I have seen a number of emails pass through here from people that appear to be more than up to the task.
Considering the CEO of RIM said in a recent interview that the increasing complexity of smartphone software was going to make it tougher to turn out products that work perfectly on first boot by consumers, it seems that beta by actual users would become the norm.
Yes, you will have problems with people who regard non-competes lightly. Leaks will happen, the media will catch wind of some things that RIM or Sprint would rather not have in the wild. But the cycle of rolling updates out the door would speed up, if the process were managed correctly.
With Sprint's continued presence in the marketplace in question (8,000 lay offs and AT&T retail personnel openly telling customers that Sprint "won't be around in 18 months"), it seems that they would want everyone on the inside of the tent p***ing out instead of being on the outside p***ing in!