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Are buggy smartphones acceptable at launch?

RIM's BlackBerry Storm may have sold some 500,000 units in the first month following its global release, according to the Wall Street Journal, but in light of the 2.4 million Apple iPhone units sold at launch, perhaps the "clunky software" that crippled user experience and performance at launch may be to blame for consumers' (and reviewers') waning enthusiasm.
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Written by Andrew Nusca on

RIM's BlackBerry Storm may have sold some 500,000 units in the first month following its global release, according to the Wall Street Journal, but in light of the 2.4 million Apple iPhone units sold at launch, perhaps the "clunky software" that crippled user experience and performance at launch may be to blame for consumers' (and reviewers') waning enthusiasm.

RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the post-launch scramble to fix bugs and shape up the ship is part of the "new reality" of making smartphones in large volumes.

From a consumer's point of view in a "beta" world, is that really acceptable?

A Verizon spokesman is quoted in the article saying that return percentages are measurable in single digits -- standard for a smartphone -- and that "the sales and performance of the device have lived up to our expectations."

But what if those expectations are too low?

In the article, it's indicated that "some Storm owners have complained about everything from clunky software for typing on the touch screen to the device's sluggish performance with basic tasks like dialing-by-voice or taking photographs," and one longtime Verizon customer indicates his desire to "throw it in the ocean due to my frustration with its overall usability."

Of course, it hasn't helped that New York Times tech reporter David Pogue has called the Storm "by far the worst product RIM has ever produced," either.

What do you think: Are bugs like those in the Storm acceptable during launch?

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