Although BlackBerry is well-known for immediate e-mail delivery, that speed comes at a cost; as any user will tell you, bigger messages are truncated, and images will generally just show placeholders until manually prompted to load more. Even then, e-mails can hit a maximum size pretty quickly, requiring a desktop computer to see the whole thing. RIM’s under a lot of pressure to improve their user experience, and for people that live and die by e-mail, truncated e-mails are a big deal. Right now, a BlackBerry only loads up to 60 KB of data in an individual e-mail, but the next version of the BlackBerry Internet Service will bump that limit up to 300 KB, and the maximum size of e-mails (attachments and all) will be increased to 11 MB. BIS 4.1 will also download more data each time the service is pinged, so you won’t have to keep asking for more. One slide from the RIM-leaked deck suggests this feature will only be available on OS 7 devices which have yet to drop. There are a few other features in BIS 4.1 that will be available on all devices, like automatically populating the device’s inbox with the latest 20 messages after set-up (rather than starting off empty). Now swapping SIM cards won’t stop your e-mail service, but doing a remote security wipe will. Finally, there are a few changes from the administrator side, including internal monitoring tools, and some web UI changes.
All e-mails sent on a BlackBerry get pumped through RIM’s servers in Waterloo for compression, and though it seems roundabout and results in weird limits like these truncated e-mails, it does mean carriers can dish out data for three BlackBerry smartphones for every device running Android, iOS, or another smartphone platform. Considering the volume RIM deals with, I’m a little worried that allowing more data to go through will clog up RIM’s pipes a bit, but no doubt they’ll be expanding their capacity and improving efficiencies to prepare.
So when are BlackBerry users getting all this new BIS stuff? The Asia Pacific rollout is scheduled for September 10, Europe for the 23rd., and North America for October 8.