Research in Motion is still investigating why BlackBerry users throughout North America couldn't access their e-mail this morning.
The company says the BlackBerry outage is over, Reuters reports, but that some users' e-mail will still be delayed as servers send out all the queued correspondences. On Crackberry.com, some users have reportedly received e-mails immediately by pulling the battery on their phones, but that hasn't worked for everyone and it's not clear whether that workaround is just coincidental with the service coming back online.
Bloomberg reports that the outage affected BlackBerry phones on all four U.S. wireless carriers. Canada's largest carrier, Rogers, also confirmed the interruption. The outage only affected e-mail, as Internet and text messaging didn't suffer.
RIM uses an Internet-based service to push e-mails to the handheld without going through an enterprise server. This appears to be the root of the problem, as corporate users didn't experience the same delays as consumers.
Why did this happen? RIM has yet to explain the issue, but previous outages may reveal clues. In 2007, RIM blamed one lengthy service interruption on a new software routine. This routine was supposed to optimize system cache memory, but instead caused an e-mail outage that lasted at least 12 hours. RIM said its back-up system proved to be inadequate as well.
Last year, another e-mail outage lasted for a few hours. RIM said it ran into problems while upgrading the capacity of its infrastructure in order to satisfy demand. Previous upgrades had gone off without incident, but perhaps this is just another case of growing pains for the smartphone maker as it tries to accommodate more consumers.