According to analyst Gerard Hallaren of TownHall Investment Research, RIM’s flagship new device, the BlackBerry Tour, is experiencing returns bordering on 50% due to trackball problems. Specifically, Hallaren notes that dirt and gunk tend to get stuck underneath the devices trackball, prompting users to clean the track ball a lot more often than they’d like or are used to.
Also problematic is the fact that some users simply aren’t aware that there’s a “fix” for their trackball woes, and assume that their device is defective. Hence the voluminous number of returns. Verizon is reportedly and understandably “angry about this recurring trackball problem” and is already telling retail stores to start expecting stronger than anticipated support for an upcoming Motorola phone running Android.
The Tour’s trackball problems sound almost identical to the ones plaguing owners of Apple’s mighty mouse, a great device that takes a step backwards due to the tendency of the trackball to randomly stop working in certain directions at a moments notice. Cleaning the trackball on the mighty mouse is possible, but its a pain in the arse, to be sure – and even after multiple cleanings, once the trackball isn’t working at 100%, it’s damn near impossible to keep it from malfunctioning for a sustained period of time.
Alas, we feel for our Tour owning brethren.
Electronista notes that RIM has yet to officially address the track ball issue, but is reportedly “moving its smartphone line away from the trackball and towards optical trackpads on all its non-touch phones”, a change first seen with the release of the BlackBerry Curve 8520.
Related: Does Apple’s Mighty Mouse suck?