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Mike Lazaridis Once Again Calls For Bandwidth Conservation

california-waterhog Mike Lazaridis got on the pulpit again at MWC touting how programmers and carriers need to worry about bandwidth conservation. Personally I think it is a lofty and ideal goal but its a ridiculous concept to try forcing on consumers who don’t want to hear it. RIM does not implement many features on their devices in the name of bandwidth conservation. This is the reason that until this day your BlackBerry only gets the header of a email and you need to request the rest of it.

I realize that wireless carriers are buckling under the strain of wireless usage but the overall solution is not bandwidth conservation but rather providing more bandwidth. Conserving bandwidth is moving backwards instead of forwards. For example, this would be like Google arguing for data caps on home broadband connections instead of pushing for upgrades to new technology like FIOS.

I just want to ask Mike Lazaridis one question. What is the point of the fat pipes found in 3G HSDPA and 4G LTE if you are conserving bandwidth???

What do you think?

9 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Actually, I think the BB is very data efficient. It’s seasy to run email in plain txt only mode, and the data is compressed over the air as I recall. In this mode (and not using data hungry apps laike maps), I can roam internationally with much lower costs than my colleages without BB experience.

  2. “This is the reason that until this day your BlackBerry only gets the header of a email and you need to request the rest of it.”
    WHAT? That’s clearly NOT true. Yes, BlackBerry will download very large emails in chunks, but for quite some time “auto more” has been available and not a single email acorss two devices and a dozen email accounts EVER makes me “request the rest of it”.

    Sorry Ronen, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. I think app and OS developers need to go out of their way in the name of efficiency, both in beandwidth conservation AND memory consumption. Lack of attention to such things leads to bloated apps and bandwidth consumption that is FAR higher than it needs to be. Living in New York City with all your complaints about AT&T 3G service and how that has impacted your Bold et al, you of all people I would think would be one of the first to cheer for conservation of bandwidth.

    Did the REAL Ronen Halevy write this article? This doesn’t sound AT ALL like the Ronen I’ve come to know over the past couple years…

    • I am ronen’s clone :) btw memory management is a whole other issue.
      Honestly David I compare the bandwidth and data optimization with the CPU market and Windows. It would be like intel telling developers to optimize their apps instead of providing faster processors.

      Personally I think more and more people will be treating their mobile connection like a hardline connection. You don’t see HP telling YouTube to optimize the data efficiency of their applications. Also when you stick a laptop with a 3G card the network needs to be able to handle it.

      In short the natural order is to provide faster speeds if your customers demand it. Not telling them they need to learn how to live with slower speeds…

      • Well I don’t read Mike’s comments as asking for SLOWER connections, just CONSUMPTION OPTIMIZED connections. There is a HUGE difference between how fast is a network and how much data throughput you can get from it.

        And it IS comparable to what Intel is doing with CPU’s, but you’re misinterpreting! :) When was the last time you saw Intel produce a FASTER CPU? We’ve been hovering around the 3GHz mark for YEARS now. Yet Intel has gone about making the CPU more efficient and the chipsets surrounding it more efficient and on and on. And this is what Mike is saying. Make things more efficient, make apps able to get things done by consuming less bytes, and the overall experience can actually benefit from faster speed.

  3. I dissagree with your comment, Ronen. It’s not like Intel telling their developers to optomise apps. RIM have no interest per-se in conserving bandwidth as they don’t make their revenue from that – the operators do.

    But I would guess RIMs agenda is selling more BB’s as it’s a platform that does so well using little bandwidth. The more market focus RIM can focus on this feature with developers, the more it will help consumers. Helps promote a story like “With RIM you need to transfer less data so you pay less charges and get what you want quicker”

    • Hi Wibblyw. My question is that if RIM has no interest in conserving bandwidth then why do they keep on tooting their own horn about it? I totally agree that RIM has done a great job in conserving bandwidth in the past when networks were super slow. But now we finally get 3G BlackBerrys and RIM still wants us to act like we have GPRS devices.

      The other thing is that most users especially in the US dont care about bandwidth usage yet because it is all unlimited. Maybe once carriers start going down the metered broadband path things will change but for now AT&T iPhone users are paying $30/month for unlimited data while I am paying $45/month for a BlackBerry BES plan that uses LESS data!

      What really drives me batty about RIM is that they always sacrifice usability to bandwidth optimization. It annoys the hell out of me when I am in the subway and my BlackBerry does not have the whole email message even with Auto-More since I have no reception down there. Would the extra 10-50KB of the email really have killed RIM? Or at least offer us an option to download the whole email message by default? No because bandwidth constraints must trump all. Just imagine if the new HP laptop you bought forced you to only get email headers and you could not get it to download the whole message automatically…

      I am not saying that bandwidth optimization is not an ideal but it is NOT RIM’s main priority. For example, do you truly care that RIM’s upcoming webkit browser will use 3x less data than Apple’s iPhone browser or would you just want RIM to release it already and optimize it later?

  4. Hi

    I think they DO have an interest in promoting the low bandwith story for the reasons I mentioned.

    We have unlimited plans in the UK too. But not when roaming! 😉 Maybe I’m not mainstream, because I do enough of that for it to matter. And less data means getting what you want faster too, even on 3G. For email, there’s no real benefit of 3G in my opinion. For streaming, mapping, etc., there is.

    I agree there you be an ‘auto-more’ *option* that gets the WHOLE message up front, graphics and all – when you want it.

    I guess my point is that for whatever reason RIM has a good low data usage story, so I’m unsurprised they try promote that as a differentiator. And to dissagree with your premise that bandwidth conservation is a “ridiculous concept” and “RIM does not implement many features on their devices in the name of bandwidth conservation”. I believe neither are true.

    • @Wibblyw

      Yes roaming is definitely an issue but if RIM really cared about that they would give you a bandwidth usage monitor so you could see how much bandwidth you have used. RIM actually did the exactly opposite by changing one of their API’s that broke the functionality of MiniMoni which used to be able to track your bandwidth usage.

      There is actually a huge benefit in terms of 3G beyond just the speed. The latency of 3G is about 50-200ms which is a huge difference compared to EDGE which is about 300-600ms. That means you will have to wait about 3+ times longer for a connection to be established on EDGE compared to 3G. That is why the Auto-More feature is annoying and other applications where RIM will not prefetch the data for you.

      RIM has a great low data usage story but there is a reason only RIM talks about it. Consumers really don’t want to hear it. Here are a few examples…

      What would you rather a phone that can stream x264 YouTube videos that you can actually see or one that can only stream 3gpp unwatchable YouTube videos to conserve bandwidth.

      Would you rather service that could sync your read/unread status of your email or one that conserves bandwidth by not performing the sync using IMAP?

      Would you rather a browser that was capable of showing you the full website or one that would optimize the hell out of it and live with the limitations of that optimization?

      Would you prefer a full facebook or myspace client on your BlackBerry or one that is based on Email and does not prefetch any data to conserve bandwidth.

  5. Pft, they constantly pimp push technology, the push API, web signals, cloud apps, and have limited API’s since the want the OS locked down so some things have to be done as off-device processes and now they want to complain about bandwidth usage?

    Developers are making apps that clients want. Clients want media rich content. Should developers try to make sure that their apps aren’t wasting resources? You bet.

    But RIM can do a lot towards making that easier for developers. I’ve programmed in more than 8 different programming languages from 1983 to now and the BlackBerry API documentation is by far the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s not uncommon for me to take some of their sample code, plug it in to a program and have it fail utterly and miserably due to some little trick, caveat, or missing line of code that they failed to mention in the same place as the sample code. At times I’ve had to debug programs after each line of code I added, and I’ve also accidentally happened across best practices that were tucked away – they weren’t mentioned in the same document as the sample code or API documentation, yet contained important information relating to proper resource usage (in at least one of these cases the program would still work without the added code, but it would be wasting resources needlessly).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if many developers weren’t even aware they weren’t doing things properly, they may simply have used some official sample code without knowing all the accompanying pitfalls of using it.

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