Weekly Contest: Push vs. Pull

Neil has been on an editorial rampage lately, taking shots at how short-lived push technology will be. As BlackBerry enthusiasts, we’re prone to automatically take push as a good thing, mainly since it’s one of the few bragging rights we can keep over other devices. Neil’s biggest reasons for wailing on push is that, while it’s good now, it’s too much upkeep on the server end of things, becoming a bigger and bigger strain on RIM’s infrastructure. The blackouts this year just go to show the downside of all that traffic. As millions more users come to hammer the hardware for their e-mail and device battery life improves, it will become more viable to query mail servers from handsets, rather than the other way around.

Let’s be fair - BIS users without e-mail forwarding are basically getting pull e-mail, so the BlackBerry isn’t a complete stranger to the horrific idea of having to wait 15 minutes to see if you’ve got anything new in your inbox. It’s just that the instantaneous delivery is what makes your typical twitchy-thumbed BlackBerry user, since they know that if they have mail at any given microsecond, it will be there on their handheld. After spending so long with push, it’s hard to raise a hand against it, but Neil brings up some good points, so this week we’re asking: is push technology a viable long-term approach for BlackBerry? I know, it seems ridiculous to ask, since the two are nearly synonymous, but it’s worth weighting the options. The top three comments which explore why BlackBerrys use push, and best explain the reasons they should or shouldn’t will each get a copy of Ascendo DataVault.

Alright, IMBOLC? You get massive brownie points for “faster than a dog chasing a cat chasing a mouse chasing a piece of cheese that’s been shot out of a bazooka”, and if I could give you the prize for that alone, I would. But that just wouldn’t be fair to Bla1ze, who wrote all clear, consice stuff about Rogers getting punched in the teeth this holiday season. So Bla1ze, you win the games from bPlay, but let me tell ya, it was a close call.

Comments [3 Responses]

Dzeims Balts
November 30th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

It makes sense for the BlackBerry devices to continue using push. The battery life issue is going to be the first obvious win for this kind of technology. The bulk of usage for most BlackBerry devices are data service, and constantly polling for email, messages, updated web pages, etc is going to kill a battery quick.
The second obvious follow-up point will be that not everyone will have an unlimited data plan. Push-based notifications to the BlackBerry device of email or other data will save money over polling, especially for BIS users who may not have their accounts/devices provided to them by their employers. With GMail, Yahoo, Go Daddy and others joining with RIM to provide push-level BIS email notification, the otherwise push-lite BIS is making progress.
One of the more interesting points looking at the current tech space is that what BlackBerry devices can take for granted with push, the Web 2.0 crowd can only wish for in limited capacity. “Comet”, essentially push for the AJAX browser level, is often judged as the solution to the needs and requirements for increasingly interactive Web 2.0 / AJAX web applications. The only thing holding the Comet group back so far has been install-base adoption. Here the BlackBerry infrastructure wins by virtue of having this from the beginning.
Finally, for all of those who consider BIS to be totally “push-less” or “push-lite” in capability, it was announced at the recent BlackBerry Virtual Tech Seminar that the free BlackBerry Unite would allow for push-based communication between it and its connected BlackBerry devices.

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