A BlackBerryCool.com contributor James, recently asked me how the major BlackBerry sites get their hands on pre-release devices. I thought I would give a quick explanation of the many ways it happens.
Leaked from companies
BlackBerry devices that have not yet hit the market, such as the BlackBerry Niagara, are floating around various RIM partner companies. They require these devices in order to build software for them. Sometimes, a company employee may get their hands on this device and leak the information to the blogosphere.
All companies that work with RIM are under an incredibly strict legal agreement to not release any information about the device. When this is broken, there could be harsh penalties and a possible end to the business relationship.
I heard a rumor that RIM once tracked down a leaked device source based on the type of wood grain seen in the leaked picture. The employee was immediately fired and the company had to seriously review its IT department.
Leaked from consumers
When the BlackBerry Storm first appeared on the Internet, the kid who made the video asked for money from the blogosphere. He approached several sites and asked for money in exchange for an exclusive. Although I have heard of sites paying for leaks, these sorts of things are usually distributed for free. The reasons for this are:
- It’s really hard to keep a great secret.
- It’s not obvious what these leaks are worth from a site owner perspective.
- When there is payment there is a paper trail. Again, leaks are illegal.
Marketing ploys and planned leaks
It’s sometimes intended for information to “leak.” Take for example the BlackBerry Storm when it was launching on Verizon. There were a ton of leaks including internal emails explaining the global features of the device. The leaks got to be so many so close to launch day that it was likely that one of Verizon’s PR firms was using the viral factor to spread interest.
Devices will sometimes show up on eBay before launch. This could be because someone may have gotten a device in one of the above manners, and chose to get as much money as possible for it. Take for example, the BlackBerry Bold was being sold on eBay 2 weeks before the launch date. It went for upwards of $1000 by the time it sold. I’m not sure if the buyer ever received a device because the seller’s rating was a 2.
There are other ways that a device can be leaked but that sums up the major ones.
The above information is not approved or verified by RIM. This is just my own personal experience that is based on discussions with various bloggers and companies.