'CrackBerry' addicts go cold turkey after crash

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The Independent US

They call it the "CrackBerry" because it is highly addictive and dependency can render the user distracted and dysfunctional in social situations.

So when BlackBerry's central servers in North America crashed, leaving the devices unable to send or receive messages, many of its eight million worldwide users were plunged into a collective cold turkey. The result was pandemonium, with callers swamping BlackBerry helplines and addicts seeking each other for support in internet chatrooms.

Reports first started emerging of problems with the service on Tuesday night, with complaints that messages were bouncing back undelivered. Reports from as far apart as Hong Kong and London suggested the problem was widespread.

BlackBerries allow customers to access their work and personal email accounts on a mobile phone-style device. Dire warnings went out that if the problem had not been fixed in short order, global business might grind to a halt.

The company said yesterday that it had restored the service within 12 hours of the initial reports, but that a backlog of messages would take several more hours to clear.