Home > Contemplations > Dear RIM: Enough With These Tiny Email Attachment Size Limitations!

Dear RIM: Enough With These Tiny Email Attachment Size Limitations!


Me with the @BlackBerryScene Team @ Yonge & St Clair Toronto after I won my 9800 Torch (that's what the card in my right hand is).

As my regular readers know, I use a BlackBerry Torch 9800 and I love it quite a bit. Heck, I’m using my Torch to write this post right now. I am a BBM addict and love the keyboard. But there are certain things about BlackBerry devices which are really, really starting to grind my gears. One of these is the email attachment size limitation both incoming and outgoing. The email size limitation on any BlackBerry running BlackBerry 6 Operating System (OS) or earlier – this means any BlackBerry which came out before the recently launched BlackBerry OS 7 devices – has a limit of 3 megabytes (MB) for the size of attachments that can be received and sent from a BlackBerry device. Even if your device is running the brand new OS 7 it only ups the limits to 11 MB.

As well, message content gets truncated (cut off) at 60 KB (kilobytes) with the older OSes. With OS 7 you are allowed 300 KB before it gets truncated. At first glance 60 KB sounds like it should be more than enough. After all, as each character is only 1 bit and there are 8 bits in a byte, 60 KB means you have (roughly) 60,000 bytes * 8 bits/byte = 480,000 characters. That works until you realize people send HTML based emails which take up A LOT more space.

These sizes are WAY too small for the second decade of the 21st Century and what this all means is that the devices which have come out in the past year and are still being released today almost may as well be one of these:

BlackBerry devices are supposed to be business devices with strong messaging capabilities. Never mind any of the other aspects many have come to expect from their phones such as apps and gaming, these devices simply aren’t cutting it in the department in which they are supposed to be strongest.

I understand that your main thrust right now is BlackBerry OS 7 but I hope you understand that most of your users are still on older devices. That would be fine as well if we could update to OS 7 but we can’t. Even with my Torch which runs BlackBerry 6 and is only a year old can’t update to BlackBerry 7. Again, this would still be fine if you would update BlackBerry 6 to allow for more size with attachments but everything I have heard from you in the news and speaking to your developers indicates to me that you don’t intend to do that. Come on RIM! You got to support your legacy users! We are your backbone and the majority of your user base.

What say you?

  1. anonymous
    October 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    You are wrong, “each character is only 1 bit”, a character is made by 8 bits that is equivalent to 1 byte, there are other character encoding like UTF-7 that uses 7 bits and UTF-16 that uses 16 bits, but the most used format is UTF-8 that uses 8 bits

    • October 20, 2012 at 1:46 am

      Thanks for pointing that out anonymous. However, it doesn’t really change anything except make my musing about this being an issue all the stronger because you end up with less words even if the email is not HTML. I will, however, edit the post to reflect this change. Again, thanks for the heads up.

  1. October 1, 2011 at 4:15 am

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