When my trackball problems began, over the Holidays, I took my Bold into my local AT&T Wireless retail outlet. God I hate those places... employees must be trained to have that infuriating balance of fake-courtesy, utter uselessness and a sales sleaze factor that rivals that found in auto dealerships (haven't they learned anything about retailing from Apple?). True to form, while acknowledging that they had seen this problem many times, they informed me that my device was days out of warranty and that my options were to have it serviced by paying $60 & shipping it away for a couple weeks (very helpful) or (they encouraged) I should really buy a new device. I told them I was gonna take it up with RIM. So while I was at CES in early January I took the opportunity to visit the booth of the Canadian handset manufacturer and plead my case. RIM employees have obviously been counseled to avoid acknowledgement of the issue entirely... when I showed them that I was unable to use my device to track downwards they feigned curiosity and had no suggestions as to how I might fix the problem. When I asked about the thousands of internet posts about folks resorting to rubbing alcohol to clean their trackballs, all they said was that that would constitute a warranty violation.
The sad thing is that I've been a long time devotee, fan of and evangelist for BlackBerry ever since my company replaced my Palm Vx with a BlackBerry 950 pager 9 years ago. I've successfully encouraged many friends and family members to buy these devices. Even in the face of borderline fanatical iPhone worship amongst peers in the mobile entertainment space... I've stayed loyal to my BlackBerry. But that may be about to change. I really feel that RIM is long overdue in acknowledging this problem and that the right thing to do is to recall and replace all devices with slipping trackballs. I'm holding out hope, especially in light of the recent debacle with a highly respected auto manufacturer, that sense will soon prevail and that the company will take rapid action to keep their customers happy... and just keep their customers. In the very short term, I'm continuing to dose my device at least 3 times a day, while getting crazy proficient navigating around menus without the trackball. But my patience is running very thin, and I'm literally days and one Apple Store visit away from switching to an iPhone.