Research in Motion customers, who suffered a complete breakdown of their BlackBerry service last week, are being offered a selection of premium apps for free. RIM said the apps are worth more than $100, about a third of what a typical entertainment lawyer makes in a single hour.

The entire situation regarding the outage and the restitution will undoubtedly make for some interesting discussions at RIM’s Blackberry DevCon Americas developer conference, which begins tomorrow in San Francisco. This is the worst ever network failure for RIM, and the third since 2007, which is awkward for a company that prides itself on reliability.

The peace offering apps will begin to become available on Wednesday and will remain free until the end of the year. RIM’s enterprise customers will also be offered one month of free technical support. Those who already pay for this will get a one month extension of their contract, and those without it will get a one-month trial.

The service disruption began Monday, Oct. 10, in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, territories in which RIM was actually still gaining customers. It then rolled over Latin America and Canada, before taking out the United States.

Robin Bienfait, Chief Information Officer, RIM, issued a public apology on Oct. 13, as the outage was beginning to ease but the huge backlog of messages remained undelivered. “I want to first apologize for the service interruptions and delays many of you have been experiencing this week,” he said in the statement. “You’ve depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we’re letting you down. We are taking this very seriously and have people around the world working around the clock to address this situation. We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can.”

“We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience,” RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said in a statement. “We have apologized to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence. We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.”

Interestingly, authorities in Abu Dhabi reported a 40 percent drop in car accidents that they attribute to the outage. Authorities in Dubai similarly noted a 20 percent decline from the average number of accidents. Brig. Gen. Al Harethi told The National (as picked up by BGR), “People are slowly starting to realize the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working.”

The initial apps to be made available are: Sims 3 and Bejeweled from Electronic Arts; Bubble Bash 2, Texas Hold’em Poker 2 and N.O.V.A. from Gameloft; Photo Editor Ultimate from Ice Cold Apps; Pro, iSpeech Translator Pro and Drive Enterprise from; Nobex Radio Premium from Nobex; Shazam Encore from Shazam; and Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant from Vlingo.

Related links:

RIM service update blog –

RIM press release –

The National (UAE) –

A message from RIM Founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis on the BlackBerry Service Outage [Oct. 13, 2011]: