AT&T crippling BlackBerry to appease Apple?

ATT Crippling BB 8820

AT&T's upcoming version of the BlackBerry 8820 smartphone will be deliberately stripped of its full GPS features for the sake of promoting the iPhone, according to a report from an insider within the cellphone carrier. Although Research in Motion's handset would technically be capable of supporting any compatible GPS software, AT&T has reportedly forced the cellphone maker to limit its mapping on AT&T to the subscription TeleNav service in an attempt to make the iPhone's Google Maps feature and the device as a whole more appealing to customers. The carrier allegedly threatened to drop BlackBerries entirely from its network when RIM protested the limitation, according to the source.

The purported insider would not pinpoint whether the feature block was an attempt by Apple to downplay the features of iPhone competitors or an AT&T maneuver to strengthen its multi-year agreement with Apple. However, the move would be unusual for the carrier as it typically encourages the adoption of BlackBerry phones for business customers and only sees a small amount of income from TeleNav's service, which is available at $6 per month for GPS use during ten trips and $10 for unlimited trips. The 8820 includes no camera and is generally considered at odds with Apple's phone, which focuses largely on media playback and other personal uses.

AT&T is set to launch the BlackBerry 8820 during September and will also be challenged by a version soon afterwards from its immediate rival T-Mobile, which is said to be shipping RIM's device without the same GPS limitation. Pricing is unknown but should be comparable to the current 8800, which sells for $300 with a two-year contract versus the $500 of Apple's 4GB iPhone.

TOTAL_COMMENTS Comments
  1. sailin74 08/16, 03:22pm

    Perhaps Cingular should let people tether to the network from a laptop via iPhone, that would get me in.

  1. simdude 08/16, 03:22pm

    Does anyone do real research and report actual news anymore? Like most news stories, this is full of rumor and guessing.

    "The carrier allegedly threatened to drop BlackBerries entirely from its network when RIM protested the limitation, according to the source. The purported insider would not pinpoint ...."

    What source? The purported insider?

    I have to wonder if there are any real reporters left in the world anymore. I suspect everyone just sits at their computers writing up stories based on the emails they receive.

    There was something better about the world when I got my news once a day from a newspaper or the one news broadcast at night. Or my computer news from the weekly Macweek. Anyone remember that? The printed version that is.

    Ok, sorry for the off-topic rant.

  1. phillymjs 08/16, 03:50pm

    I like the idea of 'secure' USB keys, but the software for them always sucks and/or is Windows-only. This is a cool solution.

  1. mytdave 08/16, 05:24pm

    This is pure speculation. There seems to be no evidence to back up any of these claims...

    If by some chance there is any truth here at all, I would be disappointed in ATT and/or Apple. The iPhone should be able to sell on it's own merit, and does not need to be propped up by crippling the competition.

    That's the kind of BS that MS would do. So ATT, Apple, if you get any ideas of pulling a bonehead stunt like that, let it be known that it's underhanded, wrong, inappropriate, and I disapprove. And when I disapprove, I disapprove with my wallet.

  1. Herod 08/16, 05:36pm

    to look like Faux News over here.

  1. Cleverboy 08/16, 05:39pm

    Guys, turn this on its head and you get a completely different take on the SAME raw data. Why on GOD'S GREEN EARTH doesn't iPhone have a GPS? No reason, except that AT&T wanted Apple to not put one in, if they weren't going to use any AT&T services. Apple went out of its way to block the iPhone from supporting for any AT&T specific services (a move towards making sure the product operated similarly across providers). If AT&T allowed Blackberry to have GPS and iPhone could NOT, then if I was Apple, I'd also complain as well. In order to skirt the complaint, AT&T just opts to force Blackberry into the same bucket. Simple way to quiet Apple down. If you want to read that as APPLE limiting the Blackberry, go ahead, but I think its a bad read. If Apple chose to NOT have a GPS for its own reasons, it'd be silly to somehow try to get AT&T to limit support for its existing brands. This smells like its ALL about AT&T's agenda, not Apple.

  1. Guest 08/16, 07:20pm

    This BETTER NOT affect the upcoming AT&T Tilt (HTC Kaiser) release! Damn you iPhone!!! pAg

  1. gitcypher 08/16, 08:07pm

    With Samsung's integral stance in the flash memory market, I'm surprised they don't have a 16 or 32GB flash memory model. That little device is beautiful, and I hope it doesn't get crippled by memory limitations just to make it .26" thin.

  1. Neil Anderson 08/16, 09:26pm

    I never get lost anyway. ;)

  1. schwie 08/16, 10:37pm

    sailin74,

    You can tether with an iPhone:

    http://www.schwie.com/brad/?p=40

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