EXCLUSIVE: AT&T neuters the BlackBerry 8820 in favor of the iPhone

173 Comments

AT&T neuters the BlackBerry 8820Wow. I must say, this is probably the biggest piece of news we’ve ever broken here at BlackBerry Cool — and possibly the one that’s made us the angriest. We’ve just received word from one of our friends inside AT&T that the US carrier has been successful in their attempts to lockdown the GPS functionality in their upcoming BlackBerry 8820 so that the only functioning 3rd party software will be TeleNav.

First, this is a major piss off to AT&T customers looking to get their hands on the BlackBerry 8820 mid-September, but what’s more important is why AT&T chose to do this. Apparently – and remember, this is coming from someone inside AT&T – the carrier didn’t want to launch a device that would seem superior (or be competitive) to the iPhone. Sounds a little crazy, until you realize that a GPS/Wi-Fi’d device with push email and no funny-texting touch screen that’s subsidized in price sounds a bit more appealing than a $500 device that enterprise customers can’t use.

We’ve been told that RIM was apparently livid over the decision (and with good reason), but AT&T basically said “do it or we won’t buy the 8820 or any future devices from you” and RIM backed down. Our AT&T informant also said that this was a call made by top RIM/AT&T brass, which sheds new light on Jim Balsillie’s statement that the carriers are one of RIM’s three masters.

So, to recap:
– The AT&T BlackBerry will have neutered GPS capabilities
– The T-Mobile 8820 will be better than the AT&T version
– Apple has won the first round against RIM

Let’s check that last statement for a second. Our informant was unsure if Steve Jobs called the hit, or if this decision was made solely by AT&T to protect their serious investment in the iPhone. The fact of the matter, however, is that RIM’s biggest North American customer just crippled one of their enterprise devices in favor of a consumer device that supposedly doesn’t compete with the BlackBerry.

Post a comment and let us know what you think about this crazy news. Personally, we never liked AT&T that much in the first place, but we like them even less for screwing over the BlackBerry faithful so they can make more money.

  • http://mecosminghiu.com/ Cosmin

    Despite all of the pro’s and con’s of owning an Apple iPhone I finally purchased one in the beginning of October 2007. By the 14th day I was so fed up with the iPhones lack enterprise support (there may be a better way to give better enterprise support, but it sure isnt easy)…

    I RETURNED my iPhone in favor of the Blackberry 8820.

    This is my second blackberry and for business users. Blackberry has no comparison. Too bad they backed down to AT&T though :(

  • http://mecosminghiu.com/ Cosmin

    Despite all of the pro’s and con’s of owning an Apple iPhone I finally purchased one in the beginning of October 2007. By the 14th day I was so fed up with the iPhones lack enterprise support (there may be a better way to give better enterprise support, but it sure isnt easy)…

    I RETURNED my iPhone in favor of the Blackberry 8820.

    This is my second blackberry and for business users. Blackberry has no comparison. Too bad they backed down to AT&T though :(

  • http://mecosminghiu.com Cosmin

    Despite all of the pro’s and con’s of owning an Apple iPhone I finally purchased one in the beginning of October 2007. By the 14th day I was so fed up with the iPhones lack enterprise support (there may be a better way to give better enterprise support, but it sure isnt easy)…

    I RETURNED my iPhone in favor of the Blackberry 8820.

    This is my second blackberry and for business users. Blackberry has no comparison. Too bad they backed down to AT&T though :(

  • Robert

    Hi all,

    I have a Blackberry 8820 from AT&T and just installed Google Maps on it, a screen poped asking if GM could access the GPS info….I said yes…and a couple a seconds later I had a petty blue dot on my google map showing my current location. Even gave me direction to the meeting I have tomorrow.

    So, at least my AT&T 8820 does not have its GPS locked down….thank god…

    Robert

  • Robert

    Hi all,

    I have a Blackberry 8820 from AT&T and just installed Google Maps on it, a screen poped asking if GM could access the GPS info….I said yes…and a couple a seconds later I had a petty blue dot on my google map showing my current location. Even gave me direction to the meeting I have tomorrow.

    So, at least my AT&T 8820 does not have its GPS locked down….thank god…

    Robert

  • Siul

    THis is only a rumor, my company got this new model for me and it does enables GPS applications with Google Maps, the pre-installed application and best of all, with Garmin, although I had to pay $99 for the activation of the software, but is the best of all, with voice prompts, mobile manager, gas prices, etc, etc.

  • Siul

    THis is only a rumor, my company got this new model for me and it does enables GPS applications with Google Maps, the pre-installed application and best of all, with Garmin, although I had to pay $99 for the activation of the software, but is the best of all, with voice prompts, mobile manager, gas prices, etc, etc.

  • http://primeministersquesriontime.blogspot.com/ david

    Bought a usa bb on e-bay – no sim. It does not work on T-mobile in the uk -contract. Anyone help please?

    Many thanks

  • http://primeministersquesriontime.blogspot.com/ david

    Bought a usa bb on e-bay – no sim. It does not work on T-mobile in the uk -contract. Anyone help please?

    Many thanks

  • http://primeministersquesriontime.blogspot.com david

    Bought a usa bb on e-bay – no sim. It does not work on T-mobile in the uk -contract. Anyone help please?

    Many thanks

  • http://coreburn.blogspot.com/ Coreburn

    I just got an 8820 through AT&T, and one of the first things I did is install Google Maps which seems to use the GPS just fine… oh and it also has Wifi…

  • http://coreburn.blogspot.com/ Coreburn

    I just got an 8820 through AT&T, and one of the first things I did is install Google Maps which seems to use the GPS just fine… oh and it also has Wifi…

  • IceBerg

    A few things, this article states the T-Mobile 8820 will be better. There is NO T-Mobile 8820 and there never will be, it’s an 8800 and does NOT have WiFi.

    MegaCorps like AT&T can do as they please because YOU the consumers allow them to. I’ve worked in the cellular industry since about 1991 and I have watched how the the market flows. Large cell companies and guide the direction things go by limiting features or in the corporate sector.

    It’s funny because they do something similar in the consumer sector. They get college students to jump on their bandwagon by introducing some feature you have to have.

    However they can not predict everything. Texting is the biggest thing on college campuses and when parents started getting outrageous bills they started taking phones away and this was hurting the CellCos. This started the trend of free test messaging. This is proof that if you demand something and quit using their services till they cave they will indeed cave.

    The only other option is to wait for the hackers to bypass this lockdown.In fact if you know the right people it’s already done. As is a universal algorithm for generating unlock codes on the 88xx series phones.

  • IceBerg

    A few things, this article states the T-Mobile 8820 will be better. There is NO T-Mobile 8820 and there never will be, it’s an 8800 and does NOT have WiFi.

    MegaCorps like AT&T can do as they please because YOU the consumers allow them to. I’ve worked in the cellular industry since about 1991 and I have watched how the the market flows. Large cell companies and guide the direction things go by limiting features or in the corporate sector.

    It’s funny because they do something similar in the consumer sector. They get college students to jump on their bandwagon by introducing some feature you have to have.

    However they can not predict everything. Texting is the biggest thing on college campuses and when parents started getting outrageous bills they started taking phones away and this was hurting the CellCos. This started the trend of free test messaging. This is proof that if you demand something and quit using their services till they cave they will indeed cave.

    The only other option is to wait for the hackers to bypass this lockdown.In fact if you know the right people it’s already done. As is a universal algorithm for generating unlock codes on the 88xx series phones.

  • marketguy

    It’s a free marketplace. If AT&T does not want to play fair and threaten to not buy RIM’s devices all RIM needs to do is threaten to cut off AT&T’s access to the RIM network and write an app that will unlock AT&T blackberry devices so customers can migrate to other networks. AT&T has a LOT more to loose with all the existing Blackberry handsets out there. All of AT&T’s customers could march down to T-Mobile and activate their handsets. If AT&T does not want the enterprise market thats their choice. Even a one day shutdown to the RIM market would have AT&T’s phone lines lit up with screaming customers canceling contracts.

    RIM has their niche market. AT&T is just another crummy service provider. AT&T is probably one of the most evil companies out there. They are the main reason I refuse to buy an Iphone. Apple you screwed yourself by selling out to the devil’s phone company!

  • marketguy

    It’s a free marketplace. If AT&T does not want to play fair and threaten to not buy RIM’s devices all RIM needs to do is threaten to cut off AT&T’s access to the RIM network and write an app that will unlock AT&T blackberry devices so customers can migrate to other networks. AT&T has a LOT more to loose with all the existing Blackberry handsets out there. All of AT&T’s customers could march down to T-Mobile and activate their handsets. If AT&T does not want the enterprise market thats their choice. Even a one day shutdown to the RIM market would have AT&T’s phone lines lit up with screaming customers canceling contracts.

    RIM has their niche market. AT&T is just another crummy service provider. AT&T is probably one of the most evil companies out there. They are the main reason I refuse to buy an Iphone. Apple you screwed yourself by selling out to the devil’s phone company!

  • awax

    The iphone is pathetic. Well Apple is pathetic. They make shitty products that are supposed to be unique and superior but they don’t sell. Then they make companies like att do things that should be illegal(blocking competition). Bottom line is that when my contract runs up in september with att, they better give me a blackberry 8820 with GPS for no extra charge. It comes with the capability so they should give it to us…and no i will not buy an iphone because they are outrageously priced and i like the black berry phones much better anyway. Im pissed but this consumer(like many others) will just go to T mobile and have a blackberry with GPS and no extra charges. I don’t like att anyway, it’s just an excuse to take my business elsewhere when it would be simpler just to extend my contract. Oh well, GPS would cost at least 10 or 15 bucks EXTRA a month for a blackberry with att than at T mobile where they let you use RIM which is free. With all the business people getting smartphones you bet they will shop around when they are faced with a choice between 15 extra dollars a month or going somewhere else. Honestly, this just makes the iphone look pathetic…like they aren’t selling very well. And their not, and thats why blackberry has been neutered. RIM shouldnt stand for this!

  • awax

    The iphone is pathetic. Well Apple is pathetic. They make shitty products that are supposed to be unique and superior but they don’t sell. Then they make companies like att do things that should be illegal(blocking competition). Bottom line is that when my contract runs up in september with att, they better give me a blackberry 8820 with GPS for no extra charge. It comes with the capability so they should give it to us…and no i will not buy an iphone because they are outrageously priced and i like the black berry phones much better anyway. Im pissed but this consumer(like many others) will just go to T mobile and have a blackberry with GPS and no extra charges. I don’t like att anyway, it’s just an excuse to take my business elsewhere when it would be simpler just to extend my contract. Oh well, GPS would cost at least 10 or 15 bucks EXTRA a month for a blackberry with att than at T mobile where they let you use RIM which is free. With all the business people getting smartphones you bet they will shop around when they are faced with a choice between 15 extra dollars a month or going somewhere else. Honestly, this just makes the iphone look pathetic…like they aren’t selling very well. And their not, and thats why blackberry has been neutered. RIM shouldnt stand for this!

  • JC

    I do not know where you are getting your crazy comment about apple products not selling well. Are you blind or do you not keep up with news. I am a PC user but let’s be frank and look at facts. The rate macs, ipods, iphones are selling are just incredible compared to competitors. The new iphone 3G is an amazing device, not because of the hardware…but the intuitive software. No matter if you like Steve Jobs or not, he is a brilliant marketing guru and knows exactly what the majority (obviously not awax)of the people want. Blackberry was a great device…but they need to really start innovating more than listening to all these complainers. Blackberry is going to lose serious market share if they dont come up with something, NOW.

  • JC

    I do not know where you are getting your crazy comment about apple products not selling well. Are you blind or do you not keep up with news. I am a PC user but let’s be frank and look at facts. The rate macs, ipods, iphones are selling are just incredible compared to competitors. The new iphone 3G is an amazing device, not because of the hardware…but the intuitive software. No matter if you like Steve Jobs or not, he is a brilliant marketing guru and knows exactly what the majority (obviously not awax)of the people want. Blackberry was a great device…but they need to really start innovating more than listening to all these complainers. Blackberry is going to lose serious market share if they dont come up with something, NOW.

  • JC

    I do not know where you are getting your crazy comment about apple products not selling well. Are you blind or do you not keep up with news. I am a PC user but let’s be frank and look at facts. The rate macs, ipods, iphones are selling are just incredible compared to competitors. The new iphone 3G is an amazing device, not because of the hardware…but the intuitive software. No matter if you like Steve Jobs or not, he is a brilliant marketing guru and knows exactly what the majority (obviously not awax)of the people want. Blackberry was a great device…but they need to really start innovating more than listening to all these complainers. Blackberry is going to lose serious market share if they dont come up with something, NOW.

  • JC

    I do not know where you are getting your crazy comment about apple products not selling well. Are you blind or do you not keep up with news. I am a PC user but let’s be frank and look at facts. The rate macs, ipods, iphones are selling are just incredible compared to competitors. The new iphone 3G is an amazing device, not because of the hardware…but the intuitive software. No matter if you like Steve Jobs or not, he is a brilliant marketing guru and knows exactly what the majority (obviously not awax)of the people want. Blackberry was a great device…but they need to really start innovating more than listening to all these complainers. Blackberry is going to lose serious market share if they dont come up with something, NOW.

  • JC

    I do not know where you are getting your crazy comment about apple products not selling well. Are you blind or do you not keep up with news. I am a PC user but let’s be frank and look at facts. The rate macs, ipods, iphones are selling are just incredible compared to competitors. The new iphone 3G is an amazing device, not because of the hardware…but the intuitive software. No matter if you like Steve Jobs or not, he is a brilliant marketing guru and knows exactly what the majority (obviously not awax)of the people want. Blackberry was a great device…but they need to really start innovating more than listening to all these complainers. Blackberry is going to lose serious market share if they dont come up with something, NOW.