RIM and AT&T are negotiating a deal to leave the BlackBerry 8820 un-neutered; the Internet wins

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We were told to keep this one under wraps until the deal went through, but our friends over at the CBerry have started reporting a release date for the BlackBerry 8820, so we can’t hold out any longer. CrackBerry states that along with a September 4th release date, AT&T BlackBerry 8820s will not have their built-in GPS neutered to work with only TeleNav’s service, like we told you previously. They’re probably right, and here’s why.

Right now RIM and AT&T are in the process of re-negotiating the GPS status of the BlackBerry 8820. We’re not sure if the deal has been finalized yet, but if the AT&T documents are correct, it seems at least all-but a done deal. What’s the reason for this? Well, frankly, it’s because AT&T was none too pleased with the hurricane of negative feedback that rolled through the Internet after we broke the story. So basically, loyal citizens of the Internet, you have yourselves to thank for putting AT&T in their place and getting the BlackBerry you deserve. (Unofficial) word from RIM is that, internally, they’re popping open champagne and are very grateful for the support they got from the “BlackBerry Nation”.

One question still remains: what will happen to the neutered BlackBerry 8820s already out there? Boy Genius had reported that AT&T was set to slowly roll out the device on a store by store basis, once BlackBerry 8800 stock had been eliminated, which means that there are at least some out there (the neutering is done via software, so every device that hasn’t left RIM’s hands yet can easily be fixed, although we’re told that this could add a day or two of delay to the supply chain). Will they simply send them back, or sell them to the public and hope nobody notices? Our source told us that this depends on how many there are in existence, but for our money, nothing underhanded AT&T does would surprise us.

(Note: If anyone can get their hands on one, you know who to email.)

Final thoughts? If the deal hasn’t been finalized yet, RIM, you have AT&T by the balls: keep squeezing. If it has been finalized, congratulations, and never let a carrier push you around again. Your real customers are rooting for you.

Oh, and RIM? You’re welcome.

  • Free Energy
    Nice information there! I just thought of to become your regular reader but the problem is your site doesn't seem compatible /friendly when it show in KMeleon browser which I use regularly other than internet explorer, hope you can get it fix soon, thanks in advance.
  • Alexandru
    You people at the blackberry are doing a wonderful job, meeting all the expectations and winning all the challenges. BRAVO 2 all of you.
  • Karlos
    I just got my 8820 from ATT and it *is* crippled to only work with TeleNav...
  • Bill W
    This is great news - I can't wait to get one.

    My brother and I have an ongoing debate over which is better - iPhone or blackberry. I know the visitors here will support my side - blackberry, no question.

    Well yesterday my brother may have started swaying to the blackberry side, he received a bill from ATT for 3,000! These were obscene iPhone data roaming charges, for a week he spent in Canada, basically $20/MB - ouch.

    With the 8820 and GPS - blackberry all the way. I just hope ATT doesn't screw with the bb data plans.
  • shlammed
  • CPO,

    This is what we've "heard through the grape vine" (wink) in response to your question and Jibi's post:

    "It wasn't a text file change. Thus was a software lock down. New device software was required."

    As a side point, no matter how involved the lock-down was (be it software, text-file, or physical clamp on the device), I think the heart of the story lay in the fact that RIM really didn't want to do it, but they were forced to because of their relationship with AT&T and the carrier's interest in protecting its investment in the iPhone and possibly also just in shaving a few more dollars off their customers.

    Also, even if there was a work around, that leaves members of the Forums and BlackBerry Cool readers who would have the insight and technical capacity to get it done. What about the average BlackBerry user who has no idea what's going on in the tech world, and is put in a position to pay his carrier more money because he isn't aware of an alternative?
  • CPO
    BlackBerry Cool: Can you confirm with your insider whether the "neutering" was done in the same way Jibi mentioned? The workaround was mentioned a couple of months ago in the pinstack forums I believe.

    If its the case of a simple alx modification then i feel like a douche for getting angry over it when the story was first posted. I don't really feel sorry for RIM if they were only pressured to change a text file. I'm sure RIM's thoughts were as casual as "Yeah, yeah. We'll change the freaking text file. You still going to give us our money? We're cool then."
  • Dimplemonkey
    POWER TO THE PEOPLE! I hope AT&T doesn't see our influence as "pressure" from the fanboys but more like our $Presidents$ spoke on our behalf.
  • MichaelBB
    There is a lesson to be learned here, power to the people through the internet and writing email's and so on, voicing our opinion's . With that said I still say this was all rumor and it was NEVER going to happen anyways. Also as of last night, AT&T sales still has NOT rec'd word on when these are coming in to the stores or through the supply channel.

    Can you imagine if Verizon woke up and listened to its customer base, instead of being greedy.

    In the end if AT&T continues to go the way its going and cleaning up things, such as firing the people with tude's and improving there network and data network they would really give Verizon a serious run for there there money
  • Triumph
    AT&T you suck! For me to poop on!!
  • jibi
    Sorry, tidbits of ALX were not parsed correctly due to brackets:

    !-- For 8800 series, hide the icon for AT&T (102), Vodafone Germany (124), Vodafone Austria (137) and all Orange properties, including Amena (Orange Spain - 175). --

    !-- For non-8800 series, show the icon for all carriers except AT&T (102), Vodafone Germany (124), Vodafone Austria (137) and all Orange properties, including Amena (Orange Spain - 175). --

    fileset SystemSize="normal" Colour="True" Java="1.0" _vendorID="~102|124|137|119|162|142|183|147|217|175" series="~8800"
  • jibi
    So if there's a deal that went through, what did they accomplish? The removal of the AT&T and 102 references following from the LBS.alx:

    <!-- For 8800 series, hide the icon for AT&T (102), Vodafone Germany (124), Vodafone Austria (137) and all Orange properties, including Amena (Orange Spain - 175). -->
    <!-- For non-8800 series, show the icon for all carriers except AT&T (102), Vodafone Germany (124), Vodafone Austria (137) and all Orange properties, including Amena (Orange Spain - 175). -->

    In all honesty, I think more was made of this than it should have been. Starting with the 8800 series devices, RIM and AT&T have done this. It's a simple software lock that can easily be fixed by anyone. It had nothing to do with the release of the 8820 but rather the release of the 8800 and it's GPS features. The only people this affected, which may actually be a large number, were those who thought TeleNav was their only option (due to a service book-enabled icon) or didn't know how to download BlackBerry Maps or Google Maps from the web.

    If the 8820 is relesed with the same 'locked down' LBS.alx, then AT&T nor RIM 'neutered' the device from GPS but rather did nothing at all. They would still live up to any misunderstandings that may have resulted from the original article concerning the neutering of GPS, which made it sound as if they were literally disabling it at the hardware/firmware level (like Verizon does)... that was simply NOT the case.
  • Aaron,

    I'm not sure if that's a diss or not, but I like the sound of it.

    BlackBerry Cool: "RIM's Internet PR"

    We should really be scoring it as a win for Slashdot, however. Damn those guys carry some weight.
  • Aaron
    Wow, you guys should change your tagline from "the voice of the BlackBerry Community" to "RIM's PR".

    Good news for AT&T subscribers, though.
  • Andrew
    This is a bittersweet victory, and great for the end user - but I can't help feeling a bit disappointed in RIM for not demanding this from the start. Hopefully this empowers them a bit and in the future and they won't be so quick to bend to the whims of the carriers when they request features crippled or removed. Like for example a VoIP stack on the wifi berries
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