Weekly Contest: Showing CDMA Love

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TowerCTIA started off with a bang this year, announcing the BlackBerry 8330 across three carriers, the latest CDMA BlackBerry since the 8130 over Christmas. The majority of BlackBerrys (and handsets in general) run on GSM networks, but with these devices toting EV-DO capabilities for blazing data transfer, and with enhancements to voice service on the way, CDMA is a solid choice for carriers. Of course, a big part of the impetus is on manufacturers like RIM to make devices which support the underdog technology, without which service providers have nothing to show customers. What do you think? Is RIM showing CDMA enough love? The Curve’s been out since early last summer, and only now, on the brink of a new generation of 3GSM BlackBerrys, are the likes of Verizon, Telus and Sprint getting their hands on it. Maybe we’re lucky that CDMA is getting a bone thrown their way at all, but would it be that hard to squeeze out a Wi-Fi BlackBerry for CDMA users, or would it not even be worth RIM’s trouble? Give us your take on the CDMA/GSM debate and win three BlackBerry skins of your choice from DecalGirl, and the recently-launched Guitar Hero 3 Mobile!

Last week we talked about waiting for the BlackBerry 9000 (which it looks like we’ll be doing for the 8330 as well), and whether or not RIM was making a good enough clip to keep up with competitors. A lot of folks chimed in that more on-board memory was needed, and as a guy who checks out BlackBerry software all day long, I can’t help but agree. The win is going to Rajiv for making the reasonable stand that the wait is worth it for a finely-polished product. We’ll be setting him up with Bplay’s latest two games, Sushi Mania and Big Kahuna Words as well as the excessively slick Crossbar theme. Thanks for the entries, everyone, and hope to see you again this week!

  • Jake Billo
    @Sherlock06: All carriers in Canada have the "unlimited email" $15 BIS plan. T-Mobile US pioneered it as their $10 plan.

    Only Telus, on their (currently offered) $30 plan, enables BIS-B browsing. Both Bell and Rogers, IIRC, lock down the browser or charge extra for it.

    This isn't carrier favoritism - it's just how things work in Canada at present.
  • Kevin
    I just recently got my Blackberry Pearl from verizon and I don't notice anything wrong with it. My sister has a Blackberry from T-mobile and I have used it before and I don't notice anything different with them.
    In regards to there not being this blackberry or that blackberry, it all about cellphone company demands. You don't always see the same phones at places because companies bid on who will supply witch phone. And if the CDMA companies don't really bid on a phone then they don't have a reason to make a CDMA phone just for them.
    It come down to supply and demand

    also the blackberry needs to put more memory on their phones. there are 8 gig flash drives, they can put a little more memory on there phones. I say this cuz my phone can hold songs, but what's the point if it can only hold one small song if it takes up my whole memory.
  • Ian Collins
    I think that all phones should have 2 versions. GSM and CDMA, If I want to upgrade to a newer BlackBerry and my provider is GSM and the newer phone is CDMA it would be a pain. I also believe that all providers carry the same phones. I don't want to switch providers to upgrade because my current provider does not carry that phone.
  • Sherlock06
    I keep hearing about the launch of the Curve for Telus, Sprint and Verizon but everyone seems to forget about Bell. To my knowledge, they will be launching it before everyone (less than 2 weeks).

    PS. This is for Jake Billo. Bell also has the unlimited plan for BIS ($15/mth)
  • Ricky
    As a verizon user, i find it very frustrating that CDMA handsets come out so much alter than their GSM relatives. however, i can understand that there is a need for this, due to the larger GSM market, and th need to make the phones CDMA compatible. However, i wonder if holding the GSM phones back a month or two might be beneficial in the long run. I know no consumer would like this, but RIM could definitely benefit more off of the hype of a new model announcement if all carriers were getting the phone, at least within a reasonable time period of the announcement. I'm not saying hole the GSMs until CDMAs are ready, but shrink the gap from 9+ months to 5 or 6. Downsides of this strategy would be less time to improve the CDMA models (think working out the bugs from the 8100 to the 8130), and consumers would have to wait longer for the GSM models to be released.
  • Karan M
    I think at the end of the day it comes down to a few simple issues:
    1. RIM has a much larger addressable market by creating and marketing GSM models. The numbers game makes that pretty easy.
    2. They also have exclusivity deals to provide these same GSM providers with dibs on the device and they someitmes market a different model to each to give them the necessary differnetiation to keep certain customers. (some get 8310, others 8320 for e.g.). I believe that's also why there is no CDMA wifi version as that would compete with 8320 providers.
    3. CDMA doesn't get a lot of love from RIM, but RIM doesn't shut them out either. They wait until manufacturing costs for the new device come down before designing with the new CDMA radios. As well, having the CDMA carriers around flogging these gives them some additional leverage against the other carriers during negotiations on the revenue sharing.

    I think that last one is also why RIM may not like CDMA providers as much. They seem to be the ones offering unlimited data moreso than GSM providers and that reduces ARPU (avg rev per user) and therefore reduces the amount of rev shared back to RIM.

    Just a thought ...
  • Roger
    I have been waiting so long for the CDMA 8330. I almost gave up hope and jumped ship to a GSM carrier not only to be able to get the Curve, but for all the upcoming Blackberries as well. Very frustrating that GSM devices seem to come out almost a year before their repsective CDMA counterparts. I don't understand why they can't release both GSM and CDMA versions at the same time. I understand the global appeal of GSM, but last I checked, I thought that CDMA had more subscribers in North America...where I thought the bulk of RIMs customers were located...
  • David B
    I say SHAME ON RIM for being asleep at the wheel. They COULD have head off so much iPhone hype if they'd been with it and had a Curve ready to go on CDMA and launched it around the same time! IMO, the Curve is ONLY device in the RIM line-up with a chance to go, and it beats the iPhone hands down with EV-DO and a full QWERTY keyboard (and style to boot).
    People can SAY RIM is finally giving some DMA love, but where's EV-DO Rev A? Nowhere to be found in the RIM line-up, but then again neither is 3G GSM, so ....
  • Jake Billo
    For Canadians in particular, CDMA is really the way to go for savvy consumers. This isn't due to any sort of network technology or device availability: it's because Telus is presently the only carrier to offer unlimited data plans for BIS customers. Telus happens to be CDMA. It doesn't matter about splashy devices when you're having to watch every byte of data for fear that the monthly bill will outpace your mortgage payment.

    The GSM monopoly at present (Rogers) fully intends to keep up with data limiting in the future:

    "We're not fans of unlimited plans," Rob Bruce, the president of Rogers' wireless division, told analysts during a conference call.

    "We want to make sure ... that we create plans that are helpful and don't become barriers to adoption."

    So in this respect, a wealth of CDMA devices (especially those with world phone capabilities) packing new features is really a competitive advantage for carriers. I think that the Pearl 8130 was really the catalyst for CDMA: it's more fully featured than the 8100, and it's consumer oriented at a time where people are really starting to take interest in smartphones.

    With respect to WiFi, RIM's strategy seems to be that they offer it to carriers committed to UMA. This is likely because carriers still derive revenue from UMA clients, which makes up for the offset data costs over WiFi. At present I can't think of a CDMA carrier with UMA planned - Sprint seems to be intent on selling base stations with native 800/1900 coverage - so I wouldn't expect to see a WiFi device on a CDMA network any time this year.
  • portorikan
    I'm inclined to say, just barely enough love, not not a respectable amount. It's obviously more marketable, to create GSM phones since they're more popular, but the US/N.A. is still a huge market, and the CDMA providers that exist here aren't going anywhere. I for one know that I won't be changing my CDMA provider for anyone else, so it would make sense to provide either same time releases, or something within a month or two, 3 at most for new products, especially if they're trying to move into the consumer market, which they're doing a phenomenal job with already.

    Unless RIM is intentionally trying to give a service provider the leg up, I don't see why these separate technologies could be developed side by side and released together.
  • Matthew Farra
    I for one am eagerly looking forward to getting my hands on the 8330. I am making the leap to the Blackberry platform very soon, and I'm grateful that Sprint is giving me the option of a full size keyboard and screen (both of which make the Pearl the less desirable option to me). I hope that CDMA continues to get love from RIM and the other manufacturers.
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