Via /. and BlackBerryCool.com, AT&T is reportedly crippling the BlackBerry 8820 by (among other things) removing GPS functionality. While it’s not uncommon for carriers to
cripple remove non-essential functionality from the handsets they offer, it is quite something else when they do so to prevent a handset from seeming superior (or be competitive) to another handset — in this case: the iPhone.
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…
Anyone else miss Cingular yet?