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AT&T crippling GPS in BlackBerry 8820?


Ok. So, Doug from BlackBerry Cool is saying an “AT&T insider” has informed them that the upcoming BlackBerry 8820 on AT&T will basically be tied to TeleNav in regards to GPS functionality. That means you are forced to pay $9.99/month if you wish to utilize the built-in GPS. Kind of sucks, right? It is pretty hard to believe. But is it true? There has been no official confirmation whatsoever, but we think this might actually be possible. The reasoning BBCool has given, is that AT&T saw the 8820 (WiFi + GPS) at a subsidized, low price point, a threat to the iPhone. They are so totally different that I’m not sure anyone could think that. We have a strictly enterprise product, and a straight consumer product here people. The price point alone is enough to sway people either way. GPS, at the end of the day, shouldn’t make that big of a difference. The selling point for the 8820 is WiFi, not GPS. You always have the regular BlackBerry 8800 for that. As ludicrous as it sounds, this might be the case though. Prove us wrong. Then our mock conversation with AT&T and RIM below won’t look so stupid…


AT&T: Hi. Can I speak to Jim Balsillie please?

RIM operator: Who’s calling?

AT&T: Apple’s wireless carrier

RIM: You mean, AT&T?

AT&T: Is that what we’re calling ourselves these days? Well, I suppose so, yeah, sure, AT&T.

RIM: Please hold

AT&T: Cool beans.

Jim Balsilie: Hello?

AT&T: I need to talk you about the upcoming BlackBerry 8820. You know, the one we keep missing the launch date on?

Jim Balsilie: Shoot.

AT&T: Well, Steve Jobs was just in India, and he went on a straight 14-day juice fast with intense medication and when he got back, he told us that he wanted us to make the 8820 “less appealing because it would take away from the iPhone”

Jim Balsilie: You know I told you to never mention that phone to me again. Don’t get me started on the way you guys forever changed the telecom industry…

AT&T: Well, we need to tie in the GPS functionality to only TeleNav. No more of this BlackBerry Maps horseshit.

Jim Balsillie: Am I getting a cut off of TeleNav?

AT&T: Nah, we’re giving your percentage to Apple

Jim Balsillie: Well, then, no.

AT&T: You’re not getting it Jim. We either do this, or we don’t carry BlackBerry devices anymore and drop the BlackBerry 8820.

Jim Balsillie: You can’t do that. You make more money per BlackBerry sale than the Devil phone.

AT&T: You’re probably right, but still. Our Commander in Chief has requested it.

Jim Balsillie: Well, then, er, I’m not selling YOU anymore BlackBerry devices!

AT&T: Right, but I just said that Jim.

Jim Balsillie: Whatevs, do what you want. We’ve got this amazing new BlackBerry coming out that works on Verizon. Isn’t that incredible? It will change the world I…

AT&T: Please hang up the phone or try again. If you’ve reached this message in error, please check the number and try again…


Jonathan Geller is the founder of Boy Genius Report, now known as BGR, and one of the biggest tech & mobile destinations in the world.

BGR was acquired by leading digital media company PMC in April 2010 and Jonathan is President and Editor-in-chief of BGR Media, LLC. Jonathan was named to Forbes' coveted 30 under 30 list in 2016, and frequently appears as a commentator on news channels such as CNBC, Fox News, ABC News and Bloomberg.

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