Doug at BlackBerry Cool has just posted that they've received a tip from an inside source at AT&T that the GPS funcitonality will be locked down on the AT&T BlackBerry 8820 due mid-September.
Under this arrangement, the only GPS-like third party software compatible with the AT&T BlackBerry 8820 will be TeleNav.
Doug feels, as do I, that this move is in large measure because AT&T did not want the 8820 to be loaded up with a feature that would prove competitive with the iPhone. And as to the iPhone, AT&T is barely into that five-year U.S. exclusivity window.
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.
"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," Doug writes.
Doug's source tells him that BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion is quite pissed, but went along. Not that they had much choice. The source indicated that AT&T told iRIM if they refused to lock GPS and other third-party software too competitive with the iPhone, that would be it insofar as future RIM devices carried by AT&T.
RIM did go along. Reading Doug's post, it is obvious that the BlackBerry corporate culture is one in which the carriers have the most influence. Compare that to Apple-AT&T, where Apple has been calling the feature-set and marketing shots.