The T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8520 reinforces the need for family data plans

The T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8520 reinforces the need for family data plans

Summary: RIM sent me a BlackBerry 8520 to check out, but Andrew beat me and posted his hands-on review first. However, I still wanted to post a few of my thoughts about the device since I have had a chance to use the Curve 8320, Curve 8900, and BlackBerry Tour over the last few months. I think BlackBerry devices like the Curve 8520 show why it would be beneficial for carriers to start promoting family data plans and giving back a bit to consumers.

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RIM sent me a BlackBerry 8520 to check out, but Andrew beat me and posted his hands-on review first. However, I still wanted to post a few of my thoughts about the device since I have had a chance to use the Curve 8320, Curve 8900, and BlackBerry Tour over the last few months. I think BlackBerry devices like the Curve 8520 show why it would be beneficial for carriers to start promoting family data plans and giving back a bit to consumers.

The Curve 8520 is priced at $129.99 while the Curve 8900 is priced at $149.99 (both after discounts and contracts) so I really have a difficult time seeing why the 8520 is a compelling device for someone to purchase. The Curve 8900 has one of the best QWERTY keyboards I have ever used on a BlackBerry device and a stunning display while the 8520 is more similar to the Curve 8320 keyboard and has just a decent display. There are hardware differences, primarily the touch sensitive track pad and top mounted media buttons.

I was quite surprised by the touch sensitive trackpad and after a week or so of use I found I could easily switch from the trackball to the trackpad. It was very sensitive and didn't require as much movement as I thought it would to navigate around the display. The media buttons are handy to have for quick access to controlling media and with the 3.5mm headset jack I could see it working well for media fans.

With the Curve 8520 priced at $130 and lower (something like just $75 at WalMart) I think these BlackBerry devices may start appealing a bit more to the teen crowd. However, to use a BlackBerry you need a data plan and I highly doubt parents are going to pay $25+ for each line on a family plan. I only have one data plan, mine, on a family plan of five people and think there is an opportunity here for T-Mobile to charge something like $5 to $10 for each additional phone for data access. Given that we pay for 5GB of data with our monthly "unlimited" data plans why can't carrier allow any phones on a family plan to use up to that 5GB limit for no additiional cost?

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, BlackBerry

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4 comments
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  • Ummm Switch to Sprint!

    Why would you pay for T-mobile for a family... the everything data family plan is way cheaper than the setup on T-mobile...and it has 3.5G data speed and the phone service is way, way, way better.
    condelirios
    • Unfortunately, no coverage for me

      I would love to be with Sprint and their Palm Pre with Everything plans, but I have very poor coverage where I live, work, and play so it isn't even a contender for me. T-Mobile gives me the best coverage so that is my carrier of choice.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • RE: The T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8520 reinforces the need for family data plans

    I would have to agree about the need for family data plans. I have T-Mobile. Both my teen daughters have sidekicks that cost me an additional $20 each per month for the data plans, and my G1 at $24.99, and his Blackberry at $20. Our phone plan runs around $90 with $20 for unlimited family messaging (texting). Final cost - around $220 per month. Ridiculous!!!
    jenn90801
  • RE: The T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8520 reinforces the need for family data plans

    Verizon should also have a family data plan. Right now I have an "unlimited" plan for my 8830, and my wife has the "limited" data plan, and my two sons would love to get their hands on a Blackberry with data, but I can't afford to play for separate plans for everyone!
    amigoid