When I first heard that Google Talk would be compatible with the BlackBerry OS starting sometime this spring, my first reaction was puzzlement.
I mean, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion draws its very sustenance from cellular carriers. Although $934 million of RIM's $1,350.4 billion Fiscal 2005 revenue was from the sale of BlackBerrys and only $235 million came from llular carrier partnerships, all BlackBerrys sold these days are cell phones.
I'm a case in point- when I bought my BlackBerry 7520 I signed up for a two-year plan with SprintNextel. Every month, I dig in and pay approximately $90 to be able to talk over my BlackBerry as well as to maintain my Calendar and use it as a calculator.
So why, then, would a savvy company such as RIM offer a product such as Google Talk which, nearly everyone agrees, is headed toward some sort of PC-to-phone calling capability? Wouldn't such capability constitute a type of telephony that would compete with the call offerings RIM's cellular partners?
Well, it was only when I read the details that this deal started to make sense to me.
From a careful read of the announcement, it appears that BlackBerry will only support Google Talk's instant messaging feature. The version of Google Talk that will be made available to BlackBerry users will not have a voice capability- not even to other BlackBerry users similar to Google Talk's current PC to PC voice functionality.
I say this as both an Internet voice and BlackBerry blogger. To offer a fully functional version of Google Talk would tick off just about every one of their cellular partners. Sure, Blackberry users could be charged supplementary minutes for Google Talk calls, but offering Google Talk voice would represent such a risky business move for BlackBerry that I don't see it happening at all.