Purchasing a BlackBerry is a serious decision. Not only does the device cost up to $200, but you’re then committing to two years of service. We discussed the total BlackBerry cost a while ago. Voice plan, messaging plan, data plan — it all adds up over two years. Earlier this year we saw a prepaid carrier, MetroPCS, launch the BlackBerry Curve 8330.
The service cost $50 per month for unlimited voice and messaging, plus BIS ($60 for BES), making it cheaper than most other BlackBerry service plans. It’s attractive because there is no commitment — not in the contractual sense, at least. The device cost over $400, and that kind of investment can keep you tied to the service. It appears T-Mobile is trying a similar gambit.
In an attempt to compete with prepaid carriers like MetroPCS and Cricket, T-Mobile has launched a new program, T-Mobile Complete. It’s complete, I suppose, because it offers unlimited features for a flat monthly rate. You can have unlimited voice, unlimited voice + text, or unlimited voice + text + Web starting at $50 per month. It’s a bit more expensive than MetroPCS and Cricket, but T-Mobile has the advantage of a nationwide network. Yet because there are no contracts, T-Mobile has to keep users hooked somehow. Like their competitors, they’ll go on price. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 will cost $299.99. That is more than 10 times what the device costs, subsidized, on Wal-Mart’s website.
So there’s a trade-off. Would you rather be locked into a service because of a contract, or because you invested so much in a handset? But hey, at least you can unlock the handset.
T-Mobile isn’t the only company that has started offering a prepaid BlackBerry solution. Optus in Australia is also offering the Curve 8520. Their version is $100 more than T-Mobile’s, but the service plans start at $30.
Tip of the week: Change your A, W, and Q speed dial keys. Just understand that once you change then, you can never go back.
Could Microsoft buy RIM?
Everyone wants to predict the future smartphone landscape. Who will reign supreme in a few years? Will Android grow into the lead? WIll RIM hold onto what it has? How much market share will Apple have by that point? What’s in store for Windows Mobile? These are all questions that are impossible to answer. Yet every day it seems like someone wants to give it a go.
Most of the time, from the articles I’ve seen, people predict Apple to be on top, though I’ve read a few instances of Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile? Really? I’ve never been impressed by Microsoft’s mobile platform, and that makes me wonder what other people see in it. Microsoft is working on a new version of WM for next year, but if that doesn’t work out, they could always buy RIM.
It might sound far-fetched, and I doubt it ever happens, but the linked article suggests as much. Another site picked up the story (which has apparently been an analyst suggestion for years), and predicts that this will go down by the end of June, 2010.
Again, I just can’t see it. Microsoft would have to go all-in for RIM. And then what of Windows Mobile? I’m not ruling out this acquisition, but I do see too many moving parts to make it work.
Smartphones could lead to denial of service attacks
Sports fans became familiar with the term, denial of service attack, in 2007, when ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd instigated one against the blog The Big Lead.
Others found out this summer, when U.S. and South Korean websites fell victim to a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS). The basic idea behind one of these attacks is to use many computers to send so much data to a certain server at once that it crashes. There is a fear this could now happen with smartphones. RIM VP of security Scott Totzke recently addressed the issue.
Unless security measures are put in place which prevent this type of attack, it seems like an inevitability. Regarding smartphones, they could be used to attack a carrier, rather than just one specific website. Says Kevin Mahaffey, CTO at mobile security software maker Flexilis, “These are not telephones anymore. They are computers. So people are going to have all the problems on their phones that they have on their computers. We’ve already heard warnings about viruses. DDOS seems to be just as big a concern, though.
Some hands-on takes of the BlackBerry Storm 2
The Storm 2 has been out for a few weeks now, so we’ve seen most of what we’re going to see about it. Well, then again, it’s a new BlackBerry device, so there should be no shortage of reviews. We’ve already seen a ton of pre reviews, including an excellent one by Kevin at CrackBerry. But let’s take a look at a few of the more general-interest sites — ones that don’t tie themselves to just the BlackBerry. First up, Engadget, which has just undergone a pretty redesign.
Stop by and admire how far superior it is to their old design. They have a long, comprehensive view of the Storm 2, which you can read here. I think I’ll let theri video do the talking, though.
The definitive line from Engadget: “Only problem is, Waterloo is clearly woefully unequipped to handle the creation of exceptional, effortless usability that’s demanded of a lustworthy mobile device these days.”
It’s harsh, but it’s reflective of the current smartphone market. Boy Genius Report is a bit more attached to BlackBerry than Engadget, and as such their review is a bit more glowing. Still, they’re not totally impressed. Maybe that’s because there are a ton of other touchscreen devices on the market that can do more than the Storm 2.
New BlackBerrys for AT&T, Telus
The Curve 8520, Bold 9700, and Storm 2 are already out. They’re not out, however, though AT&T and Telus. We learned this week that the Bold 9700 will hit AT&T on November 22, while the CUrve 8520 shouldn’t be too far behind.
We also learned that the Storm 2 will hit Telus. Good news for people on those carriers.
Just some software tidbits from the last week:
- I reviewed QuickLaunch, an app that allows you to quickly launch (duh) different applications and functions on your BlackBerry. It’s a great app for the productivity gurus out there.
- Yahoo! Go? Yahoo! No. (I learned that in my “how not to write a headline” class). Yahoo will discontinue it’s Go application. We worked with Go a lot here on BBGeeks, so we’re sad to see it go.
- TwitterBerr = OpenBeak. It seems like more than a few Twitter clients are changing their names to remove the word Twitter. Orangatame did one better, removing references to both Twitter and BlackBerry. The good news: there’s a new version out.