BlackBerry Curve 8910 Lacks Email Support

We reported here and here recently about Research In Motion Ltd.’s (RIM) mainstream launch into China. The news, while generally good, showed that China’s aggressive tactics to promote its own Wi-Fi and 3G standards only hurt consumers. Now more information has come out, and it is pretty disconcerting. Not only are the phones way over priced, neither China Telecom or China Mobile are offering RIM’s BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which normally handles all of the phones’ emails and internet connectivity. What exactly is the whole point of a BlackBerry without internet service? Sure, it offers security, applications and features far beyond what is available in a non-smartphone, but this latest development is like putting the engine from a minivan into a racecar. A complete waste of everything.

The Edmonton Journal is reporting that the carriers are offering “tips on how you might get around the restriction,” but that really should not be necessary and who knows exactly what these tips are. Use Wi-Fi perhaps? Oops, that’s right. The $760 BlackBerry Curve 8910 doesn’t have Wi-Fi, or even 3G. While corporate users—who have had BlackBerrys for a while now—are able to use email through RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), the mainstream consumer is left out in the cold.

The reason for this severe restriction is almost certainly due to China’s insistence on being able to monitor everything its citizens do on the net. Censorship is commonplace there, and China probably is not thrilled about the prospect of millions of internet and email enabled smartphones everywhere. China often does huge crackdowns on electronic and traditional phone based communication whenever their latest humanitarian disaster breaks out, but this really is unacceptable.

Google butted heads with China earlier this year and decided to pull its search engine out. RIM has wanted into the country for a while now and it looks like it made some compromises to do so. I am disappointed. Information needs to be free to everyone. Anyone reading this from China who wants to weigh in?

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