Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

Why I Returned My BlackBerry Tour

by Eric Stewart on Jul.30, 2009, under Cell Phones & Providers, Technology

The Tour is a fairly new device, and I was running into an issue or two indicating that either the OS or the available application software wasn’t quite working as desired.  That, I could have lived with for a while, until either BlackBerry or the app coders worked things out.  However …

On July 28 my new Sprint plan kicked in on the BlackBerry Tour … and my work email stopped coming in.

It turns out that if you use a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (the only way to get your Exchange contacts and calendar synchronized on a BlackBerry), Sprint requires an add on of $20 a month to the plan.  When I was told this, I was quite pissed.  My research into choosing between an iPhone on AT&T and another BlackBerry on Sprint indicated that, to get as similar service as possible (data, voice minutes, and texting), AT&T would have been $20 more.  With this revelation, the reason for staying with Sprint was going away.  After having that added on to my bill, I asked to be passed to Retention.  Two different Retention representatives failed to do anything to my bill – not even a 10% reduction in the overall bill.

As I am known for doing (and because things and thoughts can occur simultaneously), a tangent:

I had seen the Palm Pre in the store, and had heard of it around the Internet.  It was getting mostly good reviews, and supposedly showed a lot of promise.  A friend who works for Sprint even mentioned it as an alternative.  The literature also indicated the possibility of fairly full over-the-air integration with Exchange servers (needing no extra software or server to do so).  Full screen with a slide out keyboard, it was being marketed as Sprint’s iPhone alternative.  More on the Palm Pre in my next post, but I’m just mentioning it here to note that I was aware of it and had actually touched one in the store …

Okay – tangent over.

I don’t want to have to regularly sync my phone to get my calendar and contacts set up between my phone and work provided Exchange server.  Considering that:

  • Sprint doesn’t have to run the Exchange server
  • Sprint doesn’t have to run the BlackBerry Exchange Server (in fact, *I* put it together and am the administrator of said server)

I didn’t really understand the reasons for the extra $20.  My “Everything Data” plan wasn’t covering everything.

Staying with Sprint was a hard choice.  Talking to my friends that had iPhones, they were “natively” getting their contacts and calendar from the Exchange server with no extra requirements.  But if I didn’t need the BES add on, and could find a phone that could do the same thing on Sprint, then I’d be back to $20 less for:

  • Unlimited Data
  • Unlimited Texting (though MMS picture messaging is not available on the iPhone on AT&T yet)
  • 450 minutes (most of the people I call are on Sprint and are free)

And those iPhone friends would also admit:

  • They’d get dropped calls at full signal strength
  • They didn’t get the reception they used to get from another provider in certain areas

So I wasn’t all that keen for jumping on the AT&T bandwagon.  Besides, even if I returned the Tour, canceled my new two year contract, I still had eight or so months on my old contract and it would have been supposedly $200 to cancel.  The possibility of going back to the 8830 and waiting those eight months had crossed my mind, but I’m a geek and “Want shiny new stuff now!”

So after playing with one in the store and talking to the store staff, I ended up paying $85 ($50 more for the phone and a $35 restocking fee on the Tour) and walking out with the Palm Pre.


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