I was really excited to learn that the BlackBerry Bridge is now officially available for AT&T customers in App World. RIM just announced it on their blog and said you may need to search for it in App World to find the download and they will be rolling it out throughout the day. The only problem is that there seems to be one major catch.
RIM seems to be saying that you will need an AT&T tethering plan ($20/month) to be able to use the BlackBerry Bridge browser on AT&T. I am really pissed at AT&T for doing this and even more annoyed at RIM for caving and allowing them to do this. If I already have an AT&T tethering plan than the Bridge Browser is relatively useless unless my BlackBerry is on a BES trying to browse the internal network. RIM should have simply released this app since this is a slippery slope. The second they allow one carrier to charge for the Bridge Browser many more will follow suit.
I want to really thank strangle the RIM employees who decided it was worth throwing their customers under the bus and putting the carrier first. There was really no reason to compromise on this one with AT&T. If every other carrier in the world was fine with the Bridge the way it was why cave to AT&T? Way to go #TeamBlackBerry! Can’t you stick up for your users against AT&T for once?
Here is what RIM has to say about the Bridge Browser:
Another feature of the BlackBerry Bridge application is the ability to browse the Internet on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet using your BlackBerry smartphone’s data connection**. This feature is designed to enable you to access the Internet (or the intranet site of your organization) using your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, even when you’re outside of Wi-Fi® coverage.
** Note: AT&T users must have a tethering plan included with their wireless service plan to take advantage of the Bridge Browser. To enable tethering on your BlackBerry smartphone, go to att.com/mywireless or dial 611.
I guess when AT&T said: “AT&T is working with RIM to make the BlackBerry Bridge app available for AT&T customers. We have just received the app for testing and before it’s made available to AT&T customers we want to ensure it delivers a quality experience,” they meant… AT&T is looking for a way to squeeze more money out of this newfangled “Bridge” app. We will only release it once we find a way to force our favorite lapdog RIM to provide us a way to charge for it. I short “Quality Experience” means “Money in AT&T’s bank.”