∞ AT&T blocks BlackBerry Bridge from PlayBook users

When RIM introduced the PlayBook, it did so without an email client, but not to worry you can download BlackBerry Bridge and tether the PlayBook to your BlackBerry. Or maybe not.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]It seems that AT&T may be blocking the BlackBerry Bridge due to tethering restrictions, according to CrackBerry.com. Even a note on BlackBerry’s App World says the BlackBerry Bridge software is supported by all carriers, except AT&T.

What does this mean? Well, the PlayBook users on AT&T can’t check email at all.

Perhaps RIM didn’t do its homework on which carriers would allow PlayBook to BlackBerry tethering. But that doesn’t make much sense, does it?

BlackBerry App World has a note on launch day that the software isn’t supported on AT&T, so did RIM know and just not tell its customers?

  • Anonymous

    It’s not fair . . . . . it’s just not fair. This is the end of my comment . . . .

    • silencets

      I find your lack of faith disturbing….

  • Damn this just gets funnier and funnier / worse and worse. Do i catch a whiff of contempt from RIM?

    edit: spelling

  • This is just sad. Carriers should be regulated the way they were before their lobbyists bought them control over how we use the bandwidth we pay for.

    You want to do business in this sector, under protection from our laws? Here are the rules you play by.

    • As a customer I trust carriers and landline providers just as much as I trust the financial analyst company “Dewey, Fuckyou & Howe” *

      Google enjoys the same level of trust and as a customer, RIM is slowly but steadily climbing down the stairs towards Google.

      • This is a pun from Robin Williams 2010 standup program “Weapons of Self-Destruction”
      • Gustav

        It’s a play on the old phrase “Dewey, Cheatem’, and Howe” that hails back to at least The Three Stooges.

        • silencets

          Actually goes as far back as the Marx Brothers. Groucho said it a couple of times in different sketches

    • Anonymous

      “Carriers should be regulated the way they were before….” Do you mean like when AT&T and Verizon were one company, and regulators would not let them sell phones with embedded computer chips?

      • No, I meant way before that. When anti-trust regulations meant that enough representatives in Congress had the conscience and the balls to break up a company that had become too big for anyone to support.

        • silencets

          You mean like Standard Oil?

  • Glenn Fleishman

    They can use Web apps at email hosts, because, you know, Steve Jobs once said Web apps are just as good as native apps.

    • Scruff

      I’m not sure you can check your BlackBerry email account via the web. Googling this seems to show up that the best thing to do is to auto-forward your blackberry emails to another account with web access. Of course you can use a regular gmail account, but your secure blackberry email appears to be only accessible via the device itself.

    • Anonymous

      Balls. The 2007 and iPhone had a NATIVE email app — it didn’t depend on webmail. Four years later, in 2011, RIM still can’t even copy the 2007 iPhone. Beyond pathetic.

  • To this situation let me say the following:


    How stupid can RIM actually be? I feel pity for their customers, but not an ounce for RIM.

    For AT&T using customers, PIM and email has just been degraded from a “non-integral part of the experience” to “we wanted to reduce the complexity and help users concentrate by reducing distractions”

  • Did they REALLY think AT&T and Verizon would let them get away with a feature that “allows you to tether without incurring additional costs”? I’m only slightly surprised that AT&T did it on the day that the Playbook came out.

    Can’t side load the Amazon App store onto your phone, and can’t use your Playbook to check e-mail (CHECK E-MAIL! That has always been RIM’s killer feature!) AT&T. The network that you can’t do anything on.

    The US desperately needs more competition in the mobile phone industry. But yet AT&T is the one buying T-Mobile. Can anyone get us out of this mess?

  • Just came back from the local Telus store, where they were unboxing and attempting to boot their demo Playbook; all they got was a flashing red light and no start up. Day one and they (the front line sales force) were already calling technical support. They tried installing the Bridge app on a Bold only to be told that Telus is not an approved carrier. So I don’t think they were doing too many amazing demos for walk-in traffic today…. Maybe RIM needs a Genius Bar of their own to help support/sell the product?

  • Anonymous

    Stupid should hurt, and in this case there must be a world of it north of the border.

  • Mattock

    Looks like RIM has their own “bridge to nowhere”.

    • The only possible response to your comment is:


  • $330AShareMakesMeWeep>8.-.(..

    RIM’s petulant CEO Lazaridis might just have another hissy fit and claim that AT&T is out to screw his company. He might be right about that.

  • I Hate AT&T, their policies make no sense. If we pay for data we should get to use it however we want. I was thinking that Bridge worked over Bluetooth. So why in the hell is AT&T blocking the app?! Does it work over a data connection as well or something?

    • kibbles

      because theyre scoundrels.

      you are absolutely correct — its YOUR data that you PAID for… tethering should not even be a concern. elsewhere in the world this is the case. i dont know how we got to this point in the usa.

  • AT&T and RIM both trying to rip the consumer off and tripping over each other to do it. It’s almost comical. This incident just shows that congress needs to get involved and regulate these idiots. AT&T should never be allowed to buy T-Mobile. Ever.

  • dylan

    What??? That’s $#%ing bull $!$#

  • Dylan

    What if you have a jailbroken iphone? Could you still make a bridge than?

  • Jth9234

    This is terrible for Playbook owners or potential PB owners. I am starting to think this is why the Co-CEO’s were looking really nervous in recent days, they knew this would happen. Really, mixed reviews pale in comparison to AT&T holding their data hostage over RIM.

    People in other countries don’t pay through the nose to tether, hot spot or whatever. Here in America, greedy evil AT&T is trying to figure out a way to ripoff consumers… again!

    Despite what clueless shill fanboy tech critics knocked about the PB is what really separated PB from the other Tablets is the Bridge feature, without that, its just another Tablet.

    AT&T should be ashamed of themselves and those that are into the BB platform should leave AT&T when they get the chance. So should iPhone users for entirely different reasons!

  • Jetsme

    Such ignorance on this site!

    “What does this mean? Well, the PlayBook users on AT&T can’t check email at all.” Of course they can!

    AT&T are being boneheads because they are used to getting paid their $20/mo. tethering fees by Apple worshipers, who are quite used to being overcharged by their overlords over at Apple. If the Bridge App can’t be downloaded from AT&T, people will find it elsewhere and download it over the air. Oh yeah, and no iLunaticTunes required!


    • Jth9234

      Even so, regular consumers that aren’t checking crackberry.com every 30 seconds for word arounds should be pissed. This is corporate greed at its worst. At least they should have worked out the figures and limits before launch with the carriers.

      I mean, could you get around all of these limits, yea probably with a little know how, but you shouldn’t have to. Its like the Playbook’s best features are hidden and suppressed by corporate greed.

      Not just AT&T either, Hulu and Netflix won’t let you go to their sites? WTF? Isn’t Hulu free anyway? I mean they make you watch commercials, right? Its RIM vs. the world over attempting to steal some amrket share from Apple?

      Why all the Apple love from corporate America and RIM hate? One device is limited and needs phone apps to make things work properly, the other has all the technological capabilities of a laptop, but is being intentionally block for no goos reason!

    • Jetsme, I’d like to introduce you to Jth9234. I’m sure you’ll find you have a lot in common, including tossing out resentful, categorical insults about whole groups of people you don’t know.

      Don’t forget to invite the rest of us to your engagement party.

      • Jetsme

        Whole groups of people? Do you mean Apple worshipers (aka fan boys)? They deserve the insult for making comments like, “What does this mean? Well, the PlayBook users on AT&T can’t check email at all.” or for condoning the AT&T madness by taking pleasure from consumers whose freedom was taken away.

        • Nobody sane condones what abusive carriers do. Please stop conflating separate issues and projecting your resentment upon the motives of people you don’t know.

          • Jetsme

            Well excuse me, but the “separate issues” were conflated together in this article to derive an erroneous and misleading conclusion, which simply highlights the Apple fanboys’ arrogant, ignorant and short-sighted motives.

          • What’s misleading? RIM bragged about a capability that they didn’t clear with a major carrier first. That capability eliminates one of the reasons why anyone would want to use their new device, whether for so-called “business” or “consumer” purposes.

            Had this happened to Apple during the iPad’s launch last year, would you be any less critical?

          • Jetsme

            Just because AT&T prevented the Bridge from being downloaded does not mean the “bragged” about capability is not there. AT&T users can still get the capability over the air. Apple did launch with a major deficiency – no Flash – and I still got the device, so to answer your question, I would still be just as objective. However, the verdict we get about AT&T’s little hissy fit, is the PlayBook “can’t check emails. Is that critical or downright misleading?

            Look, I tried using the iPad in the enterprise – used it to remote into servers, to join GotoMeeting sessions, and even to make Skype calls. The iPad does any one of these things well and perhaps even any one plus Skype ok (the audio seems to be fairly independent so Skype worked ok in the background though muffled). However, doing any of these things concurrently with one another and the iPad breaks down – the remote desktop and GotoMeeting sessions got disconnected as soon as I switch away and the Skype quality degrades significantly.

            So, perhaps if I was reviewing the iPad from the enterprise perspective, I should also call it “useless” as well? On the contrary, I don’t feel that way. The iPad has its purpose – for me, it has been more on the entertainment and knowledge seeking side (reading news, etc.). The PlayBook will serve its purpose – for me, it will be more for doing to work, but perhaps I can also sneak in the odd entertainment and knowledge seeking as well, who knows.

            My beef is with one-track minded people (“fanboys”) dissing a product that is outside of their zone simply because it is different from their beloved device. Every little misstep is amplified by these folks and it seems to give them great pleasure in doing so. Perhaps it’s a mentality of American vs. Canadian, or Apple vs. RIM.

        • kibbles

          ah, so the 15 MILLION iPad customers last year are ALL FANBOYS!

          yeah, sure, buddy.

          • Jetsme

            Ah, a fanboy speaks. Did I say all iPad owners are fanboys, fanboy? By the way, don’t call me buddy, you condescending fool.

  • Jth9234

    Carriers do it though bc Apple fanboys have supported iPads in droves with all the carrier abuse that comes with the iPad!

    If Apple fans were as sophisticated as they all thought they were, this would never happen. Other countries, phone hotspot features and tethering features are free!

    Why? If they weren’t free, reasonable people wouldn’t pay through the nose every month to use a built in feature that requires no extra data or costs!

    Many Apple fans just aren’t reasonable people. But they buy Apple products believing the hype and think that means they automatically have the best tech and there are no superior alternatives that actually work better for them.

    I am not knocking Apple or there products, they are generally good. I am knocking the clueless Apple fanboys that will pay for everthing, get fleeced, and then it creates a market for anyone from Apple to the greedy carriers to charge for every little thing!

    • So now you’re blaming Apple for the inordinate amount of power that carriers have in America. Brilliant.

  • Jth9234

    Never blamed Apple, I actually complimented Apple in the last paragraph, reading comprehension not something you are good at, huh?

    I blamed “Apple fanboys”, by just running out and never thinking about the the pros and cons of each purchase they make, but buy it bc it says “Apple” on it, they create a market of stupidity. So here in America we are paying for things like “tethering” and “hotspots” bc of strong sales of impractical devices.

    • kibbles

      hmm yes all the 15 MILLION iPad customers just rushed out and bought them because they’re mindless lemmings programmed by a secret apple brain signal, and not a huge, diverse cross-section of people from all walks of life that simply find value in the tools they buy for their own needs.

      seriously bonehead, do you even think before you type? or do you just put fingers to keys and see what shits out?

    • So the reason American carriers are so abusive is due to an entire consumer market segment’s gullibility, and not because our broken Congress has, over the past 15 years, seen fit to allow mobile companies to essentially regulate themselves. Got it.

      I suppose you have a more “reasonable” group of people you prefer to associate with, while you fight the good fight for the rest of us. Jth, you’re simply too noble for this world.

      • Jth9234

        There can be more reasons, its a bit simple minded to suggest only one reason. Are the US carriers greedy and generally unregulated? Yes, I agree with you 100% there.

        But in addition to that obvious problem, there has to be enough of a demand by US consumers to get fleeced by a feature that no other countries pay for. The American consumer appears to be gullible when it comes to marketing and is bombarded with ads, commercials, and a corporate run media.

        I am not saying Apple products suck, for the most part they are good. But the hype and buzz it generates for each product launch by ignorant fanboys create a market for abuse by the carriers.

        I mean one of the biggest Apple launches ever was the AT&T iPhone4. Looking back now, that was a very flawed device, yet was hyped beyond belief. Fans bought it in droves despite antenna problems, dropped calls, and problems in accidentally turning it off if you held it to you face.

        These are not petty nitpicked problems like we see shills for Apple point out for competitor’s products, these were major flaws in the actual phone! It is first and foremost a phone, right? But no one cared, it went on to be the single best selling model phone ever, bc like I said, Apple fanboys tend to be illogical and gullible.

        • I’m glad you agree it’s simple-minded to suggest there’s only one reason, if only for that one topic. While we’re both using hyperbolic rhetoric, let’s try to remember how many other issues we disagree upon have multiple causes.

          And let’s not bring up the shrilly-echoed “antennagate” issue, please. It’s a lot of work to pretend that no other smartphones have ever suffered from antenna problems. While I admire your effort to that end, I’m really tired of “swift-boat” propaganda that lingers long after it has been disproved.

          The average present-day American consumer is the end-product of thirty years of deliberate budget cuts to public education, aided by a teacher’s union which (while necessary in theory) has served to perpetuate teacher mediocrity instead of weeding it out. What this means to me is that you can’t explain anything to the majority of our population that will require concepts that take more than a few seconds to describe. Which is one of the reasons why many of our most popular entertainments have become even more inane than they were when I was a child.

          That said, there’s one thing you can’t take away from people, whether they reside in an idiocracy or not. That one thing is the desire for convenience. If you make people undergo inconvenience, they will turn away from it at the earliest opportunity that clearly presents itself, even if you expend a ton of effort to blame the victim for their problems.

          Consumers will suffer for years with inferior work, whether in electronics or personal computer operating systems, until they see an alternative that presents fewer obstacles to merely getting through their day while attempting to rely upon technology that has made certain promises of conveniently-attained assistance. Many people who saw iPhones demonstrated realized that they’d been suffering unnecessarily. They switched. Many other people who saw Macintosh computers demonstrated came to similar conclusions after years of being made to feel like morons because a device which had been sold to them (as a consumer product) was designed to operate safely and reliably only when maintained by trained IT staff.

          You can call that “illogical” if you like. Apple makes stuff that is easier to use for people who aren’t geeks. Just because you’re not one of those people doesn’t mean you have to disparage them in such an immature manner.

          • Jth9234

            Without getting into it on social issues in education and unions, which I could agree on much of that, but this is a tech site, so I’ll skip that.

            The stuff you wrote about Apple products bringing a convenience and an intuitiveness is dead on. They do tend to excel in those areas. But that doesn’t make them perfect or the best for everyone, everytime. Thats just insanity.

            But the complaints regarding the AT&T iPhone4 was not propaganda, that is quite real. At my job it is the phone of choice, but not for the phone which everyone with the AT&T model seems to universally agree, sux and is unreliable. No, they like the apps and ease of use as an overall media device, thats where its really good. The common quote I hear is “Its like they designed an iPod Touch and just added a phone as an afterthought”

            But in many ways the Sprint HTC EVO which came out around the same time, the media type stuff as well, if not better. Yea, it isn’t linked into iTunes, but besides that which you can easily work around in so many ways, but as a media device and phone it is better in many ways. Its similar to the iPhone4 in being a touch screen only device.

            For someone like me, I need a QWERTY keyboard, so the iPhone4 and any other gimped touchscreen only phones just aren’t going to cut it, since it would take me a half hour to compose an email trying to touch type. So thats why I am more likely to stick with the Bllackberry line of phones. Yea, past models had that annoying battery pull out reboot when it freezes, past models had shytty browsers and were slow. The BB Torch 9800 with AT&T tough, I must say, web browser rivals any other non-flash phone I have seen, the thing never froze on me, never pulled the battery out.

            On top of that, it has a QWERTY keyboard, touchscreen, trackpad. You can dl apps OTA off the browser, on the app world, or through an AT&T app. Its easily syncs all your iTunes off your computer through BB desktop manager and can do it wirelessly, so its no trouble. Of course its great for any emails/texts/messaging, etc. and QWERTY keyboard just makes it that much sweeter. Great phone, but it received mixed reviews when it came out bc of tech specs???? I mean seriously, these are phones, not super computers, it runs well and does everything I need it to do flawlessly, great phone, great media, great email, great messaging, great UI, love it.

            Better device, iPhone4 or BB Torch 9800? I would say Torch, but I would be in the minority…

          • This is indeed a tech site, but nothing we’re discussing has happened in a vacuum, unaffected by social issues.

            All I really needed to hear from you was “for someone like me.” I can ignore personal anecdotes passed off as universal evidence and hyperbolic generalization posing as universal truth. So can you.

            I don’t think you’ll find very many people here trying to sway anyone who understands their own needs into changing their minds about their personal choices. Nobody here is claiming that the iPad or the iPhone is for everyone. The “better device” has always depended upon what you’re used to, what you need now, and what you’re willing to put up with. That’s true for everybody.

            Doesn’t matter if you’re in the minority right now, either. The market is huge, and it’s not a zero-sum game. Much of the trash-talk that gets thrown back and forth between fans of different platforms comes out of defensive insecurity. Worry that the champion they’ve chosen will get sidelined and disappear. That’s unlikely. None of the big players is going away any time soon.

            My chief complaints are about device makers who saw a “new” market about to open up, waited for Apple to do something different, imitated them poorly, and rushed something to market that wasn’t ready for release, all the while spewing their own trash-talk, making claims they couldn’t live up to, and then making excuses for the discrepancy. It’s what business-school grads are trained to do, it seems.

            The Playbook might become something really good… eventually. I’m actually hoping it does; as I’ve said, Apple needs better competition. But right now RIM’s shiny new toy is an illustration of bad decision-making.

          • dvdphn

            $40 Hard QWERTY keyboard for iPhone. http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/cellphone/e66e/

            Sure, it’s a pricey accessory, but it is what it is, (don’t know if it’s good for touch typists though, but at least it’s more spacious than your standard Blackberry keyboard).

            The only real problem I’ve seen with the iPhone 4 is the proximity sensor thing.

            I would think if you squeezed the antenna of any cellphone, it would have an effect on the phone’s signal reception.

            As for the other two points, I’d argue that it’s the carrier to blame for poor network signal and dropped calls, (then again, I wouldn’t know because I live in the Toronto area, Ontario, Canada, so all our big carriers have good coverage).

            And I would also blame the carriers for the tethering thing too, cause Apple/RIM allow their devices to do it, but it’s the carriers who’d want to put a price on it, (luckily this is not the case for Canadians, http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wireless-products/tethering , http://support.bell.ca/en-on/Mobility/Smartphones_and_mobile_internet/How_to_tether_my_BlackBerry_PlayBook_to_a_smartphone , http://www.telusmobility.com/en/ON/blackberry_curve_learn/tips.shtml?eVar6=link).

            Sure, it was hyperbolic of Mr. Dalrymple to exclaim that AT&T Playbook users can’t check their e-mail, (cause they can, through the browser… probably through Wi-Fi only since AT&T blocked tethering).

            But the question is, if AT&T blocked the bridging software, does that mean AT&T Playbook users don’t have access to the “bridge” apps? (E-mail, contacts, calendar, etc.)

            And one would wonder, what about the other Playbook models, (WiMax, LTE, HSPA+)? Would they also have to be bridged to a Blackberry phone to gain access to those particular apps?

            It would be nice if Apple made a bridge app to be used on all its devices as well, (don’t know what for, but the idea is nice).

  • Some iOS apps run on all iOS devices, some don’t. That’s not an accident. Programs whose interfaces are meant for a larger touchscreen will only generate criticism and foolishness if allowed to run on a handset. Bridging them makes no sense.

    • dvdphn

      Mainly I was just thinking of wirelessly syncing notes, contacts, and calendar between iPhone and iPad.

      It’s a pity that iPad doesn’t have the clock app, cause I would have liked to have alarms and timer capabilities, (this was before I got my iPhone). Plus, Voice Memo would have been nice too. I know the interface would be weird, but Apple would probably make it look great, (alarm clock function/display option in addition to photo slideshow while charging? Voice Memo to show list of saved memos and time lapse, maybe oscilloscope, just to make use of all the screen space, maybe a simplified version of iMovie, since Voice Memo is audio only).

      Oh! Maybe some type of movie making mode when iPhone is connected… but now that the iPad has cameras, there’s no need for that.

      I wasn’t actually thinking of special iOS “bridge” apps, since there really isn’t a need for bridging (in the Blackberry sense), especially now that iPhone has that hotspot function.