As I look back over the year, one of the questions that was asked quite often by RIMarkable readers was when is the BlackBerry xxxx coming to Nextel? The last Nextel BlackBerry to hit the street was the BlackBerry 7100i over a year ago back in Q4 and many sources say that Sprint / Nextel have no intention of releasing another Nextel BlackBerry running on the iDEN network.
One thing that I have learned over the passed two years of blogging about BlackBerrys is that the only people that love their devices more then die-hard BlackBerry users are die-hard Nextel BlackBerry users. The number of Nextel BlackBerry users that have no intention of moving to another carrier or even over to the Sprint side of the house until Sprint forces them to move while kicking and screaming is impressive to say the least.
I am a Verizon BlackBerry user so I kind of know how Nextel BlackBerry users feel. With Verizon, however, you know that there is light at the end of the tunnel because new devices will eventually come out a year or so later. Nextel BlackBerry users, on the other hand, have no light. At least none has been rumored that we know of.
I think the big issue for many Nextel BlackBerry subscribers is that they are business users and their companies have built a lot of process around Nextel’s nationwide walkie-talkie service. Taking this feature away from many users is like taking their mobile device all together.
One rumor that we have heard is that Sprint may be working on a BlackBerry that supports both CDMA and iDEN, however, we don’t believe that the walkie-talkie feature works inter-network. I think if Sprint came out with a CDMA BlackBerry that supported walkie-talkie communication with users still on the iDEN network, Nextel BlackBerry users would start switching in droves; not so much because Nextel BlackBerry users want to switch to Sprint, but because they know that they will eventually have no choice and those that didn’t move to the SureType BlackBerry 7100i, are working on devices over 2-4 years old.