You’ve probably heard by now that Cingular has just released the new BlackBerry 7130c and, along with it, a new service plan called the BlackBerry Personal Plan.
The new BlackBerry Personal Plan from Cingular offers customers direct and easy access to their Internet e-mail accounts for as low as $29.99 per month. The plan is designed solely for use with the newly enhanced BlackBerry Internet ServiceTM (note: this plan excludes access to BlackBerry Enterprise ServerTM). In addition, customers can select the new, EDGE-enabled BlackBerry 7130c handset for as low as $199.99. The solution, which will be available beginning next week in Cingular retail stores, is ideal for on-the-go consumers such as young professionals who need to stay in touch and parents who spend their days juggling work and family activities.
The question that I have is if the new BlackBerry Personal Plan is a sign of more consumer friendly BlackBerries to come?
Personally, I think that the current line of BlackBerry devices, the 7130c included, are much more compelling when they are hooked up to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server. I am already on the record for saying that as a mobile phone, the BlackBerry is average at best.
Although I agree with Cinglar’s executive director of mobile professional solutions, Mike Woodward, when he says “Clearly wireless email can benefit more than just corporations”, I think that RIM has to offer more compelling features on upcoming BlackBerry models if it is going to sway the consumer that just wants to be able to check email while on the go if they can get more “mobilephonelike” features on other devices.
When you take BES out of the mix, RIM has stiff competition in the consumer wireless email market from the likes of Microsoft, Palm, Nokia, and Motorola. The release of BlackBerry Personal Plan may be the entrance of Research in Motion into the consumer market from a pricing standpoint. Lets hope that it will be soon followed by an entrance of new consumer oriented hardware options to that market as well.