BlackBerry 8830 GPS disabling- Verizon responds

Gpsnav2Earlier this month I posted about the RIM BlackBerry 8830 that I purchased from Verizon only to discover that the integrated GPS had been disabled by the carrier.  There is much lamenting and angry buzz from Verizon customers who were also "taken" by this decision to disable this rather cool feature.  I received a response from Patrick Kimball of Verizon explaining the situation with the 8830:

There are a couple of points that I’d like like to make in regard to this issue.

GPS is not disabled on the 8830. It can still be used for E-911 location so that emergency services personnel can locate the caller when they call 911. What is restricted is the ability of unapproved 3rd party applications to utilize the GPS functionality. It’s less a matter of our blocking 3rd party applications from being used on our devices and more a case of our having a rigorous process for ensuring that any 3rd party application that is used on the devices that we sell has been thoroughly tested to ensure that it meets our standards. This process ensures that the applications work properly on our network and devices, that our technical support staff are prepared to support them and prevents things like viruses from getting onto our network. Location Based Services such as VZ Navigator are not available on the 8830 yet but we do plan to implement them in the future.

I realize that this is frustrating for users, especially the more technically savvy, that would like to download applications to their handsets but the process that we have in place is designed to provide the best possible experience for our customers in terms of reliability and supportability and also to ensure that the applications pose no risk to the device or to our network.

Hope that helps clarify things….

I will share my response here with you:

Thanks for clarifying Verizon’s position, Patrick.  The problem with that reasoning stems from the fact that RIM has a Maps application pre-installed on the 8830 which is designed to be used with the integrated GPS.  That functionality has been disabled by Verizon.  The GPS if enabled could also be used with Google Maps, an online application that is popular world-wide and would surely meet any standards that Verizon might prescribe to.  I appreciate your response but in light of the fact that both Sprint and AT&T find the integrated GPS to pose no threat to their networks it is even more difficult to understand Verizon’s position with this.

So it definitely appears that Verizon will be offering the VZ Navigator service in the future for use with the GPS on the 8830.  I would like to thank Patrick for responding about this delicate situation and further state that I’ve met him and he is a really nice guy so don’t shoot the messenger.