Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Verizon Wireless, The BlackBerry 8830 World Edition Smartphone, & The GPS Safety Net

There is just so much I can stand when it comes to companies trying to make a buck! I especially eschew any attempt by a company to negate my personal safety when it comes to use of the Global Positioning System.

Let me be succinct: I bought a BlackBerry 8830 World Edition smartphone through Verizon Wireless this past summer, complete with a two-year customer service contract, to boot!

I bought this email-oriented PDA phone to be a do-it-all solution for my phone, email, and GPS Location Based needs. There are many fine third-party programs available for BlackBerry, and they are increasing in number each year. Some of the more notable software includes the following:

  1. BlackBerry Maps (A mapping and location lookup tool produced by Research In Motion, the company that makes the BlackBerry handsets. Enabled for phone calls from location searches.)
  2. Google Maps (Another mapping and location lookup solution used by a majority of BlackBerry owners nationwide. I use it constantly, and can make a phone call from the location listing when it appears.)
  3. MapQuest Navigator (While not specifically for the 8830 model (yet), I was able to install it, MapQuest Navigator being a Third Party J2ME Software Application, capable of being used on many J2ME Java Based Handsets. The software recognizes the GPS Chip Hardware on the 8830, but alas, can not access the GPS Data Stream, due to Verizon Wireless disabling this feature at the firmware (software-on-chip) level. This program has a GPS Satellite Screen Dialog, which shows that is "Acquiring Satellites." Due to Verizon Wireless negating the GPS Chip Hardware Dataflow, MapQuest Navigator's satellite screen only shows that the software is "Acquiring Satellites," but never does.
{Technical Note: The GPS Chip Hardware Dataflow is not an easy feature for the average end-user to re-enable, themselves, and requires an extensive knowledge base of information to perform successfully. One needs to have extensive knowledge of computer programming at the very least.}

What this means to me as a Blackberry Power User can not be overstated enough: It completely negates my overall safety net and performance goals for this phone on this network. All that Verizon Wireless has to do is enable GPS and negate their stand that they do this for 'security reasons'--an argument that has very little merit, considering the fact that the lack of GPS on this GPS-Native handset does just that!

To this end, I am considering filing a complaint of criminal negligence against Verizon Wireless if they don't re-enable my GPS Data Stream IN FULL so that other applications of my choice can access the GPS Data Stream from the GPS Chipset on my BlackBerry 8830 World Edition smartphone.

Please understand this: I Like Verizon, overall! I do not have any beef with the coverage, or the high-speed EV-DO network. Fact is, I'm with Verizon because of that very same EV-DO network!

However, the negation of the GPS Data Stream from the on-board GPS Chipset Hardware negates my full-enjoyment of this phone for both Safety--as well as my favorite sport: Geocaching! (Click HERE for more information on Geocaching).

I've been thinking of writing an application for Geocaching enthusiasts who happen to own BlackBerry handsets. This software would also, as a GPS Enabled Application, allow BlackBerry owners with GPS Enabled Handsets, to use the application as a stand-alone GPS application; it would be complete with a traditional GPS Satellite Page (which has a world graphic with satellite positions with their signal strengths), a Compass Page (which has a Compass Graphic, shows To and From Information Fields, and the like. Geocaching Information, as well, would be available, including use for something called Pocket Queries. (See the GPS FAQ Link Above for information on Pocket Queries.)

I can not do this when the carrier negates the Native GPS Safety and Enhancement features of the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, or when Qualcomm negates the ability of the same handset to use the GPS features when the phone is in overseas GSM Mode. Why would anyone in their right mind negate GPS Location Information for a client base that does international traveling?

GPS IS International! GPS Location Information IS Safety! GPS Mapping Software IS A Safety Solution for Overseas Travelers! Disabling native-GPS features on an so-called worldband phone in any mode is Just Plain Stupid, Idiotic, and Negligent!

I am going to go forward with this matter if I do not receive satisfaction! Please Stay Tuned!

=-Warm Regards from The Humble Fishe-=

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