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Saturday, November 08, 2008

AT&T Messing Up Blackberries with Marketing Messages

My plane lands at Los Angeles International Airport on a Friday afternoon...

As soon as we clear the runway, I pull out my Blackberry 8800 device from A&T and turn it on to see the emails I received while I was airborne...

The Blackberry starts-up, the familiar GPS --> GPRS --> edge --> EDGE network starts up...

Then my Blackberry looks like it is going crazy. In no more than 5 seconds, 8 new Internet Browser icons show up on my Blackberry device.

It looked something like this (taking a photo afterwards):
AT&T adds a swath of marketing icons to your Blackberry: Community, Shop Applications, Shop Themes, Shop Games, Shop Graphics, Shop Multimedia, Music Apps, Shop Tones
At first, I thought something was wrong with the Blackberry and that my standard "Browser" icon somehow started duplicating itself all over the place. I was not getting any of the emails yet and hitting the Escape key and that would not stop it. So, I just waited.

Once it finished and the messages started coming in, I noticed that the icons were still there. Then as I scrolled over them I noticed they had some interesting names: Community, Shop Applications, Shop Themes, Shop Games, Shop Graphics, Shop Multimedia, Music Apps, Shop Tones.

What the heck was this?

Apparently, someone at AT&T (on my still labeled Cingular device) had a "brilliant" idea that if they pushed a bunch of generic Internet Browser icons down to all of their devices with catchy names like "Shop Games" or "Shop Tones" that somehow many of us would be compelled to use them and make purchases from AT&T, padding their sales and margins.

Fat chance.

Instead, before my flight arrived at the gate -- I successfully hid all of the icons using highlighting each icon, hitting the menu key, and then selecting the "hide application" setting for each. In less than a minute, I restoredmy Backberry's menu screen to what it was before they decided to push all of those icons.
My Blackberry is restored to normal after AT&T pushed application icons:  Community, Shop Applications, Shop Themes, Shop Games, Shop Graphics, Shop Multimedia, Music Apps, Shop Tones
Come on AT&T, if you are going to try to push marketing and icons down to me unrequested and disturb my Blackberry experience -- at least put graphical effort in and push some new icons rather that duplicating a bunch of generic ones.

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