We’ll chalk this one up in the unsubstantiated rumour column for now, but word on Howard Forums is that Bell is crippling the BlackBerry Maps application on handsets on purpose. The rationale, as the rumour goes, is that the $10/month paid GPS service from Bell will look that much better compared to the free option from Research in Motion.
We know that certain cellular providers have a tendency to cripple their handsets so that you are forced (or at least feel more inclined) to partake in their paid services instead. This comes in the form of not being able to use your own custom-made ringtones for example. By making the BlackBerry Maps application less appealing, Bell BlackBerry users may opt for the $10 service and Bell pockets an extra $10 every month.
So, what is the nature of the crippling? They say that BlackBerry Maps can take anywhere from two to ten minutes to get a satellite lock, rather than the usual 15-20 seconds. This effectively renders BB Maps to be incredibly frustrating to use. I’d imagine that this reflects poorly on RIM too, so the devicemaker may have something to say to Bell about the matter.