I keep getting the impression that having a BB on BIS is like having a castrated, retarded BB (posts keep coming back and saying "get BES and it will work"). Does the current iteration of BIS with Cingular work well?
No, having BIS is not having a retarded berry. I can surf the internet at lightning speeds, have all my e-mail pushed to my device, utilize 3rd party data apps. I'm speaking for T-MO BIS 2.0, and I know that cingular is in the process of upgrading to 2.0 and dropping the price on the unlimited plan (This news actually prompted my decision to switch to cingular asap).
IM: I think that the IM thing has been figured out on here no? What I'm unclear on is if I was to sign up today and get new service what steps will I have to take to get IM working with IM+ or Verichat? Are Mark Rejhon's directions for TCP/IP setup up to date (in the first post in that thread). Long story short, I don't want to have to fart around getting apps working. Again, refer back to my concerns about the solution to all problems apparently being "get BES."
IM works great on BB. The best part is, there are so many options to choose from, as you can use any of the multitude of 3rd party apps (Ramble by SRA works the best for me for AIM). As to your question of universal clients, I found IM+ to be the program with the least amount of dropped connections, and there's also instructions floating around about how to configure google talk to handle all your IM accounts (also, it's free!)
Foreign Language: Specifically Japanese. I want/need the ability to read and input Japanese. I know that NTT offers their Namimail application which will soon support input on 8700's. Has anyone used it? If so, does it work well? What about support from RIM? I noticed that Japan is getting BB soon. Is it possible to just add on a language input method like in a desktop OS and switch between them easily (Chinese for example)?
like erica stated, I've never had the need.. but i have seen many languages as an option to load on the application loader.
Mail: I know that BB mail is supposedly bulletproof. However, I do remember seeing something on here about Cingular BIS not allowing you to select different outgoing addresses when sending mail (only one available). Is that still the case?
Long story short, I want a mobile for communication and it needs to just plain work the way it ought to all the time.
I believe this was the case with the old BIS. However, the new 2.0 BIS gives you the ability to change that option.
as far as working the way it ought to all the time. I can say that the BlackBerry OS is known for it's rock-solid stability. Unlike the myriad of complaints on the Treo series and other smartphones, it's EXCEEDINGLY rare (to the point of it's never ever happened to me) for a BB to "crash" or "freeze"