Thanks for the the replies. To clarify, I'm not averse to installing additional applications but I want to be sure they will work before I plunk down the money on the platform. There just seemed to be a lot of ambiguity in the posts I had read about what things would work with what carriers and so forth.
I'm actually kind of suprised that given how many small businesses use AIM and such for work communication that RIM doesn't have a more robust first party universal application available for add on.
My options at this point are limited to a BB or some kind of WM device. Having owned PocketPCs before I'm hesitant to go that way even though the Motorola Q with Verizon seems interesting. Treos, while always judged highly in reviews, seem to be pretty weak sauce in real life (my friend hates his).
I have no problem with Cingular, I prefer them in fact. I'd mostly wish that they'd offer the Danger Hiptop, but one can't make phone decisions based on hopes and dreams can they
I don't need the flashy stuff most modern phones offer like cameras and the like. I just need the mobile communication stuff and the BB seemed like the best option if I could get all of the things I listed working in a usable form.