JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) launched a crippled WiFi service Tuesday – well ahead of schedule, since it seemed in July that JetBlue WiFi wasn't going to arrive until 2010. So props to them for getting this thing off the ground before Row44 and AirCell and Panasonic are really in business. But really, the idea of limiting WiFi usage to Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) Mail and the Research in Motion's (RIMM) Blackberry Curve – that's just pathetic. I can understand that JetBlue might have bandwidth issues which means it doesn't want everybody surfing the web at the same time. But there should be some way of allowing anybody to email text-only messages without limiting usage to those passengers with Yahoo accounts.
Caroline McCarthy describes the JetBlue offering as "an ultra-low-end mobile browser" – and it seems to be a pretty unreliable one at that. I don't think the Row44 people are going to be at all worried by this competition, and I'm still looking forward to real in-flight WiFi early next year.