Why the heck are BlackBerrys insanely overpriced in the US?

A Cnet article today saw senior writer Roger Cheng complain about the “crazy” prices of the new BlackBerrys.

My first reaction was, “huh?” The new BlackBerry Bold 9900 goes for around $160 on a 3-year contract, which is on par with the iPhone and other top-end smartphones.

But apparently this is a Canadian deal only.

Down in America, T-Mobile is selling the new Bold for $300—yes, that’s with a contract. At best, can get it down to $250 with one of those a lousy mail-in rebate.

So what gives? The iPhone tends to be the standard-setter for high prices, and even it caps out at $200 on a full-term contract. Anything above that threshold seems ludicrous, especially for a company like RIM who is desparate to stay relevant.

The mobile space is one that’s highly competitive nowadays, and prices matter. Fact is, anyone but the most faithful of BlackBerry users will pay this sort of insane premium. What is RIM thinking?

The Waterloo tech firm may have to pull an HP—that is, launch an overpriced item (Touchpad) and quickly drop the price on underwhelming sales. (Note: this did not boost sales for HP.)

It’s difficult to say why the carriers would do such a thing, considering we Canadians have the same phones for a good $100-plus cheaper. What differences could account for such a sharp contrast in subsidization?