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Archive for January, 2011

SIM Locked Phone – Concerns & Thoughts

January 30, 2011 1 comment

SIM card locked phones are sold ONLY by providers – irregardless of region. These phones are SIM card locked for 2 reasons – only which 1 is transparent to the end user; at least initially. Providers usually subsidize the total market retail value of phones to new customers in hopes of increasing user subscriber count, revenues, and recoup the subsidized costs within the first year.

Traditionally providers would approach cellular manufacturers to have their current stock offerings by what is the best hardware or the easiest to market at certain price ranges or demographics. Over the past 10years + its the manufacturers that must plead and aggressively sell their wares to wireless providers – to the point of almost & in many cases bending backwards to the providers’ demands.

SIM card phones by nature have ALWAYS supported more than 1 network band that competing providers either in the same country or abroad support. By their very nature SIM card phones allow the user to travel to other providers or abroad without circumventing the hardware & thus the warranty. Let me put it another factual way … “SIM unlocking cellular phones is NOT against the law (worldwide) nor void the manufacturers’ warranty”!!

So why would an end user really want a SIM card locked phone? Maybe they do not have upwards of $500 to spend for the retail price of a cellular phone. Maybe the end user will not ever move to a competing wireless provider in the foreseeable future. Most likely, especially in this volatile financial market (worldwide again); most users would NEVER want a SIM locked phone.

Here in lies a situation that becomes a SERIOUS problem. Recently, most providers in Canada have partnered with various cellular phone manufacturers to offer a range of phones that are SIM card locked to just whomever is offering it. This is nothing new, but has become an increasing frustration to end users as smart-phones begin to flourish and the mobile OS become increasingly more complex.

The providers use SIM card locking as a tactic to ball-&-chain a user to them over the course of their contract.

Here in Canada, of the 4 largest providers, Rogers & Fido have a new SIM Unlock policy that seemingly is better than having no policy at all; or is it?! Rogers or Fido will allow a SIM card unlock code for $50 with the following criteria:

a) Subscriber has paid the FULL retail value of their phone, or

b) Subscriber has fulfilled the remaining 2/3yrs of their wireless contract agreement, & including …

c) has all current billing charges paid for in full.

Seems good right? Well the price is WRONG!

Let’s say the subscriber was stupid enough to pay the FULL retail price of their smartphone AT the provider (why not just pay the manufacturer directly for their phone, hmm). Now a subscriber wishes to unlock their phone … why should they then pay an ADDITIONAL $50 to do so regardless of the other two conditions being met or not – condition “a” alone should suffice.

Now to add injury to insult, lets just say a subscriber has completed their full contract tenure. The cost of paying in excess of $55/mth for 2/3yrs along is more than sufficient profit for ALL providers per subscriber – yet they’ll STILL charge you $50 just so you can leave them or choose to stay. After 1yr the phone’s warranty is NULL & VOID in the first place, it would be intelligent that market rate price plans for national cellular providers to be able to recoup the subsidy cost of smart-phones during that 1yr period no? Why would THEY incurr a prolonged cost over the normal amortization of the product lifecycle when the manufacturer is no longer obligated to service the unit if returned for warranty purposes by the subscriber?! Hmmm.

To make matters worse … what if the subscriber felt they no longer need or want that phone within their 1-yr warranty and chooses to sell/trade the phone to another user – even on a different provider that that phone/smart-phone supports bands for? This is what would be referred to as the grey market – manufacturers (all except Apple) have deemed that warranty follows the original END-USER not the product. A stupid practice if you ask me – this is where Apple is being practical. So now the new subscriber – also in the same vote as our original subscriber traded their phone with and wishes to use it.

A-HA! There in lies the rub! The new subscriber, on a different carrier has NO ABILITY to use the phone as the original carrier will not recognize them. To put this last point into perspective … I’m on Rogers and chose to trade my phone for a Fido locked phone – thinking I wouldn’t have ANY issues getting it unlocked by the manufacturer – Apple in this case. Rogers Wireless owns Fido which is a wholely owned subsidiary of Rogers … yet FIDO will not unlock it. Apple’s contract with Fido does not permit them to unlock it either and Rogers will do nothing. See where this becomes a problem?!

Some would argue that the phone is not rightfully the end users’ until the contract is fullfilled … yet I’d argue if that’s the case then why are providers trying every possible way to back out of warranty fulfillment – making the excuse that IMEI’s/SERIAL Numbers/PINS are NOT in their database and that each subscriber bring in their sales receipt or warranty hardware upgrade receipt to deal with this mess.

I thought Apple was supposed to CHANGE the phone as we know it, change the industry … yet some things STILL stay the same. A bitter taste to say the least but I prefer the iPhone currently.

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Thank you readers …

January 23, 2011 1 comment

Thank you ALL for stopping by yesterday, much appreciated … definitely feeling the love. I hope to wrote another blog entry soon enough.

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BlackBerry & NFC – Potential

January 21, 2011 3 comments

Ok … this is the post of the month.

A little primer before I begin … BlackBerry Empathy by Daniel Yoon Kiki Tang.

Now this video we all know & love too well. The BlackBerry Empathy concept; not just a device but a vision offering a solution. Unfortunately this is lightyears ahead of current technology – but I like the how the old-school “Mood-Ring” get new age look with Social communication.

BB Empathy - Concept GUI

That’s what sparked my idea – especially with recent rumors of RIM launching high-powered BlackBerry smartphones with NFC.

BB Empathy - 2 piece

In a nutshell NFC is an extremely low-powered, secure, wireless ad-hoc communication. It’s already in use with Capital One, American Express, and many bank MasterCards & imbedded into the plastic. It’s VERY personal since the communication does not initiate until within just a few centimetres and is almost instant.

BB Empathy - NFC Communications

This brings me to my REAL-WORLD concept. Imagine the BlackBerry smartphone and a ring or a simple bracelet tethered together using NFC (not too unsimilar to those used in campaigns such as LiveStrong http://www.livestrong.org/  or Charity Water http://www.charitywater.org). This acts as a live security lock – your hands’ close proximity (almost touching) to to BlackBerry automatically locks the device, move it away a few centimetres (say 4) and the unit automatically password locks again.

This solution solves a LOT of security concerns and can be VERY fast. Both men & women tend to use holsters or their jeans/pants front pockets to carry their BlackBerry’s, and women also will use their purse. 9/10 times the device in either carry locations will not be required to use and thus locked; only in jeans/pants while walking could it unlock but that would be mute since its in a very “secure” and personal region that could not be quickly without a scene taken from you.

BB Empathy - NFC Paired

Toronto is a BIG transport metropolis and at ALL subway stations there is a specific turn-style that allows for an “E-Pass” payment region to tap and walk through. During rush hour Union Station is a complete ZOO – thousands of ppl in less than 20 minutes fiddle and fussing over MetroPasses and Tokens to proper drop or glide through a slot BEFORE they can walk through. A smarpthone lightly-tapped or hovered over and its done – you could do this jogging or speed walking through.

Toronto is also a VERY large BlackBerry user community & not just corporate use either. This would bring value and simple solution to so many users – an application downloaded doing transaction updates to the cloud service – implementing payment options to “refill” your E-Pass payment for NFC use. Heck maybe integrate the BlackBerry Messaging API to send “refill” options to other BBM users.

Daily use:

  • Your kids lost money on school trip yet need to get home – their already going to phone you on their smartphone or BBM you.
  • Your significant other/partner would be ecstatic if you send $$ that they can almost IMMEDIATELY use (no more waiting 30-60mins to receive an email money-transfer just to accept, login to your back account, before being able to use.
  • Integrate this with upcoming BlackBerry Protect to purge the account/BB NFC use should the ring/wrist-band & handheld get stolen from you.

Simple solutions, simple beginnings yet profound enough to change our lives. That is Research In Motion.

Thanks for taking the time to pontificate with me.

 

 

 

 

 

BlackBerry PlayBook – Setup Multi-Tasking

January 15, 2011 2 comments

I LOVE BlackBerry.

This is just another reason why I love BlackBerry … the proper integration of social communication and use in daily life. This commercial truly shows off culture unencumbered and not washed out.

Categories: Uncategorized

BlackBerry, It’s My Prerogative!

January 15, 2011 Comments off

BlackBerry, It’s My Prerogative!

My Prerogative

The most effective tool for mobile communications, the best at keeping organized, and the most efficient smartphone at doing both VERY well. That’s right: BlackBerry.

Many of today’s current smartphone platforms that appeal to the masses in the USA haven’t been around since the PDA days. A PDA is a personal device with no cellular or internet connectivity and was used for applications but primarily for PIM. Due to this today’s new-fad platforms suffer in core PIM functionality – using a nice candy shell to hide huge (and KEY) weakness that most BlackBerry users cannot excuse or live without.

Another key point about BlackBerry is the incredible timely firmware updates and support for the product range. NOT ENOUGH credit goes to their engineering coding team on finding bugs and fixing them, sometimes giving us updates with new features or enhancing current ones – more than expected. Due to these updates, many a BlackBerry fan has been “addicted” and demands updates every week. As the saying goes “give a cookie monster a cookie and he’ll demand milk”.

Has RIM released a product so horrible or a core function so badly implemented that it’s users (in just 1 country alone) and the press had to complain so loudly that a press release and interview for the press had to be done to defend itself?! Hmm I think not.

9700 Theme

So here are the reasons why a die-hard BlackBerry user will return to the platform after tasting forbidden fruit of other platforms realizing its just rotten fruit:

  • Battery Life – uncontested (both by users & the industry)! If you cannot use your shit you loose your shit!
  • Calls – Call quality is almost completely unmatched. Call history pure contact/number is bliss.
  • HTML Email – HTML has been GREATLY impoved with Webkit-Engine; Bravo RIM!
  • Webkit Browser – Thank heaven’s for this. RIM has been the LAST to do this vs competition, but finally it’s here!
  • Design – RIM has made incredible improvements in elegant design, form and appeal of their products. My fingers are actually addicted to the keyboard of Bold 9700/9780. Muscle memory is a GOOD thing.
  • Infrastructure – for all the backlash of corporate/consumer security overseas NOTHING comes close to this implementation and grand scope of offering. THIS is the Research In Motion.
  • Multi-Platform SDK Support – Does the competition offer this natively, directly?!
  • Firmware Updates – I can ALWAYS rely on firmware updates and ability to upgrade/downgrade several versions on 90% of their products without fear of voiding warranty!!
  • Security – my content, my communications, my data is MINE; No back talking, no two-face business here. Nobody else’s without my explicit permission. Should information about anyone be sold by a company should you NOT be consoled for each instance and at least compensated?!
  • Super Apps – more than just a marketing term. The level of third party application integration using core API’s is incredibly seamless and growing stronger.
  • Social – not just apps like BBM, Twitter, etc. RIM is engaging users directly through these tools (not BBM) to help end users learn more & become more proficient of their devices: FREE, direct and community support!
  • Mac OS X Sync/backup support! THIS is my choice to use Mac OS X at home and for personal needs. I’m VERY happy that RIM allows me to KEEP my choice and not force me to upload my data to a cloud insecurely and distributed for $$.

For now I’m returning to the BlackBerry fold – my platform of choice for much more than the reasons above. I look forward to the future with my BlackBerry: PlayBook, QNX on handhelds (smartphones), and hopefully the day with Empathy concept when NFC is implemented beyond purchases. Stay tuned for my next post on this.

BlackBerry Empathy

Thank you all once again for stopping by to read this, please comment.

BlackBerry, Don’t Be Cruel

January 14, 2011 Comments off
Bold 9000 in Waterloo

John Mayer's Bold 9000 Leak

BlackBerry, Don’t Be Cruel.

I know on twitter that I said RIM was late to release ground breaking devices and I was leaving. Well talk about getting a new girlfriend and regretting it.

These are the reasons why I periodically leave the BB platform – and I suspect others will leave (temporarily), only to return again:

  • Faster CPU – We need faster performance in processing raw information on screen and uploading through the NOC, Internet, and provider APN.
  • Larger screen size & resolution – most of RIM’s BB user demographics worldwide read a LOT and using glasses on an amazing yet comparatively small screen puts a lot of strain.
  • Following the Fad – it’s a monkey-see, monkey-doo, apes-always-tell-them-too factor.
  • Applications – some quality applications offer more range & choices of what one can do.
  • Accessories – Not just a LOT more but also equal quality in the range.

Providers are pushing the latest and greatest, and the first week of using such a device, many users show them off (I know I do) and yet their not sure how to really use them. Others see the new units and specifically the screen size and brightness and immediately want to switch. Unfortunately, when using multiple functions in day-to-day use this is where the other platforms begin to falter in core functions. This is when the traditional BB user begins to realize what has kept them so organized, prepared, able to hold long conversations, and doing the most key and important function of a mobile phone is simply to “communicate” (calls, text, pictures, socialize, and navigation to meet others) – and they miss their BB. Like that incredible wife, that incredible long lost sweetheart, that lover that always made your day.

Some of the reasons for leaving that I left above are most likely answered with the PlayBook for MANY of us. It has everything listed and yet still having the ability to allow rapid and almost invisible portability: carry the PlayBook or just go with your BlackBerry.

PlayBook Features

Many other platforms are offering features that we’ve yet to see offered by Developers for the BlackBerry Platform – yet not due to lack of enginuity but quite possibly due to the lack of platform capabilities. Rest assured RIM & family our going full out to deliver with QNX – don’t believe the hype that its not capable by analysts that claim their non-existent source told them so with nothing to back it up.

Stay tuned for my post tomorrow of why I keep coming back!

PlayBook – Gestures Beauty

January 13, 2011 2 comments

yeah I’m late on this one but who cares its just so sweet.

BlackBerry PlayBook Walkthrough CES2011

Categories: Uncategorized
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