Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our valued customers.

See you in 2011!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An Online Christmas

A few posts ago, I had noted that there was an influx of consumers starting to use the Smartphones to scout out the latest deals and offers that would make their Christmas shopping efficient, easy and epic.

Well, it turns out that online shopping for the Christmas season has so far reached $22 billion...and there is still a week to go until the big day. I guess that means there are more than just a few people utilizing Smartphones for deals and learning to shop online. It also explains why many of the wireless dealers have experienced a slight slow down in past weeks - an odd situation considering that this time last year, stores were packed to the hilt and sales reps didn't know which way to turn next to service their next customer!

There have been numerous incentives to shoppers looking to buy online, such as free shipping, which is most likely to be a winner for those looking to save a little something in the process. Even the promise of expedited shipping at no cost, ensures that these customers not only are saving money, but are going to be able to get their gifts to their loved ones right on time.

Online shopping is becoming more popular with the presence of services such as Groupon, and GoLoDeal, but don't forget your wireless dealers! 

I doubt there are many dealers that don't have their own website set up - these allow customers to review devices, check plan details, special offers, and even order through secure sites - you even have the choice of picking up your order, or having it shipped. Whatever is most convenient for you.

Did you know?

  • About 66% of smartphone users will use their phones to assist in holiday shopping
  • Over 50% will use them to compare prices
  • 40% will look up product reviews.

And once those Smartphone users have completed all of the above....some interesting facts about online shopping this 2010 Christmas:

  • 85% of online retailers will offer free shipping at some point during the holiday season.
  • 37% of retailers surveyed said their budget for free shipping is higher than last year.
  • 32% of holiday shoppers plan to spend more online this holiday season, specifically because of free shipping.
  • Extreme procrastinators will have until Dec. 21 when 57% of online retailers’ express two-day delivery offers expire.
  • 60% of online retailers will offer overnight shipping options for guaranteed Christmas delivery through Dec. 23.

As always, the greatest of thanks to iQMetrix News & Views for their informative newsletter, information and updates. Good luck with your shopping, whether online or in-store this season!

Friday, December 3, 2010

iPad Alternatives Are Becoming More Popular

With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, there is the expectation that more corporate users are going to demand it for their mobile internet needs. With the move away from paper and bulky laptops, tablets such as the Galaxy are likely to be popular with hospitals, doctors, and other business folk that have, until now, had to deal with endless paperwork.

The wait for the BlackBerry Playbook has also created an interest in these kinds of users, and functions such as HD capabilities, front and rear facing cameras, and the ability to tether with a BlackBerry device, such as the Torch, are tempting customers away from the ever-popular Apple iPad.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first tablet device to allow full Flash performance, and with it's super high resolution AMOLED screen, the user experience is extremely impressive.

Until now, the Apple iPad has commanded tablet sales  with a 95% share of the market, but other manufacturers are jumping on the tablet bandwagon, with products set to emerge from Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Lenovo and Acer in the near future.

Companies that have so far focused their sales on standard PC's and laptops are looking to reduce their sales forecasts for these types of products in anticipation of cannibalization by the tablet market. Although the growth forecasts aren't changing dramatically, it is still evidence that customer preferences are moving to items that make their daily lives more efficient, and mean that they don't have to carry around such large devices to stay connected.

Most pricing is set to stay around the levels that Apple has set with its iPad, which suggests that customers are quite happy to pay between $299 and $699 for a new tablet.

This is definitely going to be an interesting market to watch over the Christmas season, and well into 2011. New competitors, new products - all very exciting!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Special Christmas Offers only at Rogers

The Christmas season is well upon us, with people starting to venture out into the cold for gifts and great offers, and this year, Rogers has created some unique offers to complement your wireless purchases:
  • HD Phones starting at $49.99 with a three year agreement
  • Free XMI Capsule Speaker with the activation of any HD device
  • Free Gift Box with the purchase of any new device on a two or three year activation or hardware upgrade
  • Enter to win a Sony Prize pack at any Rogers store - enter by text or by ballot

In addition, don't miss out on the Perfect Phone & Plan Package for just $35 a month!
  • 150 Daytime Minutes
  • Unlimited Evenings & Weekends from 6pm (you get this FREE! It's regularly a 9pm start)
  • Unlimited Text, Picture & Video Messaging
  • Unlimited Mobile Browsing

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Is Coming - How Will You Be Using Your Apps?

The wireless industry has changed significantly over the years when it comes to the devices that are available, and the plans that customers can choose from. But the biggest change is how knowledgeable and informed those customers are.

The fact that customers are up to date with the devices they are looking for as well as what is coming to market, is going to be a notable element to the upcoming Christmas season. A study conducted in the US by Mobile Marketing Association found that 59% of mobile consumers plan to use their smartphone and its applicable applications to shop and plan this season, and 64% plan to research deals and offers on devices before they head to stores (Eric Zimmerman).

In addition to scoping out the latest deals and information, the emergence of more Smartphone users this year, will mean that these consumers are utilitzing their devices to assist with the busy shopping weeks ahead. With applications available to help them find their cars, stores within their favourite malls, and barcode scanners to assist with comparison shopping, there is everything people need to get their shopping done effectively and efficiently.

Somewhat ironic, is the fact that retailers have been slow to adopt the shopping applications, such as mobile coupons or store websites that are not designed to work on mobile devices. In order to keep up with their tech-savvy customers, Softwareadvice.com has suggested five applications that retailers should look to work with:

Geolocation Applications:
  • Foursquare currently leads the way, with the ability to log in to various locations in order to obtain points, badges and mayorships
  • With the ability to link these applications to other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, consumers then have the ability to show their friends where they are shopping
  • This is another geolocation app that alerts customers as they walk past or near an eligible business location
  • Messages about these locations can include promotions, sales, coupons etc.
Barcode Scanning:
  • According to ScanLife, barcode scanning is up 700% in 2010
  • Applications include ShopSavvy, Checkpoints, ShopKick, and RedLaser (who currently holds the leadership spot for this type of mobile application)
Group Buying:
  • Groupon is looking to be the fastest growing company of the year, and is expected to rake in $500 million in sales in 2010 - not bad for a 17 month old company!
  • Groupon presents a special deal per day in a consumers shopping city, and requires a certain number of customers to purchase the deal in order for it to become effective - this encourages those interested in the deal to promote it to their friends, families and social networks
  • This is a specific application that allows retailers to "track every product on every shelf in store in real time."
  • This means that the website will show users where a particular product is carried in stock, how much it is in store, and how much it is online - a true comparison tool.
  • This raises the bar for traditional competition between brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce retailers
So with the presence of such useful applications in the market, and with Smartphone users growing daily, how will you be using your mobile device this Christmas season?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Power Saving Tips For Your BlackBerry

Originally posted June 22, 2010

There is nothing worse than being caught out in the middle of the day, with a dead BlackBerry on your hands. And without a car charger, you aren't going to be making those all important calls or sending those urgent emails any time soon.

Save yourself the stress of a dead battery before it happens, with these quick tips to saving power while using your BlackBerry:

  • Charge your BlackBerry® as much as possible
  • Use wall chargers as the preferred charging method
  • Only use car chargers when you really have to as the rapid charge can reduce battery life in the long run
  • Reduce volume
  • Use headphones
  • Load media using BlackBerry® Desktop Manager (avoids resizing)
  • Turn off equalizer settings (Media > Options)
  • Visit mobile sites where applicable
  • Turn Repeat Animations to a lower setting (Browser > Options > General Properties)
  • Close browser when finished using (close with ESC key, not red End key)
Screen / Keyboard (Options > Screen/Keyboard)
  • Reduce Backlight Timeout
  • Reduce Backlight Brightness
  • Holster smartphone (turns off LCD automatically)
  • Set Audible Roll to mute
  • Key Tone Off
  • Use a sleeve when storing your BlackBerry® in a pocket
Network Connections
  • Turn off unused connections when not in use, i.e. GPS, Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®
  • Use Auto On/Off
  • Use single mode only (2G only or 3G only)
Camera (all accessible through Camera > Options)
  • Turn off flash
  • Set picture size to Small
  • Set Colour Effect to Normal
  • Set Picture Quality to Normal
  • When exiting, be sure to close the application, not leave it running in the background (close with ESC key, not red End key)
  • Log out of third-party applications when they are not needed
Indicators (set under Profiles)
  • Set Audible notification to Off
  • Turn off coverage LED
  • Use the zoom out function to get the largest viewable area that you can still use usefully
With thanks to BlackBerryHelp - follow them on Twitter today!

Does Apple's iPad Face Some New Competition?

Originally posted October 1, 2010

C  Documents and Settings michelle Desktop Tablet

Samsung and BlackBerry recently announced their new tablet devices. Are these possible contenders to the Apple iPad?

Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Launches at the end of November on Rogers Wireless
  • 7-inch screen
  • Runs Android 2.2
  • Cortex A8 1 GHz processor
  • 3-megapixel camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting
  • Access to the Android Market (alternative to Apple's iTunes store)
  • Support for Adobe Flash 10.1
  • Wi-Fi
  • It also seems that Samsung is positioning the tablet as a voice device
There is still no word on pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but industry experts feel it would be wise for Samsung to position this device as a competitor to the iPad, and so ensure that pricing is placed lower.

BlackBerry Playbook

  • Full Adobe® Flash® 10.1 enabled
  • Built-in support for HTML 5  
  • 7" LCD display, 1024 x 600 screen resolution
  • 1GHz dual core processor; 1GB RAM
  • Built-in microUSB connector
  • Multi-touch capacitive screen
  • Wi-Fi
  • On-screen keyboard
  • True multi-tasking
  • 3MP hi-def forward-facing camera; 5MP hi-def rear-facing camera
  • 1080P HD video
  • Ability to pair with BlackBerry Smartphone

No word on the launch date for this device, but be sure to take a look on BlackBerry's website for a sneak video (http://na.blackberry.com/eng/).

Most Consumers Don't Know When Their Wireless Contract Ends

C  Documents and Settings michelle Desktop contract
Originally posted October 1, 2010

A recent Best Buy Mobile Survey announced that more than half of US cellphone owners have no idea of the month and year when their wireless contract expires.

Only 40% of those surveyed received reminders as to when their contract was about to expire. This means that customers are mis-informed when it comes to upgrades and plan options available to them.

Shawn Score, Best Buy Mobile's president, comments "When it comes to mobile solutions available today, many consumers are not armed with the right information to truly get the most out of their mobile phone."

This is something that Canadian wireless providers see too. I have lost count of the number of people that have come into our locations, having purchased their phone elsewhere, with no idea how to use the phone, or even why they purchased it in the first place.

One suggestion is to have a customer loyalty program that provides them with information to stop them using devices that are years old, and moving them to something that is going to better suit their needs. And with the advent of so many different applications for the hundred of smartphones out there, wireless retailers can even create loyalty programs that work via text, email, mobile coupons or online apps. The key? Simply staying in touch with those customers.

Although the survey was conducted in the US, Canadian wireless providers are likely to see similar trends. Some other facts found include the following:
  • 67% of consumers indicated “carriers” were their main influence when buying a phone
  • 23% of respondents chose the phone they bought based on the device itself
  • 10% chose a phone based on its operating platform (e.g. iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, etc.)
  • Other phone purchasing priorities include: music, video and camera (45%), GPS navigation (32%), intent to replace landline phone (29%), social networking capability (26%), Wi-Fi (26%), e-commerce capability (15%), movie downloads (15%) and games (14%).

Thanks go to IQMetrix News & Views for the original story (http://tinyurl.com/2e8s5og).

Facebook Launches "Places" - Huge Impact for Wireless Users

C  Documents and Settings michelle Desktop icon facebook
Originally posted September 30, 2010

On August 19, Facebook created a new service through its site called Places. This pits the social networking giant against existing location-based applications such as FourSquare.

The new feature aims at helping existing users find friends and their locations in real time, and actually works with the existing services such as FourSquare. The advantage for Facebook is that is doesn't have to find new userts - it's 500 million users have access to this new option.

This is another addition to the social networking site's move to monetize its network usage, particularly among its mobile users. More than one quarter of Facebook users access the site from their Smartphones, and this allows the site to promote the use of mobile coupons for various services (as FourSquare currently does).

Facebook's Places essentially turns a user's Smartphone into a combination of GPS, social network (the world’s biggest), loyalty card, ad space and coupon dispenser - things that will potentially draw millions of retailers to start offering real-time, location based deals to users.

Of course, this comes with its fair share of concerns about privacy, but unlike the release of Places in other regions, such as the US, Facebook users have the option to turn this feature off if they don't wish to participate. It remains to be seen how successful this new feature will be, but with the increase in Smartphone users growing every day, it is only a matter of time before Places touches millions.

NEW To Rogers Wireless

Originally posted September 23, 2010
Check out the latest devices carried on the Rogers Wireless network:

BlackBerry Torch 9800
Launches September 30, 2010

RIM's first smartphone to incorporate a touch-screen and a slide out QWERTY keyboard. This is also the first Blackberry to launch with the BlackBerry 6 OS, including expanded messaging and social networking capabilities, and a customizable home screen. A 3.2" screen with a 360 x 480 resolution, separate on-board and application memories, a 5MP camera, and the ability to do tabbed browsing make for a highly anticipated device from RIM.

Samsung Galaxy S Captivate
Arrives in Canada mid-October
C  Documents and Settings michelle Desktop galaxy s
The Samsung Galaxy S Captivate is the latest Android device to be announced for Rogers Wireless. Featuring Android OS 2.1, a 4" Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 480 x 800, a 5MP camera that records 720p HD videos, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and holds up to 32GB with a microSD memory card.

iPhone 4
Launched July 30, 2010

C  Documents and Settings michelle Desktop Rogers iPhone 4

The always-in-demand iPhone 4 launched in Canada on July 30, with line ups at every store location stretching as far as the eye could see. Demand for the device has far surpassed supply, and we are hoping that inventory levels will become sufficient soon!

With a high resolution Retina display, 960 x 640 resolution, multi-touch screen, FaceTime, 5MP Camera with LED flash and autofocus, HD video recording with LED light, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Accelerometer, it's no wonder that every Apple lover is clamouring to buy one, not to mention those new to the Smartphone market!

Students Head Back To School with Smartphones

C  Documents and Settings michelle Desktop Back To School1
Originally posted September 23, 2010

This month has seen the return of students to their respective institutions, and what a month for wireless this has been!

With a huge influx of quick messaging and touch screen devices, such as the Samsung Corby Pro and the LG Neon 2, students have had their fair share of phones to choose from.

There has definitely been an increase in wireless activity among students, even from last year, as purchasing a new phone has become a staple of the "Back To School Shopping List".

And more students are moving away from the standard cellular device, embracing the Smartphone trend that offers a more feature-rich experience. Not only do these devices give students access to their email, but they can stay up to date with their friends on campus via the social networking sites that seem to be a standard on new devices.

Devices such as the Motorola Flip Out with MotoBlur, with swipe text technology for faster messaging, and the BlackBerry 9300 Curve, with 3G capabilities, have been extremely popular. Prices are now more affordable, and there have been some great Student Plan offers this year.

It has been an extremely busy time for us - some might say it has been like a second Christmas for the wireless industry!

Apple Announces Availability of iOS4

apple logo
Originally posted July 23, 2010

In preparation for the launch of the iPhone 4, Apple has launched a major software release for the iPhone.

This new iPhone OS 4 software includes over 100 new features and enhancements available to users of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

The following are just a few of the many enhancements of this advanced operating system:
  • Multitasking and the ability to run background applications
  • Folders
  • Improved mail
  • iBooks
  • 5x digital camera
  • Tap-to-focus video and much more
Check out Apple’s website (at apple.com/iphone/softwareupdate) for more information about iOS 4.

How do I upgrade to iOS4?
1. Install the latest version of iTunes (iTunes 9.2) from the iTunes download page.
2. Once installed run iTunes 9.2.
3. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
4. Select your iPhone, when it appears in iTunes under Devices.
5. Select the Summary tab.
6. Click Check for Update.
7. Click "OK" to update.
Please note that although the iOS 4 software is compatible with the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and upcoming iPhone 4, not all functionality is available on older devices.

Start Your Car With Your Wireless Device

Originally posted July 16, 2010

It's definitely true that there is an app for everything.

Directed Electronics Canada and its Viper brand have come up with an app that starts your car using your wireless device. This does require the Viper product to be installed in your vehicle prior to using the app, but is still a very cool, updated version of a standar remote start.

Remote starts have always been popular with those living in colder provinces, as it means they don't have to crawl into a freezing car with icy fingers and wait for the car to warm up.

One main bonus to this new application is that it solves the problem of limited range that some remote key fobs experience. The range on the SmartStart is practically unlimited!

There are additional features within the application that can allow for remote truck unlocking, unlocking doors, finding the car in a parking lot, or arming the security system. It even allows control for multiple vehicles.

For more information, and to purchase the system, visit www.marketnews.ca and search news for smartstart.

The Newest Android From Sony Ericsson

Originally posted June 17, 2010
Key Features of the new Sony Xperia X10 - available now at Rogers:
  • The Xperia X10 phone provides a rich navigation experience with an easy-to-use, smart and visual interface
  • The Timescape and Mediascape applications let you view all your communication or media in one window
  • Access Google services easily or enrich your phone with applications from Android Market
  • The 4" responsive touch screen and ultra-fast processor also make navigating the phone a breeze and watching your favourite videos on it pure pleasure
  • Take pictures with an 8.1MP camera with face recognition software
  • Built in GPS provides location based services like Google Maps, to help you find your way to your destination. You can even add location information to your images with the geo-tagging function
  • Turbo 3G gives you broadband-like speed in your phone. Download large files and attachments super fast, and browse websites and news feeds in seconds
  • Fully synchronizes with your old phone, even if it isn't a Sony Ericsson. Transfer contacts, calendars, notes and bookmarks; and you can even manage up-to-date information in your mobile phone from the Internet
  • Suits any style with colour availability in black or white
Get a full product simulation on the Sony Ericsson website

Friday, October 29, 2010

BlackBerry Tips & Tricks

Originally posted June 16, 2010
Here are some helpful tips to making the most of your BlackBerry smartphone!

Messaging Tips
  • Create a custom icon for BlackBerry Messenger v5.0 contacts
  • Highlight the contact, press menu and show on home screen
  • Delete multiple emails
  • Highlight any email and hold down caps while scrolling up or down (then delete)
  • To move to the last cursor position after you close and reopen a received email message or PIN message, press G
  • In a message press the Shift key and the Space key to move up a screen. Press the Space key to move down a screen
  • View the email address of a sender
  • Highlight the sender name in an email and press Q
  • Don't want to receive SMS or MMS messages?
  • Go to Options>Security Options>Firewall. Check off SMS and MMS
  • To view received messages press Alt I. To view sent messages press Alt O. Hit the back button to view all messages again
Typing Tips
  • Type "B" to go to the bottom or "T" to go to the top of your Messages list, or Space to skip a page
  • Hold the ALT key and press the Right Shift key to lock caps when typing. Press the Right Shift key again to unlock
  • To insert a period, press the Space key twice. The next letter is capitalized.
  • To type accented/special characters, press and hold the letter key and slide your finger left or right on the track pad/trackball
  • To capitalize a letter, press and hold the letter key until the capitalized letter appears
  • To reply to all in an email message or a PIN message, press L.
  • Hold the ALT key and press the Left Shift key to lock numbers when typing. Press the Left Shift key again to unlock
  • To insert an at sign (@) or a period (.) in an email address field, press the Space key
Other Helpful Tips
  • Ever have to dial a 1-800 number with letters using your BlackBerry?
  • Hold ALT while typing the letters and dial
  • To zoom in before taking a picture, press the Volume Up key. To zoom out press the Volume Down key
  • Having trouble reading the text on your BlackBerry? Change the font!
  • Options >Screen>Keyboard>Font Family
  • When updating BlackBerry App World make sure to perform a reboot of your BlackBerry
  • While listening to music in the media player hit N for the next track or P for the previous track
With thanks to BlackBerry Help for the daily updates. Follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BlackBerryHelp.

Top Ten Smartphone Companies for 2010

Originally posted June 4, 2010

iSuppli has ranked the world's Top 10 mobile phone companies (for Smartphones and feature phones) for the first quarter of 2010.
iSuppli states that smartphones are having a revolutionary impact on the wireless business as more people are moving to those compared to the standard feature phones.

iSuppli lists these Top 10 companies based on market share, and sequential growth:

iSuppli Rankings (Q1 market share):
  • Nokia (37.4%)
  • Samsung (22.3%)
  • LG (9.4%)
  • Sony Ericsson (3.6%)
  • RIM (3.6%)
  • Apple (3.0%)
  • ZTE (3.0%)
  • Motorola (3.0%)
  • Huawei (2.1%)
  • TCL-Alcatel (1.8%)
  • Other (10.7%)
iSuppli Rankings (sequential growth)
  • RIM (3.6%)
  • Apple (0.2%)
  • Samsung (-6.5%)
  • TCL-Alcatel (-9.3%)
  • Nokia (-15.1%)
  • LG (-20.1%)
  • Sony Ericsson (-28.1%)
  • Motorola (-29.2%)
  • ZTE (-35.6%)
  • Huawei (-44.7%)
  • Other (4.5%)
With Smartphone usage growing all the time, they are being hailed as the "hottest segment of the cell phone market" with anticipated growth this year to increase by another 35%.

This complements earlier blog posts that global smartphone shipments jumped 65% in the first quarter, and could well be the reason behind so many manufacturers including Smartphones in their handset line up. 

For more details, take a look at the entire article, from IQMetrix.

What Would You Do Without Your Smartphone Keyboard?

Originally posted May 27, 2010

For those folks that made the brave leap from BlackBerry and other Smartphone devices to the iPhone upon its original release two years ago, they are already used to the concept of a virtual keyboard when typing out messages and dialing phone numbers.

However, the rest of us Smartphone users like to have a real keyboard at our fingertips. Some manufacturers have tried to soften the move from actual keypad to touch screen with the introduction of devices like the LG Xenon that has a slide out keyboard and a touch screen option.

But Google is looking to take things one step further by eliminating keyboards entirely! The release of the Nexus One, has allowed users in the US to start to experiment with what Google hopes is the future of mobile search: voice- and picture-based searching.

The idea behind this is that users can simply speak a phrase into their phone and generate a search engine result, in the same manner as we currently type into Google. The other option is to take a picture of something, such as a specific landmark, and have results and information returned simply by submitting the picture. Pretty handy if you don't know what you are looking at!

These ideas are still in early development and aren't very reliable just yet. Currently, voice searching works well with short strings of words only, but even one misplaced word doesn't throw off your search entirely which is a good thing - somewhat like when you make a typo in the search engine on your computer. Google Goggles is the new visual searching application that is being tested - also hit and miss at present though. This allows you to take a picture of something where the image is then scanned with "recognizers" for text and familiar visuals in Google's databases.

Although these are still early days, testers are hopeful that something like this will take off, and may even lead to facial recognition technology. However, Google doesn't want to approach that end at all, as there just aren't any valid reasons as to why someone would need that.

Voice- and picture-based searching can eventually lead the way to future features like:
  • The ability to photograph a printed page so it can be scanned into text and quickly translated into another language
  • The ability for travelers to speak a phrase into a phone, have it translated into another language and played back through their phone's speaker
As always, some exciting things to look forward to in the world of wireless!

Top Three Smartphone Features Requested By Wireless Customers

Originally posted May 20, 2010

With more and more people taking on smartphones as part of their daily inventory, there have been some common elements when it comes to what they look for before purchasing. 29% of the US population in Q4 2009 owned a smartphone, and the number is set to increase as 2010 moves ever forwards - this makes it so important for providers, like Rogers, to understand what their users want.

The same survey found that the following items were a must have for new and continuing smartphone users:

    1. Email (demanded by 85% of users)
    2. Internet browser (demanded by 78%)
    3. Digital camera (demanded by 73%)

Although these three elements shouldn't be the basis of your sales pitch, they certainly help focus the pitch, and allow sales representatives to direct their questions to new, or existing, smartphone users accordingly.

Pretty much all smartphones have the above capabilities, so sales representatives need to focus on how the customer is going to use their phone the most, so that they can recommend the most suitable device out of the large number available.

In addition, as much as many people hate to admit it, text and email are becoming the more commonplace means of communication now, instead of simply picking up the phone and talking to someone. This is mainly due to the quick and instant nature of the message, versus a long winded telephone call when you are in a rush. Did you know that 91% of all phone owners were four times more likely to respond to a text message than voicemail??

With this trend in mind, and the fact that smartphones are meant to have lower voice call quality than standard cellular devices, sales reps should always ask how dependent customers are on voice services, as part of the "How are you going to / how do you use your smartphone?" All of these items, plus staying up to date on these kinds of statistics and trends, will help our sales teams position devices to customers so that they will not only get the best use out of the phone, but will continue to value their wireless services.

New Contender in the Wireless Industry Space

Originally posted May 14, 2010
Apple announces the launch of the iPad...
...and Rogers Wireless is set to be the official carrier for the product.

Information appears to be limited to us at the Rogers end because there has been no word yet on whether our dealer locations will hold the product itself, or if we are just expected to provide the data activations for the device.

So far, two data plans have been announced for the iPad, and many of us are expecting customers to purchase the device at the Apple Stores, and then come to a Rogers location to activate or add their data plan to existing accounts:
  • $15 for 250MB
  • $35 for 5GB
And as with the release of the original iPhone, there are always the complaints that Rogers isn't providing an unlimited data plan. If you ask me 5GB is a serious amount of data!

In the past, responses to the lack of an "unlimited" data plan prompted Rogers to offer a 6GB data plan - an extremely popular plan with data users Canada-wide. And although the complaints continued, statistics show that the average user of an iPhone only needed about 500MB of data a month! So what's all the fuss about?! Especially when there is Wi-Fi built in.

And who's to say that things won't change as the iPad becomes a more substantial product within the Rogers Wireless space? Rogers has never carried a product quite like the iPad, and only time will tell as to how customers will react to it, purchase it, use it etc.

Experience with the iPhone might help our dedicated sales representatives to anticipate questions, concerns, and expectations for the iPad.

The iPad comes in two main specifications - Wi-Fi alone, and Wi-Fi with 3G - and has three sizes - 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Pricing is likely to be similar to the US where the Wi-Fi 16GB model starts at $499.99.

It will be interesting to see how this new product impacts the wireless and notebook markets - Rogers already has their Netbook products out in the market, and the way I see it...the iPad is likely to blow all of them out of the water.

Watch out - the iPad will be here soon!

Social Networking....On Your Wireless Device

Originally posted April 21, 2010

Social networking has always been a personal affair, with special events set up to ensure industry colleagues, office-mates and others can meet and connect in one space with ease.

However with the introduction of websites online, social networking has become an increasingly online process, with fewer people meeting in person, instead choosing to instant message, ‘poke' and provide status updates so everyone knows what they are up to.

A further development has been the production of cellular devices that are centered entirely on social networking. Data plans are being introduced that allow users who might not necessarily want to surf the Internet, but still want access to all the popular sites, including Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. And these options are becoming increasingly more affordable to all users, including those who might never have used a cellular device in the past.

A survey conducted by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association discovered that more than 65% of Canadians aged 16 and 17 own a mobile device, 30% of those are 13 - 15, and 5% of those are aged 8 - 12 years of age.

Wireless carriers see this young influential market as a target for building brand loyalty immediately, as these users are usually purchasing a device for the first time. In recent weeks, this market has been targeted specifically with the Touch phone products, providing users with unlimited text messaging, social networking, and lower monthly service fees.

The move from phone calls and physical interaction to online updates and texting may mean that even our desktop computers are set to become obsolete. And the expansion of features on cell phones now, such as cameras, picture / video messaging etc, all make it much easier to stay connected with everyone at all times.

This may mean that wireless carriers have to tailor more of their plans to suit the heavy mobile social networker - providing more for less. These users are likely to be a large portion of the market for existing carriers and those coming into the market soon.

Wireless Device Software for BlackBerry Bold 9700

Originally posted April 15, 2010

BlackBerry ® BoldTM 9700 customers can now update their device's software over the air using the Rogers wireless network or through Wi-Fi.

To check if a BlackBerry Bold 9700 has the latest device software, customers will need to click on "Options" from their home screen, select "Advanced Options" and then "Wireless Update."
If an update is available they will be able to download and install it over the air with no charge for the data used during the update.

Eligibility & Restrictions:

Customers must have a BlackBerry data plan to perform updates over the air. Please note that Rogers Wireless customers with the $15 Personal Email plan are not eligible for wireless updates.

Customers will not be able to upgrade over the air while roaming but will be able to check for software update availability when they return to Canada.

Customers can use their device during the download process, but not during the installation process. They may pause or cancel the download process to make or receive calls, however, if the customer answers a call during the download process, the download process pauses automatically. The download process resumes once the call has ended.

Before performing a wireless software update, customers must make sure their device has the following:
  • 64 MB of flash memory
  • BlackBerry device software 5.0 or later
  • Battery power level of at least 50%
  • An available wireless network connection

Carrier Competition in Canda

Originally posted April 5, 2010
There have been endless rumours about new carriers coming into the market in Canada - rumours that have at times made sales difficult as a result of new and existing customer hesitation to sign any contracts.

As a result of recent spectrum auctions, there is a new "Three" set to enter the Canadian wireless market - WIND Mobile, Mobilicity and Public Mobile. The first two carriers are set to provide coverage in major areas across Canada, but Public Mobile is set to focus just on Quebec and Ontario for the time being.

Mobilicity (also known as DAVE Wireless):
  • Set to launch in the spring of 2010
  • Simplistic pricing is a dominant focus, with an intention to provide all-encompassing plans (the company has yet to provide specifics at this time)
  • Will offer no contracts, no credit checks, and unlimited calling and data
  • Will offer a selection of Smartphones from RIM and Nokia as well as USB Internet sticks
  • Service will roll out in major cities, beginning with Toronto, and moving into Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa later in the year
  • Mobilicity feels that its simple services will be what really set the brand apart from the other emerging brands
Public Mobile:
  • Will not be offering data services at launch (spring 2010)
  • Service plan pricing will be extremely simple - pay $40 and get unlimited talk and text within the company's coverage area
  • Services will be set up and running in Toronto and Montreal with plans to extend to core cities and urban areas over the months following
  • Phones can be purchased outright, with entry level devices costing less than $100 and "high end" models still remaining under $200
  • Phones will include four or five at launch - there will be no BlackBerry devices or other Smartphones
  • Over time, the intention is to add more features, functions and handsets as consumers demand them
  • Public Mobile functions on the G-block of spectrum, which is a CDMA band - this means that only handsets that support the band will function  on the Public Mobile network
WIND Mobile:
  • Service up and running in Toronto and Calgary since December 2009. Services in Ottawa and Edmonton are in progress and Vancouver will follow in Q2
  • There are 40 stores in Toronto and Calgary, including 16 store-within-store concepts in Blockbuster locations
  • Social and laid back feel defines the brand and is translated through the customer experience
  • Target customers are the youthful, socially connected folks aging from 18 to 30 years old
  • Second target market is the ethnic markets that have just come to Canada
  • Premise behind WIND is the customer's ability to buy a phone outright, without a contract, and then select which plan options they require - for example, a BlackBerry Bold 9700 is $450 through WIND, compared to only $150 with Rogers (and a three year contract). There is question as to whether the higher price is worth the lack of contract, especially if the phone only works on the WIND network and nowhere else.
  • WIND has roaming agreements that allow its devices to work outside coverage areas - postpaid customers are able to roam in the US; still working out issues to allow pre-paid customers to do the same
  • Long-term goal is to become a national carrier
  • WIND plans to expand its handset lineup, and is looking at third-party retailers
The common elements between each of these new providers, is the desire to reduce the need for contracts, provide simplified pricing options and to target the 30% of Canadians who still don't have a mobile phone.

What does this mean for the existing carriers? Incumbent providers - Rogers, Bell and TELUS - have to take steps to better their services, which have so far included remove the System Access Fee from customer bills. In addition, "The Big Three" have made it possible for customers to purchase devices outright, i.e. without a contract.

Aside from having to compete with the new carriers, Rogers, Bell and TELUS have to deal with their own situation - the introduction of Bell and TELUS' high-speed networks has the three carriers competing directly with one another now.

As a whole, the introduction of more competition is definitely a plus for the consumer, providing more choice, simplicity, and competitive pricing. Nadir Mohammed, President & CEO of Rogers Communications Inc has stated that "Competition will keep everyone on their toes, drive innovation and hold down prices. All of this will be good for the consumer." But what does this mean for the present carriers?

Only time will tell as we move further into 2010, and see the full emergence of these new companies. Wireless is about to get a shakeup unseen to date.

Wireless Wallet?

Originally posted March 16, 2010
Could this be the future of our wireless services? The inclusion of a "pay pass" style item that simply attaches to the bottom of your iPhone or iPod could further consolidate the number of items that we carry with us as we go about our daily tasks.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a newly emerging technology that many organizations are taking on in an effort to streamline inventory processes, tracking, payment, and overall logistics. These small chips are inserted or attached to specific items within the product line and are scanned via handheld scanners (by employees) or large scale industrial scanners (for items fixed to a pallet for transportation).

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short range high frequency wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices within a range of about 4 inches.

Combined, these elements will work together to turn your iPhone or iPod into a payment device, much like the recent introduction of the MasterCard "Pay Pass".

These items come in the form of a small attachment, the iCarte, which connects to the bottom of your device, and has an embedded smart chip that configures the device to act like a debit card, credit card, pre-paid card, or even a loyalty card.

The information is then transferred to the iPhone or iPod to allow the user to complete secure transactions, download electronic coupons, tickets or receipts, check balances or connect with other NFC devices. Business iPhone users can use the iCarte for commercial applications such as asset tracking, document tracking and security.

Available in white or black, the iCarte will coordinate with whichever colour device you have, and will only extend the length of the device by about 16.5mm.

Will this eliminate the need for carrying a wallet too? So far, the iPhone 3GS, for example, has combined a phone, email device, media device (video, music) into one unit - with the potential addition of a credit card reader this phone could definitely become a lifeline.

So far, no word on whether there are talks for a BlackBerry or other Smartphone version of the iCarte, but we'll keep looking!

Samsung Launches Its First Android Device for North America

Originally posted March 11, 2010
Android seems to be the talk of the town in recent days and weeks around the communications water cooler. The newest contender for the GSM market is the Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 - although this is North America's first Samsung Android to come to market, it is the second seen in Europe and the fourth worldwide.

  • Android 1.5 platform
  • 800MHz processor
  • Support for video files
  • Pre-installed "switcher" applications
  • Two colour variations - black/red and white/green
  • 3.2 inch screen with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels, and supporting 16 million colours
  • 3.2MP camera with video capability
User Feedback - Positive:
  • Fashionable and sleek
  • Slim and compact with minimal navigational buttons
  • Applications load smoothly one at a time
  • Platform is user friendly, especially for those who have previous experience with the Android OS
  • Device can run continuously for two days on HSPA (3G) connectivity
  • Moving through applications on the device is smooth and simple, with only a handful of front facing buttons to use
User Feedback - Not-So-Positive:
  • Looks very similar to a previous model
  • Surface is prone to fingerprints and scratches
  • Only 200MB of internal storage
  • No flash on the 3.2MP camera
  • Having a hard time keeping up with the previous model in terms of speed, functionality, and in-built items, such as the camera and on-board storage
  • Have to hold the unlock button down for a long period of time to get the handset going
  • Device can become laggy when using multiple applications
Overall Thoughts:
An average device suitable for users that like some multi-media capabilities. If the user is not hard on the device, and wants something to keep them connected, then the Galaxy Spica is the Android device for them. However, for those power users who want something a little more impressive, critics are suggesting the "older brother" model, the i7500.