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

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.

Which Smartphone Operating System Suits Your Best?

Originally posted March 2, 2010
As we make our way into 2010, consumers seem to be moving more and more into the Smartphone category for their wireless devices. But with so many to choose from, how does one decide which is the best for their communication needs?

What Is Android?

Android is a mobile operating system that has since been adopted by Google and can be found on phones such as the HTC Dream and HTC Magic. It works on an open development platform that allows developers to create applications that are extremely rich and innovative, to suit all user needs.

Why Android?
  • Only Android helps you keep track of your life by displaying email and message notifications at the top of every screen. One touch takes you immediately to the information that's most important to you.
  • Drag and drop your favourite widgets, applications, photos and folders onto your home screen for quick access to what you use all the time. Customize the phone for you!
  • The Android platform allows multiple applications to run at the same time so you never miss a beat. Switch between applications seamlessly without having to go through a ‘home' screen.
  • If you surf the web and send lots of emails, then the large touch screens and QWERTY keyboards available on the Android devices, such as the HTC Dream and the new Samsung Galaxy Spica, are for you.
  • Android seamlessly integrates you favourite Google apps so they work better together for the best Google experience. Every Android device comes with your favourite Google apps built-in.
What is Mac for iPhone?

Most people automatically associate the Mac operating system with the Apple notebook brand that has been popular in the market for a while now. However, in recent years, the makers at Apple have introduced their operating system onto one of the most popular Smartphones to date - the iPhone. A platform that allows users to customize their phone by way of installing Apps through the Apple Store, the iPhone has become the ultimate in communication devices - a portable phone, iPod, computer, and video player.

Why Mac for iPhone?
  • The operating system takes up less than 500MB of the device's memory, so there is plenty of storage for your music, movies and applications, especially with 8GB, 16GB and 32GB models of the iPhone.
  • The home screen contains all available applications and allows the user to pin five specific icons to a bar at the bottom of the page for quick access to items used most.
  • Multi-touch interface allows the user to make a call simply by tapping a name or number in the contacts, favourites list, call list, or anywhere else for that matter.
  • Applications work together seamlessly and then sync with your computer - whether you are on a Mac or a PC.
  • The accelerometer embedded on the iPhone allows the device to be tilted, turned and rotated to impact game play, and give the user the full experience of what this device is capable of doing.
What is RIM for BlackBerry?

BlackBerry was the first Smartphone operating system to take the stage, and has since visited numerous upgrades in an attempt to remain top of its game. The RIM operating system is very different to the other options on the market, which helps RIM stand out on its own, but in recent months, there have been additions to align items such as Applications with devices such as the iPhone and the Android phones.

Why RIM for BlackBerry?
  • This OS is much simpler than others, keeping email viewing and browsing as clean as possible, reducing downloading times and also data usage as a result.
  • The RIM OS fully synchronizes with Microsoft Outlook for real time updates, information and push email.
  • The RIM OS functions seamlessly through server options such as BlackBerry Enterprise Server, created specifically for multiple users within a corporation.
  • The BlackBerry App Store now provides many different applications for BlackBerry users looking for similiar options to the iPhone and Android devices

What is Symbian?

This is an operating system purchased and used by Nokia for devices such as the E71, focusing on providing the underlying routines and services for application software. This operating system delivers touch screen technology and an advanced software development environment for media-rich applications.

Why Symbian for Nokia?
  • Wide selection of applications available for a range of mobile phones
  • Implements industry standard protocols, interfaces and management services for IT integration
  • Extensive connectivity options
  • Ability to set two profiles for the user - one for professional and one for personal
  • Ability to access multiple email addresses on one device
  • Remote locking option available for peace of mind

Going Wireless With The Rogers Rocket Hub?

Originally posted February 17, 2010
The latest addition to the Rogers lineup is the Rocket Hub - a 3G wireless router, designed to bring high speed internet to even the most remote of locations. As long as you have access to the Rogers Wireless Network, you can access the web. In addition to high speed internet access, the Rocket Hub allows users the ability to connect their home phone lines for improved voice calling.

The device is powered by Sony Ericsson, and is only about the size of a regular paperback novel. A true "Plug and Play" item, the user plugs the device into a power outlet and immediately connects to the Rogers 3G network.

The single phone port on the back of the device allows rural areas to receive telephone service without having to wait for service providers to install phone lines - a task that can take weeks. As the device relies on the wireless network, it must be connected for users to be able to make calls - if the power goes out, there is no wireless connection.

Benefits of the Rocket Hub:
  • Extremely user friendly through set up - a true "Plug and Play" device
  • Ability to share internet connection between up to thirteen computers
  • Voice calling through the wireless network (not VoIP)
  • 3G connectivity allows fast mobile connection and high speed internet up to 7.2 mbps
  • Has Wi-Fi capabilities
  • Highly portable device - can be used anywhere that there is an AC power outlet and cellular coverage
  • Quality build but lightweight
Downsides to the Rocket Hub:
  • The device runs at very high temperatures - heat dispersion is not particularly good
  • Reception and wireless access depends on the location of the user
  • The device requires HSPA / 3.5G network access to be able to work
  • The device must be connected to an AC power outlet for internet connection - although there is a portable, external battery option available, this will only allow voice calls to be made
User Review after Using the Rocket Hub:
  • The product is convenient for those in need of a wireless / LAN network for either personal or business use, in areas where service is regularly unavailable
  • The speed generated on the device averaged about 4mbps on our review (during peak times), which is ideal for internet browsing, email, and streaming video. During off-peak times, the speed increased to 6mbps.
  • Slight disappointment that the device is not HSPA+ ready with the ability to reach speeds of 21mbps, considering that this will soon become standard on the Rogers Wireless network
  • This would not be a good solution for those users looking to use the Rocket Hub for online gaming purposes - internet response time is not fast enough
  • Although the Rocket Hub is made of plastic, it has a solid and durable feel to it when on hand. It doesn't break easily upon moving, and its lightweight design allows for ease of carrying
  • The voice quality of calls made using the Rocket Hub were comparable to making a cellular telephone call - much better than using VoIP.
Target Market
The Rocket Hub is a suitable product for any customer who requires access to high speed internet and / or voice services, for personal or business use. There are two plans available to suit that usage, starting at $35 per month for the data only option.

The Benefits of Upgrading Your Wireless Device

Originally posted February 4, 2010

Until January this year, existing Rogers customers were subject to various hardware "tier" levels when choosing to upgrade their device. This tier system was based on an individual customer's tenure and revenue, with Tier 1 being the lowest and Tier 5 being the highest and best.
All existing customers were fully eligible to upgrade after 24 months from their last upgrade or initial activation, but the closer to the 24 month mark they chose to upgrade, the higher their pricing would be on specific devices. And to top it off, unless a customer was listed as Tier 4 or 5, new customer pricing was actually better - an issue deemed extremely unfair for customers who had shown their loyalty to the Rogers network for years.

As a result, Rogers Wireless updated its hardware upgrade policies, effective January 15th 2010. The new program now provides in-market pricing for all eligible existing customers. This means that even customers who would have been considered Tier 1 in the past are eligible to receive the best price on a particular device regardless of how much they spend each month in revenue or how long it has been since their last upgrade.

Benefits to upgrading your phone are:
  • You get to keep your same phone number while improving the device you are using
  • New devices come with a brand new one year manufacturer warranty
  • Rogers has the widest selection of world-capable and innovative devices, providing you with the latest technology and applications
  • Devices are highly subsidized, reducing prices to a fraction of what the device would cost without signing a new contract
  • You can keep your existing price plan, including limited time offers, such as the much-coveted 6GB data plan from 2009
  • If you are a high revenue customer, you can get additional discounts on hardware, as well as potential service bonuses
  • You are able to retain the excellent customer service that Rogers offers its customers
  • You will remain on Canada's Reliable Network, with extensive coverage and high speed wireless access coast to coast, and access in over 200 countries worldwide

Wireless Communication Becomes Completely Hands-Free

Originally posted February 4, 2010

As of October 1, 2009 and January 1, 2010, Ontario and British Columbia, respectively, introduced new laws preventing the use of hand held cell phones, portable electronic devices and text messaging while driving. Moving forwards, only hands-free cell phones and devices that require one touch to activate are permitted for drivers to operate.

In BC, there has been a 30 day "grace" period allowing drivers to obtain hands-free kits for their vehicles, with the new $167 fines going into full effect February 1, 2010. In addition to this fine, BC drivers are subject to three points on their license if caught text messaging while driving.

As a result, the wireless communications industry has seen a rise in sales of Bluetooth accessories, which includes headsets and visor kits. Ontario locations have had a hard time keeping these accessories in stock since the introduction of the law, and accessory vendors suffer from back orders on a regular basis. And it looks like the same is happening here in BC, mainly because most manufacturers and vendors are located in the already out-of-stock Ontario region.

Bluetooth accessory providers have two popular options for hands-free cell phone use while driving: a head-set that fits snugly in the user's ear, or a visor mount that clips right to a sun visor within the vehicle itself. Many of these headsets are voice activated, and the visor mounts connect right to a device's address book, further eliminating the need for even one-touch dialing. With recognized names such as BlackBerry, BlueAnt, Motorola and Nokia all providing Bluetooth products, users are able to rely on their favourite manufacturers to provide them with all of their Bluetooth needs, to ensure all drivers are law-abiding and ready for the new law.

Regulation Rules:
No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail, or text messages

Permitted Uses:
While driving, a person may use an electronic device in a hands-free telephone function; may listen to sound from a hand-held audio player; may use a GPS for navigation purposes; and may use a walkie-talkie if:

  • The motor vehicle is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway
  • The motor vehicle is not in motion
  • The motor vehicle is not impeding traffic The device is not held or operated by the hand
  • It is voice-activated or requires only one touch to initiate, accept or end a call; or activate directions (in the case of GPS)
  • If the device includes an earpiece, that earpiece can be worn in one ear only, and must be placed in the ear prior to driving
  • The sound is emitted through the speakers of the sound system of the vehicle (for hand-held audio players)
  • The device is programmed prior to driving (for GPS)
  • The device is securely fixed to the vehicle or worn securely on the person's body
  • The device must be installed in a manner that doesn't affect the driver's view of the front or sides of the vehicle or interfere with the safety or operating equipment of the vehicle
Fines and Penalties:

Offence - the use of an electronic device that is not allowed for in the legislation but that does not involve texting, emailing or dialing, e.g. talking on a hand held cell phone
Penalty - $167 fine and no penalty points

Offence - the use of an electronic device for communicating with another person or another device by email or other text based message, e.g. texting, emailing or dialing
Penalty - $167 and 3 penalty points