Switching to Windows Phone 7.5

1200-nokia-lumia-800_group_uprightI’ve been a happy iOS user since the original iPhone, and have used an iPhone 4 for the last year as my mobile device. While Apple’s mobile platform is arguable a very powerful one, especially due to the number of third-party apps, I remain interested in the other mobile Operating Systems. I haven’t been “attracted” by Android devices (I haven’t tried Ice-Cream Sandwich yet) due to the fragmentation, no appealing hardware, the major lack of guarantees that you will get OS updates on your device and the “geeky” nature of the look & feel (yes, I know, strange coming from me 😉

And outside of WebOS (lucky that I didn’t go down that path), I’ve been intrigued by the Windows Phone 7 OS since its launch just over a year ago. But the first iteration of the OS was too rough around the edges, and the lack of great hardware got me to stick with iOS until now at least. During a recent trip to the UK, I decided to get myself a Nokia Lumia 800 running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) and I have to say that outside of a few little details (see below), I am really impressed by this device!

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Where is the iPhone version of Skype in Canada?

Just wanted to share a question I asked to Skype support:

I was really excited with the announcement of the iPhone version for Skype earlier this week. But when I tried to get it from the Canadian iTunes Store, it was nowhere to be found! Doing some search over the Internet, it appears Canada is the only country where the iPhone version of Skype is not available.

This is very surprising and I would like to get a better explanation as it is possible to download the Windows Mobile version from your site when in Canada, it is possible to purchase Skype WiFi phones in Canada and Skype works fine on notebooks / netbooks in Canada.

I can only suppose that there is a small delay for this and that Skype will be available shortly to people in Canada. Can you please let me know the reason why it is not yet available as well as when you expect Skype for iPhone to be available to Canadians?

Thank you for your quick answer.

And here is the answer I got back:

Thank you for contacting Skype Support.

We apologize for the inconvenience you’ve experienced while trying to download Skype for iPhone. Unfortunately, the Skype for iPhone application is not available for use in Canada at this time. There is an ambiguous restriction in one of the standards-based technology licenses, and we are looking into it. The issue is not related to Apple, nor is it specific to Skype.

Once again, we apologize for this inconvenience and would like to assure you that we are working on resolving this issue as soon as possible.

Thank you for your understanding and we hope you enjoy using Skype on your iPhone in the nearest future.

OK, there is hope, but let’s not be in a hurry.

Update (September 9, 2009): Skype for iPhone is now available in Canada! Next step, being able to do calls over 3G 😉

iPhone apps: my most used list

I’ve been downloading quite a few iPhone applications since the launch of the app store… but I really don’t use most of them. Here is a short list of those I use on a regular basis and that I would highly recommend purchasing (if not available for free), in addition to the following built-in apps: SMS, Calendar, Photos, Camera, Maps, Clock, Stock, Weather, Calculator, Phone, Mail, Safari and iPod.

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MobileMe: Not as bad as people say…

Since its launch on July 11, 2008, the “new” online service from Apple had a bumpy start and reviews have been negative overall… even Walt Mossberg says that “Apple’s MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable”. The problems that have plagued the service have not helped… and Apple also changed the tone of their messaging from “Exchange for the rest of us” to “The simple way to keep everything in sync”. But overall, the re-branding of .Mac and new web interface to the online service that Apple Inc charges $99 per year in the US (pricing does vary around the world, and I don’t think it will be lower) has all the base components that make it already worth for me, and that could become great with a few little “tweaks”.

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iPhone in Canada: The numbers take 2

As a follow-up to my previous post where I looked at the costing for data plans on Rogers in Canada for iPhone users, I needed to update the information based on the latest changes and limited time offers. For those who follow me on Twitter already know, I got myself the iPhone last Friday (that was fun). Just before the launch, Rogers announced a special time limited data plan at CA$ 30 for 6Gb of data per month, that could be added to any voice plan you wanted.

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iPhone in Canada: Looking into the numbers

There has been a lot of commenting, discussions and complains about the price plans that Rogers / Fido are offering for the 3G iPhone in Canada. The Ruined iPhone web site is an online petition for Rogers to revise their monthly pricing.

The one huge thing that is a potential show-stopper for me is the 3-year contract that you have to sign to be able to have an iPhone in Canada. I don’t know what will happen in 3 years time, but I am 100% certain that I won’t have the same phone (iPhone 4.0 should be out by then). I would not mind paying more more for the phone now so that I don’t need to get locked in for such a long period of time.

Digging further into the offering, I wanted to do the math behind cost for data usage, to get a better picture of what we are actually talking about… and the findings are quite interesting. All pricing below are in Canadian Dollars.

In a nutshell, if you expect to transfer more than 2.1Gb per month and don’t use the iPhone as a phone a lot (under 150 minutes per month), go with the $60 plan, it’s cheaper! If you transfer 5Gb per month, it will cost you $229.80, $234.30, $251.08 and $235.36 on the $60, $75, $100 and $115 plans respectively.

Continue reading iPhone in Canada: Looking into the numbers

Unfounded rumor: iPhone 2 will be unlocked

OK, we are about 3 weeks (my guesstimate) of knowing what will really happen with the iPhone 2, which is widely expected to be announced at the WWDC conference. Over the last few weeks, more and more mobile operators around the world have announced the upcoming availability of the cell phone from Apple on their network in many different countries (the iPhone blog has a good summary post). Looking as this list getting longer and longer almost every day, this can only mean one thing in my mind: the iPhone 2.0 will be unlocked.

Update (June 10, 2008): OK, my unfounded rumor was completely wrong… that must be why it was unfounded 😉

Continue reading Unfounded rumor: iPhone 2 will be unlocked

This might actually get me to jailbreak my iPhone…

Yes, I know, i still have a AT&T activated (on GoPhone) locked iPhone. But yesterday, the port of ScummVM was announced for the iPhone. Getting Days of the Tentacle, Sam & Max or Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis on the iPhone, now that’s an excellent reason to unlock and jailbreak my 1.1.2 iPhone. And then I would also be able to get a Rogers account and get back EDGE connectivity that I got hooked to last week while travelling in the US. Let’s see how long I can wait before having all these applications installed on my iPhone.

Thoughts from an unhacked iPhone user in Canada

Apple iPhoneFor someone who had a whole theory about why he wouldn’t buy one, I am very surprised how long I lasted before getting my iPhone. Yes, I finally have one and it is, all in all, and amazing combination of technology and user experience design.

Living about one hour north of the US border, I drove down to a small town in upstate New York last weekend to get my iPhone and activated it as a pay-as-you-go cell phone from a Starbucks (you know, the other Apple partner when it comes to this device) and updated it to the 1.1.1 firmware. As soon as I crossed the border back, I took the SIM card out so that the battery would not drain to quickly, especially as AT&T dosen’t offer international roaming on their GoPhone plans. Oh yes, Apple, I know I removed the SIM card… no need to remind me about that on a regular basis with a modal dialog box.

Continue reading Thoughts from an unhacked iPhone user in Canada

Even more unfounded rumors about the iPhone software SDK

Yes, I know, I should get another area of interest… but the topic of the month for me seems to be related to Apple’s first generation of cellular phone. Last week, I shared my completely unfounded thought about the business model behind the third-party applications for the iPhone. Well, having a quick look at the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines available from the Apple Developer site, I noticed something that seems to have been missed by all the tech blogs out there: Native third-party applications ARE coming.

Well, it’s not stated in such an obvious way, but I thought it would be fun to apply the same type of translation as between the Apple PR and the geeks community. So what is actually included in this document. Well, there is a simple sentence that states:

Currently, developers create web applications for iPhone, not native applications (page 7 of the PDF published on Sept 27, 2007)

I highlighted the word “Currently”, but if that’s not the best source for the rumors to explode, I really don’t know what could make it happen :-)

And if you wonder what for a crazy idea I have to read these times of documents, I always found the Apple UI guideline documents very interesting to read, especially when working in Product Management for a software company.

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