Friday, January 08, 2010

The Nexus of the Universe

The reference is, of course to Seinfeld. Over the past couple of days, we have witnessed the launching of another cellphone by a previously non cellphone company. I am talking about the Google Phone, the Nexus One. When it was announced, the spokespeople at Google declared it to be not just a smartphone, but a superphone.

It has some interesting features:
3.7 inch touchscreen
1GHz snapdragon processor
5 Megapixel camera with LED flash
GPS and compass
Noise cancellation technology
Voice recognition can be used with all applications
Light sensor changes screen brightness to conserve power
512MB Flash memory with SD card slot (expandable to 32GB)

There is also one more feature, and for this you need to visit the Google Nexus One site, because should you do so in Canada, you will be greeted with these words:
Sorry, the Nexus One Phone is not available in your country.

That is correct, the phone is going to roll out in the US, many parts of Europe as well as Hong Kong and Singapore. Again, no mention of Canada.

It is interesting to note one article mentioned that Android based phones are beginning to show up in a number of countries, none of them Canada. It seems we are now considered a technological backwater when it comes to telecommunication advancements. The nation that gave the world the telephone is now not considered on anyone's list of the newest products. Remember how long it took us to get the iPhone, I believe we got it before Turkey, but I'd have to look that up.

The reason for all this is, our well protected, well insulated cellular industry. The big three, Rogers, Bell and Telus treat us as complete dolts and believe we exist to serve them, not the other way around. Why put out money to improve networks, when it will mean possible expenses. You might recall a few months ago, they started to drop their 'service access fees', and then increased their monthly rates to compensate. Then again, there is a long history, it wasn't too many years ago that Bell Canada had a little surcharge on everyone's bill that was for the cost of digital phones. Indeed, they charged everyone for the privilege of having a digital phone, even though something like 99.99% of Canadians had a digital phone. I wonder if those six people with the Rotary phones still had to pay. Tell me that didn't bring in a whole lot of money for Bell.

All this was done to increase the value of the companies and make their ownership teams very wealthy. It is no wonder Canadians view cellphone companies in the same light as politicians and, politicians. It is also no wonder we are becoming a backwater. One statistic I saw suggested that cellular growth in Canada is slow, with only 60% of the population owning and using a cellphone.

Canada ranks last in cellphone penetration among developed countries.(6) In the final quarter of 2007, cellphone subscriptions averaged 99.7 per 100 inhabitants in the developed world, compared to 60.9 per 100 inhabitants in Canada, according to the Merrill Lynch Global Wireless Matrix. Of the 53 countries in the developed and developing world tracked by Merrill Lynch, Canada ranks 44th, just ahead of Peru, Pakistan and Indonesia and just behind Morocco, Brazil and the Philippines. However, many users outside North America have multiple cellphone accounts. Because the data does not correct for this, comparisons between mobile phone penetration in Canada and the rest of the world should be made with caution.

This is not good. It speaks of the fact Canadians have a strong hate on for these companies and would rather shut themselves out of the growing technology then give any money to these robbers. I suppose the amazing part of it, is that we are into digital when it comes to cellphones, instead of analog phones. Remember those yellow bricks?

However, with the fact the spectrum is now being opened up, one of the new providers are looking at the potential of bringing the Nexus to Canada.

They also are positioning themselves to use the new technology
WIND Mobile's third-generation network is based on the same basic technology as Canada's three incumbent carriers in Rogers Communications Inc., BCE Inc. and Telus Corp.

Yet its 3G devices run on a different frequency band called AWS (Advanced Wireless Services), also know in telecom circles as band 4. The Nexus One is designed to run on band 4, as well as bands 1 and 8.

The three bands make the Nexus One compatible with most operators around the world. But not all.

Unfortunately for Rogers, Bell and Telus, the three do not use band 4. Or 1 or 8. The three firms use bands 2 and 5 for their smartphones. The Nexus One can still theoretically work on their GSM-based networks, but the performance of the device would be degraded.

Read more:
The Financial Post is now on Facebook. Join our fan community today.

Wind Mobile has made a few enemies because of its lack of the right number of Canadians sitting on the Board of Director.

TechCrunch, by the way, had a review of the Nexus One, you can read here.

The question is now, when do we get the Nexus One, then again, the question is, when will Canada cease to be a cellular backwater?

Stay tune

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