A guided tour of a Rogers-branded Nokia.

Prior to last week’s #N97minitour the last locked-to-a-carrier handset that I used was a Fido-branded hiptop that I gave up in 2007. I’m a big fan of unlocked phones and wrote a fairly popular treatise on the subject for a previous blog.

In the interest of due diligence I thought I might have a look and show you what I’ve been missing before this Rogers-branded Nokia is sent back. Prepare to be underwhelmed…

Rogers N97 mini Home Screen

Apart from the Rogers World-Ready™ start-up and shutdown screens the most noticeable tweaks to the stock N97 mini are the red and white icons on the default home screen seen above.

My Account

The first shortcut is actually a web bookmark that will take a Rogers customer to their account administration page. The good news is that there’s no special login required; the bad news is that you need to use the Rogers (or Fido) WAP connection for it to work.

FYI here’s the actual address of the page::

http://rogers-fido.mobi:8080/primary/my_account_page

Verdict: Of dubious value. You could bookmark this yourself on any unlocked device.

Rogers urMusic/taMusik Splash Screen

The second shortcut will spirit you away to urMusic, Rogers’ DRM-free mobile music store. And surprise of surprises, it actually seems to work as advertised.

I used my temporary Rogers SIM to buy and download a sample track — not only did it play back through the urMusic player (itself of dubious value) but I was able to transfer a DRM-free .aac file to my Linux box and play it back from there.

But with added-on “download fees” that range from 25¢ to a ridiculous $3 nobody in their right mind would use this service — at least from their mobile phone.

Verdict: A complete and utter rip-off. Avoid like the plague.

Ringtones Ringbacks & Other Crap

The third shortcut provides Rogers with another opportunity to bilk you further on ringtones, ringbacks, etc.

Verdict: Waste of time. You do know that you can side-load your own ringtones without paying a dime to anyone, don’t you?

Rogers N97 Mini Bookmarks

The fourth and final shortcut takes you to a dedicated folder of more Rogers-branded shortcuts. How’s that for unnecessary duplication?

Verdict: Awesome if you appreciate the aesthetics of Rogers’ red and white icon design. Otherwise useless.

Final verdict: Aside from a modicum of wasted space none of the Rogers “value add-ins” interferes with the actual device. You can easily replace the home screen shortcuts like I did, and still use the Ovi Store proper instead of the Rogers ringback portal.

But there’s nothing here of any real value, either. This Rogers-branded Nokia might be cheaper at first blush than an unlocked N97 mini, but you’ll pay for it eventually with three years of servitude to a single master. And with all the wireless upstarts popping up ’round these parts, why on Earth would you want to do that?

5 comments:

  1. Just an aside, I’m wondering how using a phone locked to a carrier will be like. Those services are very rare in this part of the world.

  2. Most mobile users in Africa are prepaid, right? Can’t they account balances via SMS?

    For music, it doesn’t look like 7digital is available in your part of the world — you could, however, support the artists on Jamendo who are giving theirs away for free.

    As for the ringtones and custom icons, I think you could do better on both than Rogers has…

  3. Nah AC, the problem is more with HOW TO support than the support itself. Heck, I’d love to be a member of Magnatunes, but the way to pay.

    The last time I asked, the banks told me their minimum charge for making foreign payments is $50. We just don’t have any electronic payments means here which makes life all the more difficult.

    Internet Evolution had this beautiful write up http://ow.ly/2jdtk on the dillema confronting us as Africans and wanting to do something meaningful online. This has forced me to limit myself to just verbal support of projects that I like via the blog 🙁

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