I have been in the Middle East for just over a year and it has been eye opening. Apart from the cultural adjustments, one of the things that has become a peeve is how Western companies do not recognize some of the differences that will impact their devices or their software outside of Western countries.
It is no secret that I am a big fan of RIMâ€™s (Research In Motion) Blackberry. However, there are some things that should be considered when selling this product in the rest of the world. For example, the work week is different in the Middle East. Muslim religion dominates in the region and therefore Friday is the day of worship. Depending on the country, your other day off is either Thursday or Saturday. In some countries, they also work a half day on the Thursday. None of these can be accommodated by the Blackberry.
Although I can set Saturday as the first day of the week, there is no way for me to tell the Blackberry that Thursday and Friday are the weekends (or Friday and Saturday). This presents some minor annoyances such as viewing the month and the Blackberry shades the Saturday and Sunday. To some aggravating issues when it comes to having the alarm only active on weekdays.
It would be a simple change, as a screen that simply asks you to fill in some check boxes for weekend or weekdays.
Blackberry sales in the Middle East are growing rapidly. I have read that this is one of RIMâ€™s fastest growing regions. There is both a status and fashion aspect to the Blackberry in the Middle East. Hopefully this will push RIM towards accommodating the the nuances of the region.
I recently had the opportunity of accepting an international position. As I was moving out of the country I contacted Rogers (Canadian cable TV and Internet Service Provider), to let them know I would be cancelling my wireless accounts. We had a total of 3 wireless accounts in our family. My wife and I had our accounts for years along with our phones. Out daughter had only recently upgraded her cell phone. Well needless to say I was a little shocked when Rogers told me there would be $1400 in cancellation charges. I said, I could see how there would be a charge for my daughters phone, as wireless companies amortize the cost of the hardware over the length of the service plan, so I expected to pay the $400 cancellation charge. However, for the other 2 phones, which were never even purchased from Rogers I did not understand why I was being charged $500 each.
Rogers explained that because of the data and voice plan that we had there was a $400 cancellation charge for the voice plan and an additional $100 for the data plan. I said that this was ridiculous as there was no hardware amortization involved, and it was simply at service plan. I also pointed out the extra charges we had paid on a number of months for going over on our voice minutes. They said yes, we see that, but the cancellation charges still stand.
Then I came across an interesting web site. Called the Commissioner of Complaints for Telecommunication Services. I simply went on their site and filled out the form explaining my situation and that I was willing to pay the $400 cancellation, but that the other $1000 was robbery.
â€¦and what do you know. About 6 weeks later I get a call from â€œThe Office of the Presidentâ€ at Rogers. I spoke with a woman there who explained she had received my complaint and agreed to waive the $1000 fee and only charge the $400. She said she would put a note on my account, so when it came time to cancel, simply refer the agent to the notes and all would be good. In addition I received a letter summarizing what they agreed to do.
Only in Canada eh!
OK, I know it has been awhile, but I moved across the country; so I was a little tied up 😉
I have blogged about a couple of other instant messengers for Blackberries before, and have had various amounts of success with them. There is a new player out there. WebMessenger has been around for awhile, but they recently announced that they were offering their personal instant messenger for FREE!
I tried it out and it was a breeze to set up. One of the biggest issues with Instant Messengers has been to get MSN Messenger, or Live Messenger on a Blackberry. WebMessenger does this without a hitch. RIM has been saying for some time that they would have a version for MSN, but so far only Yahoo and Google Talk.
Before you try to get it working on your Blackberry, you need to set up an account on the WebMessenger site. You simply tell them your logins for each of the IM’s out there and then when you login on the blackberry, all your contacts will be there.
…now if I could just get Rogers to offer a cheap data plan.