Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hemispheric Phonesick Blues

One of the things that still surprises me is the variety of cell phones that people have here. So many people carry multiple phones so that if one provider's network is bad you can use your second or third phone to complete your call. However, it can be inconvenient to carry 2, 3, or four phones, but the Chinese made an app for that, a phone that takes two sims! I am waiting for the day when the mobile phones will be able to take 3 and four sims.

Apart from folks having two phones there are many smart, yesterday I bought a Tecno 0707 for $64.00, it has some nice features such as a qwerty keyboard, it takes two sims, has GPRS, and various VoIP and internet features. I think that it would work beautifully if I was running WindowsXP instead of FedoraCore10. As it is I think it compares favourably with the Smartphones that we were issued at Tekmate. One of the reasons why I think it might be cheap is the Tecno Telecom does not use WindowsCE, PalmOS, or any other well known, commercial embedded system. I would guess that its either some version of Linux or an off the shelf OS from China or India. The only thing that I am having problems doing is adding duplicate phone numbers to my contacts. Over here many folks have more than two numbers since the networks are so bad so you need to store all the numbers. Unfortunately I have not been able to add a second number to each contact, even though the phone support vcd version 3.0.

Some of the brands that I never heard of before are Itel, Tecno, there are many others that look very nice, in the states many of these would be popular but they are not available either because of tarrifs, Americans would not care for the features since they have full fledged laptops and desktops that masses of Nigerians use their phones for. There is also the possibility that they do not meet the technical and safety requirements that are enforced in the US, though I really do not think the phones are badly made at all.

Some of the things that are different from the United States is almost no one buys a phone and a plan. Everyone uses prepaid sim cards and they buy their phones separately. Some folks will keep the same mobile for six years and kust switch sims. As a result of this all the phones sold in Nigeria are unlocked. To add minutes you will buy a recharge card, phone calls in Nigeria are some of the most expensive in the world even though the networks are so unreliable. Another thing that is different is that since masses of the people do not have electricity they take their phones to phone charging shops where they will leave their phone for a couple of hours so that it can charge. It is also a good idea to keep a spare battery sometimes and buy a phone battery charger. The last thing that I will mention is that 90% of the phone have their volumes turned up to 11 so that you can feel the awesome awesomeness of the each humble stranger's ring tone, but then again this should not suprise me since the average Nigerian loves tweeter shattering bass.

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