Good News And Bad News From Rogers

First the good news. My “best friends at Rogers” sent me an e-mail to let me know that the Sony Xperia X10 Mini will be making an exclusive appearance at Rogers:

Just a heads up that Sony Ericsson has just announced that the Xperia X10 mini is available exclusively from Rogers.

The X10 mini – the world’s smallest Android smartphone – is available starting today exclusively from Rogers starting at $29.99 on select voice and data plans.

More details on the device can be found in Sony Ericsson’s press release here.

I’m good with small. I’m toying with the idea of getting a smaller phone. The feature set looks pretty solid:

  • Four corner touch – users can customize the four corners of their screen according to the applications they use the most, from emailing1, to taking pictures to sending text messages2.
  • Sony Ericsson’s Timescape™ application automatically brings together all recent mobile communication and organizes social interactions in chronological order on one screen. From Facebook™ and Twitter™ updates1 to missed calls and SMS messages2. A 3D scrolling menu offers easy viewing and organization of previews, or full views. Press the infinite button to access all of your communications with one person in one place.
  • 5 megapixel camera and video – share creations via the web with the Quick Facebook™1 and Quick YouTube™1 applications. The auto focus, geo tagging, photo and video light features enable the user to capture all their favourite moments while on-the-go.
  • Music player access the world of music with links to YouTube™1 and stream and play videos1. Also features FM radio Bluetooth™ stereo (A2DP)3.
  • Android platform – with Google™ services including Gmail™4, Google Maps™ with Street view5, Google Search Widget4, Google Talk™4 and thousands of apps from Android Market™4.

I’ll have a look at it and I may dump my Blackberry if it’s really cool… If I can get past some issues that I have with Android.

Now the bad news. The CBC is reporting that Rogers is lowering its download limits for their Internet service:

The company lowered the limits Wednesday on several of its service plans in Ontario, its main market. Users who signed up for the cable company’s “Extreme” service after July 21 will be allowed 80 gigabytes of monthly usage, versus 90 GB for those who signed up before.

Customers who sign up for the “Lite” service will now get 15 GB, versus 25 GB before.

Rogers also simultaneously boosted the speed of the Extreme plan to 15 megabits per second from 10, while the Lite plan’s speed was unchanged.

If you’re wondering why Rogers might do this, here’s an answer for you:

John Lawford, a lawyer with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre consumer watchdog, said the move is both a cash grab by Rogers on its internet customers, and a defensive measure to protect its video services. The company is Canada’s biggest cable television provider and it operates a video streaming service similar to Netflix called On Demand Online.

“It’s easier to make money from overage charges because those aren’t really advertised rates. You’re going to make more money from those overages, eventually, than your regular monthly rates,” Lawford said. “It also kind of wrecks [Netflix’s] business model if the cost to the end user goes up after they’ve subscribed and then they cancel it a month later because they can’t afford it.”

If that’s true, then that’s disappointing. I would much rather have seen Rogers adopt some or all of my suggestions and alter Rogers On Demand Online so that it is different than Netflix, and I would also would have like to have seen Rogers take some or all of the suggestions that were in my open letter to them. But honestly, I can’t say that I’m surprised by this at all because I suspected that the arrival of Netfilx in Canada would scare the daylights out of them. After all, Netflix has pretty much killed Blockbuster and I suspect that Rogers may feel that it would make Rogers On Demand Online a non-factor as well as threaten their brick and mortar video stores.

Oh well. I’ll just wait patiently for Bell to do the same thing with their Internet service. Sigh.

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