State of the Canadian Mobile Web, According to Opera

Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner

Here’s some love for Canadian mobile users, all the way from Norway!

Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software (that’s him to the left) recently posted his company’s State of the Mobile Web for 2008. The report contains stats for specific countries, and because Canada is included I thought it worthy of re-posting here.

Thanks to the intrepid team at for bringing this to my attention

Snapshot: Canada

  • Page-view growth since January 2008: 187.4%
  • Facebook is popular among Opera Mini users in Canada. (well, duh…)
  • Opera Mini users in Canada prefer Google, with Live in a distant second place, and Yahoo completely absent from the top ten list.

Top sites ranked by unique users

  3. (no For shame…)
  10. (why not instead?)

Top handsets for November 2008

  1. BlackBerry 8330
  2. BlackBerry 8130
  3. BlackBerry 9000 (AKA the BB Bold, which has Opera Mini installed by default)
  4. BlackBerry 8310
  5. Nokia N95
  6. BlackBerry 8320
  7. Nokia E71 (w00t w00t!)
  8. Sony Ericsson K850i
  9. Nokia 6275i
  10. Sony Ericsson W810i

Even though I myself have moved on from Canada’s smartphone success story it’s not surprising that RIM devices occupy no less than half of the top ten handsets browsing the mobile web in this country. As for the rest of the world I was especially heartened to read this:

Experts predicted this year as the year when the mobile Web would become mainstream. Our numbers from previous reports on Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia have confirmed that indeed the mobile phone has come into its own as a platform for the Web.

If you don’t have Opera Mini already installed on your handset click here to read my glowing review, then hurry up and download it already — unless you have an iPhone, in which case I can’t help you… 😆

Requiem for Fido (The Pre-Rogers Version)

Fido logo I still remember the first time I saw a Fido handset. It was some kind of Ericsson, pre-dating the T18z but with a similar design, with an integrated belt clip built into the hardware. Like most Ericsson handsets of the day it was very European and classy, but then Sony bought out their handset business. And while market share increased, that elusive cachet was largely gone.

It’s the same story with Fido; back in the days when Rogers was still a TDMA network, Fido was GSM all the way, and carried the first dual-band handsets that could be used in Europe and parts of Asia.

But then our government inexplicably allowed Rogers to buy a controlling stake in Fido, effectively creating a monopoly on GSM service in this country. For the past few years Fido has languished, with Rogers getting most of the premium handsets for their own portfolio and tossing a bone or two Fido’s way.

New Fido Logo As of today Fido has a new logo, and there can be no mistake about its place in the Rogers empire — as Koodo is to Telus and Solo is to Bell, Fido has officially been re-branded as the poor cousin to the “premium” Rogers Wireless.

But it’s not all bad news: To effectively compete in the bottom end of the market Fido has done away with the roundly-criticized System Access Fee, and while their handset lineup will continue to be, well… craptacular, the killer feature of the removable SIM chip — enabling the use of unlocked phones — remains intact.

Though I’m clearly a mobile elitist I’ll be staying loyal to Fido for the foreseeable future — I’m locked in to a pretty damn awesome calling plan and a best-that-can-be-expected-for-Canada deal on data. Still, it does suck that Fido isn’t cool anymore…

What I’ll miss:

  • The exclusive handsets, especially my hiptop;
  • The European-flavoured ads, courtesy of Fido’s Montreal-based agency;
  • Being the envy of fellow Canadian travellers to Europe and Asia.

And not so much:

  • The System Access Fee, obviously;
  • The small, largely urban calling area before Rogers took over.

What I’ll most remember:

  • Driving home from the family cottage and re-acquiring a digital signal just north of Orangeville, Ontario — letting me know I was back in civilization. 😉

Anyone But Harper

On this, the morning of the televised leaders’ debate (the Canadian one, because I live in Canada) I present to you three viral videos I directed for the anti-Stephen Harper site — parodies of ads you may have seen on TV or on the Conservative Party web portal:

Harper on Veterans.

Harper on Family.

Harper on The Arts.

Feel free to spread these far and wide, and on October 14th vote to elect anyone but Harper!

The Return of Search Engine, and Yet Another Fail for Old Media

So CBC’s Search Engine Podcast is back with a vengeance; Episode 2 of the new series is all about the very foundation of the World Wide Web — linking.

You’d think by now, some 15 years after the first web browser was made available for desktop computers, that old media would have figured out how to increase the value of their content by linking to external sites — but sadly, bewilderingly, this is not the case.

As proof may I present to you the YouTube video embedded above, Québec superstar Michel Rivard‘s scathing commentary on the sad state of the arts in Canada.

The video is mentioned on at least two old media news sites, The Toronto Star (click on the embedded Canadian Press video) and The Saskatoon Star Phoenix — yet neither of them provides a link to the actual YouTube page.

Granted, is how I found out about the video in the first place, but it is incomprehensible to me that in this day and age a reader should have to leave either of the two sites mentioned above to find the YouTube video on their own.

Jesse Brown talks about old media’s reluctance to cite sources in the latest Search Engine Podcast. Again, that link to it is here. See how easy that was?

Canada’s Latest Fail: “We Charge for incoming texts now…”

Jim Prentice (moran, fail)

As the Rogers/Fido iPhone debacle continues there’s some new bad news for mobile users in this country: Bell Canada and Telus Mobility have both announced their intention to charge customers for incoming text messages as of next month.

For anyone not schooled in the etiquette of mobile carriers, this is how it has worked in the rest of the world for the last, oh, decade or so: Subscribers pay for outgoing calls and texts only; to be asked to pay for the receipt of such things would be tantamount to a slap in the face.

And who is the only politician in this country with the power to stop this? God help us all, it’s none other than Hollywood shill Jim Prentice, our Honourable Minister of Doing It Wrong

Now to be fair Prentice has called upon representatives from both companies to meet with him about this issue, but presumably it’s to find out whether they want him to swallow or not.

NDP leader Jack Layton is taking up the cause with an online petition, but it seems to me that if you sit across the floor from the guy in The House of Commons you should maybe be able to to better than that. Still, it’s better than nothing.

I really hope Ottawa can get with the program on this stuff, if not for Canadians then at least for the international visitors who will hopefully still be visiting for The Winter Olympics in 2010