Archive for August, 2011

The future of fast is coming to Toronto on September 28

Samsung Galaxy S II LTE smartphone from RogersGood news, Toronto. In just a few short weeks, you will be among the fastest cities in the world when Rogers lights up LTE in the city. Starting on September 28, you will have access to the fastest mobile technology in the world, starting with the launch of Rogers LTE Rocket stick that you can plug into your laptop to access top speeds.

Later this year, Rogers will offer an LTE device that will be capable of maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 100 Mbps on the Rogers LTE network. Today, devices are capable of maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 75 Mbps and Ottawa LTE customers are experiencing typical download speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 25 Mbps. This is significantly faster than the speeds Canadians experience on any other wireless network today. As device selection evolves, maximum theoretical download speeds on the Rogers network will increase to up to 150 Mbps.

Rogers has a great line of LTE devices coming this fall which includes: the Samsung Galaxy S II LTE smartphone; the LTE Rocket mobile hotspot (Sierra Wireless AirCard 754S); Rogers LTE Rocket stick (now available in Ottawa); an LTE tablet from a leading manufacturer; and the previously announced HTC smartphone. Stay tuned. We’ll let you know more details about devices as soon as we can.

But you don’t have to wait to sign-up for any of these great LTE devices. Starting today, Rogers customers in Toronto and Ottawa can register for their LTE wireless devices through the new Rogers Reservation System at www.rogers.com/lte.

Buckle up, Toronto – the future of fast is here.

Sara Holland is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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Upward mobility: the evolution of the mobile phone

Cantel cellphoneRemember some of the first mobile phones? They were enormous, cost several thousand dollars and only offered a few hours of talk time for every recharging. My first phone was a Siemens C61 – not exactly a brick phone and certainly didn’t put me into debt, but it is nothing compared to the smartphones offered today.

Around this time last year, we spoke to Bob Berner, Rogers Executive Vice President Network and Chief Technology Officer who joined Cantel (later known as Rogers wireless) as one of the first employees in 1985. He told us about his first mobile phone which I think is best described in his own words:

My first phone was a Mitsubishi car phone. It was on a cradle on the dashboard with the amplifier in the trunk and the antenna installed on the roof. Most phones we sold in the early days were car phones and had to be installed – they cost between $2,500 and $3,500 all in. There was also a bag phone version you could get, which was essentially a car phone in a satchel. Transportable phones soon became available – they were full-power, 3-Watt phones with a big battery and carrying handle attached – sort of like an army radio. The first handheld portable phone we sold was the Motorola 5000. That was an incredible piece of technology for the time and they sold for about $5,500 in Canada –that was real money back then! These phones now seem so large and clunky compared to what we are accustomed to today, but were they ever durable!

Well, we’ve come a long way since then and to help illustrate this point, check out this visual history of the mobile phone from our friends at Connected Magazine to see just how far we’ve come. The graphic is easier to see if you download it here.

Also, we recently started a thread in our Community Forums where you can post your own “evolution of wireless” pictures. Were you the proud owner of a “Zack Morris phone?” Dust off the photo album, get that pic scanned and post it here.

What was your first mobile phone?

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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Close to home even when you’re far away with Smart Home Monitoring from Rogers

Ever left your house and thought: Did I remember to lock my front door? Is the garage door closed? Did I forget to turn off the coffee maker?

Now you’ll know with Smart Home Monitoring from Rogers, a home monitoring and automation service that allows you to automate sensors, cameras, thermostats, lights and small appliances no matter where you are using your computer or smartphone.

The system uses a rugged touchpad that allows you to automate your thermostat, schedule lighting to go on and off, and even view real-time video to see who is knocking at the front door. The system also has a cellular 2-way voice speaker phone that lets you speak directly to the Central Monitoring Station in an emergency.

The system also comes loaded with apps like:

  • A three-day weather forecast
  • Sports and news scores
  • Real-time traffic updates
  • Digital picture frame

How does it work?

Rogers Smart Home Monitoring runs ongoing full system status checks across both our wireless and High-Speed Internet networks. If something is wrong, you will get notified on your touchpad, mobile device and web portal. The system is also backed by a team of certified security experts with over twenty years of experience in security, monitoring and emergency services who monitor your home, 24/7 and in real time from our Central Monitoring Station.

How do I operate the system?

You can access, control and customize your home in real-time from anywhere through a web portal or mobile app. Want to keep an eye on what’s going on inside your home? No problem. The system will send you text messages or email when there’s activity in your home such as people entering and leaving, or arming and disarming your system. You can also watch real-time video streaming of your home from your computer or smartphone.

Can I set it up to work automatically?

Yes. You can easily set up automation rules from your personalized web portal. For example, to manage your energy costs you can schedule your thermostat and lights to turn off when you leave for work in the morning, and to turn on just before you arrive home.

How much does it cost?

Smart Home Monitoring has three rate plans, each including always connected wireless-data backup. Pricing to set up a basic system in your home includes:

  • $149.99 for a Smart Home Monitoring starter kit that includes a touchpad and sensor, based on a three year term
  • $99.00 one-time installation fee
  • Monthly service fees start at $39.99 per month with a Home Basics Package

You can learn more about Smart Home Monitoring from Rogers by visiting www.rogers.com/smarthomemonitoring.

Allison Fittonis a regular contributor to RedBoard

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Kid approved: Rogers on Demand Online introduces Kids & Family Collection

Kid and Family Collection on Rogers on Demand OnlineWhere can you find hundreds of hours of amazing kids and family content online for your viewing pleasure?

If you answered Rogers On Demand Online’s Kids & Family Collection, I’d say you are spot on. But if you’re asking, “What’s he talking about?” allow me to give you all the details.

Rogers On Demand’s Kids & Family Collection was designed to make life easier for you to search for all sorts of kid-friendly content, which we admittedly have a ton to offer. And believe me when I say a ton – this is no exaggeration. To help you find the shows you want your family watching, we curated our video content into four different areas:

  1. Free For All – Who doesn’t like free stuff? When it comes to Kids & Family, we’ve got a great selection of free content that you can start watching immediately, including episodes of Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, Gisèle’s Big Backyard and Digimon Adventure!
  2. Pre-School – As the father of a one-year old, I can tell you that I’m so glad there are channels like TVOKids, Treehouse and Disney Junior out there.  There are so many quality programs that I know my child is going to be able to watch sooner than later. With our Pre-School channel, we’ve made it easy for you to find shows like Dora The Explorer, Caillou, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and many more, and you can watch them all for free until September 7th!
  3. Kids – Looking for shows for your tween is easy. We’ve collected all of their favourites, from Kick Buttowski : Suburban Daredevil and Johnny Test to The Suite Life on Deck and iCarly. You’ll be the coolest parent around when you tell your kids to go watch the computer!
  4. Editor’s Picks – How do you know what the latest and greatest kids and family shows are? That’s what our editor’s picks are there for. We take a look at all the great shows that we have on our site, and then pick out a few that we want to highlight that we know you’ll enjoy.

From animation to live action, the hottest new shows to some classic retro offerings, you’re guaranteed to find what you’re looking for with Rogers On Demand Online’s Kids & Family Collection. Even better, from now until September 7th you can catch freeviews of Teletoon, Teletoon Retro, YTV, Treehouse, Disney Junior, Family and Disney XD!

What’s your favourite kids & family show?

Andrew Burns is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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Rogers Community Forums turns one

Rogers Community Forums bdayIt’s hard to believe that one year ago we officially turned on the lights of Rogers Community Forums.

This community was created as a place for you to find solutions to technical issues, ask and reply to questions and discuss Rogers products and services.

Over the past year, there’s been a lot of help going on. Here’s some stats:

  • More than 30,000 registered users
  • 12,583 posts
  • Over 2 million post views
  • 372 posts received an accepted solution which helped over 60,000 people who viewed these topics

To celebrate our one-year anniversary, we’re making some changes to the forums based on your feedback:

  • We’ve added mobile enhancement so you can check-in on the go
  • The boards are streamlined so you can find things quickly, with less clicking
  • We’ve got a spiffy new banner

It wouldn’t be an anniversary without some presents, so to celebrate we’ll be giving away an HTC EVO 3D to the person who provides the best tech tip. Go here to find out all the details on how to enter.

We’ve also started up a new thread to celebrate all the things that have happened in the tech world in the past year. Click here for a thread where you can post your own “evolution of wireless” pictures. Dust off the photo album and get those pics scanned.

Are you a member of our Community Forums?

Gina Mulic is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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It’s back! 6GB/$30 data plan returns

Yes, you read correctly. The 6GB/$30 data plan for smartphones is back – for a limited time only.

Until September 30, both new and existing customers can add the 6GB/$30 data plan to a voice plan with a three-year term.  Also, you can now share your 6GB data plan with mobile internet devices starting at $10/month per device. With this option, you can share the data from your smartphone with your tablet, netbook or Rocket mobile internet stick.

Upgrade your data on the My10 Promo Plan

New and existing customers on the My10 Promo Plan can upgrade the data bucket from 1GB to 6GB for only $10 more/month. This means you’ll be able to get all the same services– My10 Canada wide calling, unlimited text and picture/video messaging  - with 5 times the data.

Eligibility

You must have a voice plan in order to add the 6GB/$30 and it’s available with a three year term only. Tethering is included at no extra charge.

For sharing options, your primary line must be a smartphone with a three year term and your secondary device can be any of the following:

You can add up to four secondary devices on sharing plans.

Will you add the 6GB/$30 data plan?

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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New BlackBerry smartphones coming to Rogers

New BlackBerry 7 lineup from RogersLast night, RIM held an exclusive event called #BB7FanNight to announce the arrival of their new BlackBerry devices: the new Bold 9900, Torch 9860 and the Torch 9810. All three will be joining Rogers lineup this summer and all three are capable of 14.4 Mbps 4G download speeds.

In addition to a special guest appearance from baseball legend Joe Carter, I also had a chance to catch up with BlackBerry expert, Jeff Gadway to take a look at these new devices and get the low-down on some of the new features and functionality. Video coming soon.

The Torch 9860 will be Rogers first all-touch BlackBerry smartphone. It runs on BlackBerry 7 OS, has a 5.0MP camera with flash, 720p HD video recording capability and 4GB on-board flash memory. This smartphone will cost $199.99 with select three-year plans.

For those that can’t live without the full keyboard, you’ll want to check out both the Bold 9900 and the Torch 9810 that come with both touchscreen and full QWERTY keyboard.  The Bold 9900 is the thinnest BlackBerry smartphone yet, at only 10.5mm. The Torch 9810 has a large 3.2” high resolution display.  Both smartphones run the latest BlackBerry 7 OS and come with 5.0 MP cameras with flash and 720p HD video recording capability. The Bold 9900 will be $249.99 and the Torch 9810 will be $199.99 with select three year plans.

What do you think of the latest BlackBerry devices?

UPDATE (August 8, 2011, 5:02 pm): As promised, here’s a video from last week’s #BB7FanNight:

UPDATE (August 9, 2011, 4:40 pm): Good news! The BlackBerry Bold 9900 will be available at Rogers stores starting Wednesday, August 10 and the BlackBerry Torch 9810 will be available this Friday, August 12. To ensure your local store has stock, we recommend calling ahead. No update on the launch date for the BlackBerry Torch 9860 but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we can. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: August 12, 2011, 2:35 pm: The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the BlackBerry Torch 9810 are now available on Rogers.com for $199.99 with a three year term.

UPDATE (August 18, 2011 5:43 pm): Existing Rogers customers can now reserve a Blackberry Torch 9810 or Blackberry Bold 9900 on the Rogers Reservation System. Login to MyRogers and reserve your device today. We are glad to offer this exclusive service for Rogers customers.

UPDATE (August 23, 2011 10:01 a.m): This morning Research in Motion announced new Blackberry Curve smartphones and we’re happy to announce the BlackBerry Curve 9360 will be available at Rogers stores just in time for the Back to School season.

UPDATE:(August 31, 2011, 9:31 a.m)- BlackBerry Curve 9360 is now available for $49.99 with a three-year term and the Blackberry Torch 9860 is now available for $199.99 with a three-year term. Both devices will be available in Rogers stores nation-wide by the end of the week.

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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Rogers donates paper invoice fee to youth education initiatives

Rogers Youth FundStarting today, new Rogers customers or existing customers changing price plans or adding a new line will be given the option of getting a paperless bill or paying a $2 monthly paper invoice fee to receive a paper bill. Other Canadian carriers are already charging a paper bill fee, but unlike these other companies, Rogers will not treat this fee as revenue. Instead, we’ve taken steps to ensure that proceeds are directed to where they’ll do the most good: supporting youth and basic skills education through the Rogers Youth Fund.

What’s changed for existing customers?

For many existing customers nothing will change. However, if you make a price plan change or add a new line, you will be asked to take advantage of online billing or you can choose to incur a paper invoice fee of $2 per month. Proceeds will support the Rogers Youth Fund. If you don’t make any changes to your account, you will be grandfathered and can continue to receive a paper bill at no additional charge. But of course, you’re welcome and encouraged to go paperless at any time. If you’d like to make the switch to online billing right away, you can sign up at www.rogers.com/onlinebilling

What are the advantages to paperless billing?

Paperless billing is an environmentally friendly option. But going paperless also offers many other benefits including an easier way to stay on top of your bills. Other advantages include:

  • Up to 18 months of invoices available at your fingertips
  • Secure access to your bill with a user ID and password via www.rogers.com
  • Automatic e-mail notification that your invoice is available
  • Faster access to your monthly invoices because they are available as soon as 4 to 6 days after the billing cycle
  • Easily printable invoices
  • Ability to download your invoice so you can easily save or email it

What is the Rogers Youth Fund?

The Rogers Youth Fund is our national commitment to help Canada’s youth overcome barriers to education so they can succeed in the classroom and beyond. To do this, Rogers has formed strategic relationships with charities across Canadian communities that support youth and basic skills education. Our goal is to try to help all youth between the ages of 12 and 19, especially those who are at-risk due to poverty, isolation, having to adjust to a new language and culture, or who are facing challenges at home.

We believe that young Canadians deserve equal access, no matter what their background, to basic skills education so we’re giving them the tools they need for a successful future.

I’ve been using online billing for over a year. Are you ready to make the switch?

UPDATE (May 25, 2012, 1:37 p.m.): Wondering what’s new with the Rogers Youth Fund? Check out our new blog post for details on what’s new, who we’re helping and our commitment to the Rogers Youth Fund.

 

Mary Pretotto is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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Roam around the world with first-ever real-time data usage alerts

Rogers Roaming data passesSummer is the peak time for hitting the road, flying the friendly skies or riding the rails and we’ve got some news that will help make keeping in touch worry free: introducing our new U.S. and International Roaming Data Passes. We’ll help you monitor your usage with real time alerts while travelling and save you money on roaming costs so you don’t get a bill surprise on your return.

What is the new offer?

Starting as low as $5 per day, there are several options so no matter where you’re going, we’ve got you covered with multiple Day and Week Data Pass options that help you save on standard roaming rates. There are lots of options depending on your travel destination, length of travel and data usage needs.  Check out the chart below for the complete rundown of the Day and Week U.S. and International Roaming Data Passes (click to enlarge):

Rogers Data roaming passes

If you’re jet-setting to the beaches in Thailand or backpacking across Europe for the summer you will be able to accurately track your data usage so you will always know how much data you’re using to do things like search for directions on your smartphone or email pictures to your friends back home – a feature only offered by Rogers.

When you begin to access data services on your mobile device while roaming, you will automatically receive a text message with the option to purchase a Roaming Data Pass or continue with the pay-per-use roaming rates.

If you purchase a Roaming Data Pass, you will receive real-time alerts, up-to-date within five minutes, when you use 50%, 80% and 100% of your data, so you will know how much is left in your data bucket. Once you have reached your data or time limit, you will receive a message with an option to purchase an additional pass or continue using pay-per-use data services. In order to continue data roaming, you will have to select one of these options.

If you initially choose to access pay-per-use data roaming, you will be able to access data roaming until you exceed a data usage threshold. Once you have reached this usage threshold, you will be notified and then asked to make a choice to either continue at pay-per-use rate or to purchase a Roaming Data Pass. This way, you avoid all bill surprises from roaming data charges.

How to get it?

Customers have the ability to pre-purchase a Roaming Data Pass up to 30 days prior to using data services in their selected destination.  Once purchased, the data pass will automatically activate upon using data services while roaming in the respective region where the Data Pass is applicable.

No need to call in. You can easily add a Day or Week U.S. or International Roaming Data Pass right from your phone. All you have to do is:

 

  • Text “TRAVEL” to 7626 on the Rogers network and a link will be sent to your phone to allow you to purchase the offers.
  • From your mobile device, visit www.rogers.com/m/roam
  • Or, wait till you land at your destination and follow the prompts on your mobile device to purchase

Want more information about travelling with your phone? Check out www.rogers.com/roaming to learn more about our new Roaming Data Passes, our new unlimited U.S. roaming text messaging offers and our other roaming offers.

Katie Boland is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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RedBoard video: Tennis superstar Milos Raonic on tech, Twitter and the pro tour

The Rogers Cup is around the corner and with names like Nadal, Federer, Sharapova and the Williams sisters on the schedule, you can guarantee some intense battles. The world’s top 25 women are set to compete in Toronto and the top 30 men in Montreal from August 5-14.

One name conspicuously missing from the list of champions is Canada’s Milos Raonic. This 20-year-old tennis superstar from Thornhill is recovering from recent hip surgery so he won’t be competing in this year’s tournament  but recently, I had a chance to catch up with him when he stopped by Rogers headquarters in Toronto for an autograph signing. We talked about how he plans to stay connected to the Rogers Cup this year, his favourite smartphone and when we’ll see him back on the courts. Take a look:

If you want to stay on top of every serve, volley and smash, make sure you check out Rogers On Demand Online where you’ll be able to stream live coverage of both the women’s and men’s tournaments. All Rogers customers can access the content at no additional charge. All you need is an Internet connection.

The Rogers Cup will also be broadcast live on Rogers Sportsnet, with 12 hours of coverage on weekdays, and live streaming on Sportsnet.ca.

And of course, there’s nothing better than the real thing. You can get tickets here and remember, Rogers customers get a 25% discount.

How will you be watching the Rogers Cup? What match are you looking forward to seeing?

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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