Monday, November 19, 2007

Bell Mobility - WARNING

I have a teenage daughter, and naturally she wants to be able to chat with her friends on a "hip" cell phone. She readily admits that real functionality has little to do with what she wants. She already has an 30GB video iPod, a 6 or 7 Mega pixel pocket sized digital camera and a functional cell phone, but it's not cool enough to be used with her friends around ... so off we go this weekend to find her a Cherry LG Chocolate 800.

Well, when she approached me with the request, she had already done some research and showed me the Bell Mobility plans that included this phone ... I should have done my own research, but she came to see me late in the week, and I was busy trying to figure out what to get for my wife's birthday this weekend, so I gave it a quick going over and said we'd drop in and pick it up as we were doing our regular weekend chores.

So I drop into the Bell store in the Eaton Centre, go through the nonsense that Bell puts you through in order to obtain the privilege of paying them too much for their crap, and about 45 minutes later my daughter had her Cherry LG.

So I get home, and my daughter disappears into her bedroom to play with her phone. A few hours later she come out and asks if I can help her with her phone as she can't seem to find any easy way to get media on and off the phone.

I start reading the manual and going on line to see what can be done (there is a USB cable that comes with the phone, and it supports bluetooth, but there is no CD that comes with the Bell Mobility version of this phone, so there is nothing obvious as to how to manage your phone from your computer.

First I try bluetooth from my laptop ... I figure out how to do this, so I at least have a way to add music to the phone, and get the pictures and video off if it as well, without having to pay Bell for storage and transfer surcharges.

Next, I try to figure out the ringtones. There are a few built in ringtones, but no obvious way to use your own ringtones. Supposedly the only way to get ringtones on a Bell Mobility phone is to pay Bell for their rigntones and download them paying data rates for the download as well.

Now, that's not acceptable in my opinion ... I buy a phone, it is my phone, and there is no way the person who sold me the phone should be allowed to prevent me from using that phone to its full capacity. Bell Mobility also cripples the phones by hard coding the network information into them, ie, no sim cards on Bell Mobility phone, if you are dissatisfied with Bell Mobility service and cancel your account, your cell phone is pretty well useless. You either resell it to someone who has a Bell Mobility account, or throw it in the garbage.

Anyway, back to the ringtones. I was able to find some software that allowed me to look at the file system of the phone, and with a little experimenting I was able to get an mp3 file into the "Downloads" folder of the phone, which then allowed me to select that file as a ringtone (the actual ringtone directory on a Bell Mobility phone has been modified to be located in the phones firmware, so you can't add ringtones the easy way, simply adding MP3 files to the ringtone folder ), but when I have this file selected as a ringtone, the phone doesn't actually "ring" while it is selected (the phone does everything it should when a call comes in, it lights up, shows the number, etc, it just doesn't make any sounds.)

It was getting late, so I gave up for the night, but I will get back to it tonight or tomorrow night, and see if I can fix this problem (I'm assuming that it's the format of the MP3 file that is unsuitable for use as a ringtone, or it may be that I need to edit some of the other files in the Download folder to "describe" the file for the phone. Worst case I believe I can download a normal ringtone or two and just replace the MP3 files that were downloaded with my own (the displayed information will probably be wrong, but the MP3's should work.)

I have purposely left any information on the tools I used so far out of this post as I don't want people wasting their time on something that doesn't work (yet.) After I finish playing around with this I will post all the information (successful or not) so others can either make use of my work, or in the case of failure on my part, maybe pick up where I left off and possibly find a solution.

Anyway, Bell Mobility ... you really suck. It's my damn phone and who the hell do you think you are breaking it and then charging me a premium for doing so? This will certainly be the last Bell Mobility phone I will ever own, and I would advise anyone who is the least bit interested in using their phones for the purposes they were designed to be used for, to avoid Bell Mobility as well.

1 comment:

WWB said...

You must have been listening to the conversation I was having with my family a second ago! I will NEVER EVER purchase another Bell Mobility service/phone EVER again. I did the same thing...purchased a Chocolate 800 phone and account for my daughter and the same experience...no ability to get photos or videos unless you pay Bell Mobility 50 cents a pic or 75 cents a video. Whenever you speak to a Bell Mobility representative and express even the remotest amount of displeasure about the fact that you buy a phone and pay them a monthly service and they won't allow you to use the phone like it was designed unless you pay them more money, the representative gets annoyed with YOU! What the hell?!? It is the most frustrating thing I have ever experienced!