Rant starts… I have two super smartphones in front of me now, and both are pretty much useless as far as smartphones go. iPhone 3GS

I want a tool, not a patient

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Rant starts…

I have two super smartphones in front of me now, and both are pretty much useless as far as smartphones go.

iPhone 3GS
This classy looking slab (rightly hailed for its superb user interface) was purchased locked to AT&T USA courtesy of Apple’s control policies, unlocked and shipped here. You’ve read the story: I performed a firmware upgrade, lost the unlock and now it is just a glorified iPod Touch. At least till Apple announces iOS 4.2 and then some hackers find a way to set people in my shoes free from the shackles of lala-land.

Of course, the jailbreaking and unlocking processes are not for the faint-hearted.

Palm Pre
This smooth pebble is unlocked. But for some crazy reason(s), it won’t accept internet settings manually and so is as useful as a low-end voice/SMS-only device.

Searching the intertnet, I found tons of similar complaints from stranded Palm customers all over the world who are unable to use the internet on their devices for the same reason.

I found a solution somewhere, but guess – it requires downloading the Palm SDK, downloading a couple of gadzooks scripts, logging in as root to the Pre and changing parametres in the APN database of the device.

Does that sound like what you want to spend your time doing with these things?

pre 3gs

My Advice to the Average Joe
If you were a geek, I am sure that you could derive some pleasure from these complex processes that it requires to get these shiny toys working. But I know that the vast majority of users are not geeks. My advice: Stick with manufacturers and companies that have a deliberate policy of supporting your country (in this case, Nigeria).

Stick with Nokia, Samsung, and LG, among others – and ensure you buy devices targeted at your country. If it has to be unlocked for it to work here, turn around and walk away. If Nigeria is not listed in the regional settings of the device (Nigeria is not listed in the Palm Pre, and is certainly not listed in the iPhone).

Nigeria is not supported by Android either. Well, Google can take a spade and shove it down their….. for all you care. As long as they do not reckon with you, you cannot enjoy those droids to the max (unless you have no need to purchase any apps). But, mark my words, it may seem to you that you do not need to buy anything now. Just wait until the need shows up.

If you are a geek and you love to spend hours on end tinkering with these things, well this article is not directed at you.

Personally, I am a geek. No; scratch that. I used to be a thoroughbred greek. In the last couple of years, I have been cross-bred – administrative duties and other responsibilities keep growing. I want to attend to clients from my PC and/or smartphone, not attend to my smartphone while customers fume. I want to respond to a mail in 30 seconds and cuddle my wife for the next 1 hour, not give her a quick peck and battle SDKs, hacks and scripts for the next 3 hours.

I’m guessing that the vast majority of mobile users fall into my category. We need tools, not patients. Still, something tells me that not many people will take to this sage’s words of wisdom. We love our toys too much to care whether a manufacturer or OS supports Nigeria. Who cares about things like that?

Rant ended.


  1. I totally agree wit u, around this time last year i bought two iphone 3gs to sell to my client from london, and tried to unlock it like the iphone 3g i got 2 weeks before it and met a brick wall. The guys at computer village and gsm plaza at saka tinubu couldn’t unlock it fully as the phone needed to be unlocked anew after each power on no thanks to the baseband 5.11 issues. I even gave it to an italian and indian hackers all to no avail. Eventually i had to take the gloves off and learnt unlocking of phones myself. That didn’t work either so i sent them back to london for unlocking eventually losing money on it. Since then i’ve sworen off iphones for now. Just BBs and regular brands

  2. Well Said but to a point. First of all the problems you delineated have two walk-arounds. First of all, if you are Geek, then, there is no point listening to the advice because you would not stop tinkering! That’s why you are a GEEk in the first place.

    The Second Point is that, if there was any problem, it is just because the phones are locked to AT&T in the US, So Why don’t you just buy an iphone from Europe? In Canada there are no bottled up exclusivity deals with a single Carrier for the iphone. Even in the US, that Exclusivity will soon end.

    Lesson? If you must get an iphone, Make sure it is not a Jailbroken phone with CYDIA. Ensure it is SIM-free from an APple Store itself. How can you know that? GEt it from Europe and not the US! Tell your Dealer that you Want it from Europe or Hong Kong. Q.E.D. End of story. And um… appstore purchases? Just get a foreign prepaid credit card and you are home and dry.

    The iphone is so delicious to let all those features go for the sake that Nigeria isn’t supported!

  3. @martinkem.
    I am surprised you made this mistake. What people do is that they buy the iphone from carriers at a subsidized rate and locked to the carrier, then they ship these phones still locked to the carrier to Nigeria for sales after Jailbreaking and manually unlocking it. You will agree with me that it is not the same thing as a manufacturer Sim-free device? It is an easy and cheaper way out.

    If you buy the iphone from the UK Apple store, it is SIM-free. It is unsubsidized, more expensive BUT you can use ANY SIM card with it! You will also have less heart-aches!!

    Please Check this; http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_iphone.

    and http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_iphone/family/iphone

    The iphone 4 on the Apple Online Store is SIM-free, costs 499 Pounds(16GB) and 599(32GB) respectively!! Aren’t we the ones killing ourselves with a cheaper way but fraught with headaches and heartaches?

  4. After seeing the title, I read this article with the mind of bashing you but by the time I read to the end, I couldn’t help agreeing with you.

    The truth is, if you are an average Kola, Amadu and Chinedu, it is best to stay away from iPhone, Palm Pre and other devices that do not explicit welcome Nigeria. Its not worth the trouble.

    If you must use an iPhone, but a factory-unlocked one from the UK. Anything short of that is a recipe for heartaches like that of Dr. Yomi. Let’s hope Mrs Adegboye doesn’t sue him for spending her timeslot on his “patients”.

  5. Well, my initial thoughts were that you got your hands dirty, deliberately. Why come here to ask for our pity? 🙂

    Your self-appointed job is to get your hands dirty so we readers don’t have to. So enjoy it.

    Those where my initial thoughts. Reading the article to the end changed my perspective.

    Good job.

  6. I’ve been burned before and not just with phones. It’s kind of weird how some companies ignore markets with potential. The market leaders today are those that took risks on China and India back then. Hopefully the same will happen for Nigeria too. Until then i will stick with supported products.

  7. hmm! so much for the pure breeds. the reason why so many people who are not geeks will hardly comment here is that, you guys know your onions too well. See the way you’ve all dissected Yomi’s plight. I am awed! supported phones all the way too.

    @Yomi, you composition style in this post is very excellent, you can win an election against Obama.

  8. My current patient is Apple TV, no Netflix and Itunes streamimg in Nigeria, now i have to wait for hacks. I didnt intend buying it but my friend that traveled bought it when he didnt see the seagate media player i wanted.

    This is why I like been here, we discuss matters that really relates to us. A couple of months ago I had thesame battle with an iphone 2G and i had to roll back and unlock again. It is easier on 2G.

    what is to be learnt here is not dont buy an iphone or palmpre, it is dont buys goods that are not natively suppoted in you country, unless you have a defined and tested way around it.

    A family friend bought Avatar DVD from US, got back to Niga and the DVD dint paly in his player, why becos it was a ‘Region A’ DVD for US. They contacted me for a solution and I said the solution is you have to get another player becos you player cant play this. I have a region free DVD player and uptill today the Avatar DVD is with me.

    Watch, Read, Ask before you swipe that card or handover thte cash.

  9. Well, the article and posts have said it all.
    He that has an ear let him hear what the spirit is saying unto the churches

  10. I have to say I laughed long and hard at Yomi’s rants.
    @Bosun – But’s its usually only people like MB members that appreciate such research before buying electronics. Most people dont care! They have the money, they like a product which looks pretty or resembles a friend’s gadget, they buy it. It pays to have an expert consultant whe buying ewctronics these days. My dad was abroad for a month, and before buying any gadget, he would call me for as long as 30mins while i googled d device and advices him.

  11. As the inimitable Ambrose Shomide of RayPower FM radio once said, ‘when you have a one-in-town car, you grapple with one-in-town problems’!

    Substitute ‘car’ above with ‘device’.

    Adopting ANYTHING new/ uncommon – in your environment – almost always has its pitfalls / downsides.

    Having been bitten a few times for adopting uncommon / new products, i have now fully imbibed the wisdom of going with the masses on tech matters.

    I will rather buy a Toyota Sienna instead of a Dodge Caravan, a Nokia N8 instead of a Nexus S and a Sony music system instead of some obscure, no-name Chinese brand with no technical support.

    Take risks when your job requires you to do sp, you do it for kicks (and are ready to face any resultant -financial- consequences!).

    Otherwise, you are better of sticking to the tried-and-tested
    (tested by techies like MobilityNigerians!)


  12. @EyeBeeKay

    Well said.

    But i notice you post using UCbrowser on Windows 7. Care to enlighten us on this?

  13. Where is that time machine when you need it?,it will be the solution to this problem. On the bright side, i think i will start learning how to jail break an iphone.

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