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The revenge of the artificial regions

This is the third post in a series, as it happens — part 1 and part 2 are both available.

Let’s see how am I currently set up — I’m still in Italy for less than 30 days; I have bank accounts in the US and in Italy with their associated cards, and I own four “mobile devices” — two tablets (iPad and Kindle Fire with CM10.1 so that it works), a cellphone running CM7 and an iPod Touch. The two iOS devices are associated with an American iTunes account (since that’s the only way I could buy and watch TV series in English), and thus get apps for the US region. The cellphone and the Kindle Fire are similarly associated with an account with US billing address for a little while longer, but then it seems like the Play Store restrictions apply depending on the currently-in-use SIM on the cellphone. I then have one Italian, and one US, SIMs that I can switch to — the latter does not even associate with the network because there is no roaming coverage on that contract.

This turned out quite interesting as the Starbucks application is not available with an Italian SIM, and my (Italian) bank’s application is not available with an US SIM. And this was what I complained earlier in the series.

Now I’m getting ready to move to Dublin. Among the things that I’m looking at I’ve got to understand the way the buses works… the Dublin Bus website sports a badge in the homepage that a mobile application (an App) is available on both Apple’s AppStore and on the Play Store. Unfortunately the latter (which is the one I would care about) is not compatible with any of my devices. A similar situation happened with a cab company app that a friend suggested me. Luckily it seems like getting a SIM in Ireland is quick and easy, so then I should have access to these two apps — probably losing access to some of the Italian apps I have installed.

Can somebody tell me why applications like these are limited to regions, when they are very useful for tourists, and for preparation? Sigh!

Comments 6
  1. BTW, but.. isn’t getting a SIM card in Italy or USA an trivial job? Where I live (Poland), I can go to nearest kiosk and buy one for ~1.2$, ready to plug into phone.

  2. I wish there would be one SIM with all options for all providers, all around the world. At the moment I have 3 SIM’s, 1 for my iPad, 1 for my phone i Holland and 1 for the US…

  3. The concept of regions on the Internet must come directly from hell.Good that for this particular nuisance there is an easy fix:… (MarketAccess simulates any SIM card on a rooted Android device – one of the first apps I usually install ;)This reminds me of a great article on tante’s blog, that I read just yesterday:

  4. Thanks Patrick! Didn’t know about that (it’s shady of course, but sometimes you do need shady).@Sajmon — not sure about USA (I got a work cellphone there) but at least in Italy you need Italian documents to get an Italian SIM card. They told me it’s easier in Ireland so I’ll soon add an Irish SIM to my collection.

  5. Actually, Google (probably for that reason) seems to be flopping back and forth over how the handle it.Currently (a few days ago at least) if you clean the Google Play data it will again reset your location exclusively based on your IP.So all you need to do after going somewhere else is doing that reset an you get access to the local store.However in the past this sometimes only worked after removing the SIM.At that time inserting e.g. a German SIM in Sweden would give you access to the German store.Unless you tried to buy books or movies, those it would show to you but actually refuse to let you buy, so you could end up with not being able to do anything at all.It’s really a mess and annoying that after all this time Google still hasn’t managed to find a working solution.

  6. Heh, I think with Dublin Bus, apps are the least of your worries 😉 (Although their service is gradually improving …)

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