Last summer Canadians got the iPhone 4 just shy of the launch in the United States. In September we rolled out the red carpet for Netflix, the video-streaming service that provides unlimited movies and television shows for a monthly fee. Although it's definitely not high-tech, Target announced last week that they're planning to open a couple hundred stores in the Great White North.
While we welcome these U.S. products and services, there are still a few technologies from south of the border that are teasing us with their fancy bells and whistles and in some cases, cost-saving benefits. Naturally, the list is quite long, but the most compelling are Google Voice, Pandora, and Hulu.
The first on this list, Google Voice, allows you to get your own Google number or use existing features with your current cellphone number to better manage your phone calls from different numbers for free. It's available in the United States only. As for when it might be available here, the new Director of Google Canada doesn't have an answer but he is lobbying to get Voice and other premium Google services here faster so we can act as beta testers.
Pandora is in a different category. We once had this free Internet service that allows you to create a custom radio station based on your musical likes and dislikes, but it was pulled due to licensing constraints. An online letter to consumers explains that Pandora is working to make its product available outside the U.S., but that means establishing agreements in individual countries , which can take significant time and effort.
Hulu could be the most sought-after on this list of American web gems. This service lets you stream your favourite television shows for free. There are advertisements running during programs, but that's a small price to pay for access to the latest and greatest network programming on demand. Like Pandora, Hulu faces content licensing issues forcing geo-blocking beyond the U.S.
Of course there are savvy surfers who are constantly working on ways to circumvent these restrictions, but for the majority of the population they're left daydreaming about the day when the Internet is truly a borderless place.
Which web services would you like to see in Canada? How about hardware? Tell me in the comments section.