Did you go out and accidentally get one of those “special deal” phones from Unicom, Telecom or Mobile that seem to have EVERYTHING blocked? If you don’t care too much about rooting your phone, there’s a lot of tips at XDA Developers. However, if you’re scared to death about bricking your phone, then there are a few alternatives that you can use to get your phone “mostly” international-friendly.
First of all, you’ll want apps that update automatically. You can easily download APK files and install apps on your phone. However, they generally don’t update automatically. To get around this, here’s the first tip:
Your first stop should definitely be at the Amazon App Store. While you can’t get everything on your blocked Google Play store, there’s still a LARGE selection of apps you can get that can be updated automatically. The linked site is their main site. But you’re better off going there via your mobile phone. That way, it’s a more automated process.
Now… communications: We’ve been using IMO IM for quite sometime. This is your MSN/Skype, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Steam and several others. In this program, Facebook chat is NOT blocked. Generally, Facebook Chat isn’t blocked anyways, so you could also opt for Facebook Messenger, but if you want to have all your services running at once, IMO is the one you’ll want.
For more on Social apps, try Scope, formerly listed under Scope Beta. Available via Amazon, this, like IMO also lets you retrieve & answer messages on facebook without the use of a VPN. Depending on your network, you may also be able to check into Foursquare as well, as you may have noticed, many “check-in” apps may be blocked by certain carriers.
Last but not least (for now anyways), a good blacklist app comes from AntTek, especially on Samsung Galaxy phones. We tried a few that didn’t seem to really want to block anything. This one worked fantastically! While it may not be available on the Amazon store, if you get an APK for it, there’s very little need to actually update it, as it pretty much works out of the box. On that note, our copies from Google Play haven’t even asked for an update in the last couple months.
A note about this article, and why we wrote it… one of the phones we ran into in the past was a Samsung Galaxy S3, bought by a client via a China Unicom special package deal. While CU was determined to claim that Google Play and any “check-in” apps were not blocked, we found that Play, even downloaded separately along with other relative APK’s, refused to connect, even with a vpn. Check-in apps refused to even install, telling us that certain features of android were simply “removed” from the software package. Several calls to CU and Samsung became circular with each telling us to contact the other. There you go. If you have one of these phones, hopefully the above tips will help you until your contract is finished.