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This is a bit of an odd scenario, one we don?t see too often. Sony recently announced their first device following their takeover of Sony Ericsson, the Xperia S, and clearly stated that it would be available globally in March. As such, it has been assumed that the device will land in Canada, though which carrier is unknown. Recently, Sony announced that the device has shipped globally, but that they?re leaving it up to carriers to announce specific availability.

Next, Sony posted an image on their Facebook page that made clear mention the device would be heading to Rogers. What most saw as a clear-cut indication turned out to be some kind of mistake, however. Sony removed the image from their Facebook page, and Rogers stated that they will not be selling the device directly, though it will work on their network. This has led to some back-and-forth online, with many people believing the handset will be sold unlocked in Sony Stores rather than through carriers. This would certainly be an interesting step for Sony to take, and if they?re going that route, it will be interesting to see the results.

The Sony Xperia S features a 4.3? (720 x 1280) display, and a 12 MP camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture. It has a secondary front-facing 1.3 MP camera capable of 720p video recording, and runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with ICS planned for Q2 sometime. Similarly to most recent Xperia handsets, it features the Mobile BRAVIA Engine and connectivity including HSPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. It also comes with NFC capabilities, and is powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM.


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Just under a month ago, Rogers launched the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, the world's first PlayStation certified mobile device. The PLAY runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and has an impressive range of features. It has a 4" (480x854) touchscreen display, and is powered by a 1GHz processor, along with 512MB of RAM. It has a 5MP camera along with a VGA front facing camera for video calling. Sony Ericsson has included their custom UI/launcher TimeScape, which has changed dramatically since the X10 line-up. The most unique feature is its PlayStation style game pad, which can be used for a variety of PLAY optimized games including PS1 Classics. So, how does the PLAY hold up as a smartphone and for gaming?

Beginning with the hardware, the PLAY is very nicely designed. It is a little bit thick compared to most current devices, but that is expected with the full game pad hidden under the screen. It has 3.5mm headset and microUSB ports on the left edge, while the right edge holds the volume and shoulder keys. Even though the casing is made of plastic, it feels relatively sturdy and durable, and the sliding mechanism is surprisingly solid. When you slide out the game pad, the PLAY really starts to shine, bringing that familiar PlayStation feel to your phone. The device fits fairly well in your hands when slid open, but might take a little bit of getting used to. The touchpads meant for use where joysticks or analog sticks would normally come into play, are a nice addition to the controls, though very strange to use at first. Like most gamers know, any new controller design takes some time to get completely accustomed to, and the PLAY's game pad is no exception. Still, it really brought a new element to mobile gaming, one previously found only in devices like the PSP or Nintendo DS. After using the Xperia PLAY, games on touchscreen-only devices seem weak and difficult to play, so beware when trying out your friend's new PLAY.




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The games themselves are entertaining, and the PLAY comes with 6 full version titles built-in: NFL 11, Star Battalion HD, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Crash Bandicoot, Fifa 10, and Tetris. There are 5 more PS1 games available for purchase in Market for $5.75 USD each, and about 50 other PLAY optimized games and apps. Crash Bandicoot ran well and gives a great idea of what PS1 games will be like on the device. The sports games (Madden NFL 11 and FIFA 10) are great fun, and far more complex than you might think, and the other games were just as entertaining and immersive. Unfortunately Tetris didn't make use of the slide-out controls, but it is a simple enough game that the touchscreen is fine.




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As a smartphone alone, the PLAY runs just as well as most current Android handsets. OS 2.3 Gingerbread performs well, and TimeScape doesn't seem to have as strong of an impact on performance as with the X10. The application tray features custom sorting, and there are a variety of widgets pre-installed. There are media widgets that include music controls, shortcuts, and a scrolling image/video wheel. There are also a couple of clock widgets available, all of which can be used on any of the 5 home screens.

Other parts of the device that are worth mentioning include the display and camera. The display isn't very bright when turned all the way up, though it can get you by. To those who normally enjoy very bright and crisp displays like super AMOLED equipped devices may be let down however. The Camera is of decent quality, coming in at 5MP with an LED flash. It actually handles close-up shots very well, though mid and long range photos are of average quality. It can also record video at WVGA resolution, and surprisingly doesn't capture at 720p. Videos recorded with the PLAY are also average, looking great on your mobile screen but mediocre on larger displays.




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Lastly, battery life. The PLAY surprisingly held up very well, lasting longer than many devices in the current market. Even while gaming for a few hours, the battery indicator only dropped a sliver. Unfortunately it still doesn't compare to the life of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 or a few other devices, but considering its large screen and game pad, does very well.

Overall, the Xperia PLAY is a great device. It is a full-featured Android smartphone and really makes mobile gaming possible. Kudos to Sony Ericsson for producing a great, and very unique device! Hopefully they continue to create great handsets that stand-out and bring a new element to smartphones.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY is available from Rogers for $99.99 on a 3 year term or $549.99 contract free.


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Sasktel has made it evident for months that they intended on releasing the iPhone 4, but we finally have an official launch date! According to Sasktel's website, the iPhone 4 will be launching the Apple iPhone 4 next Tuesday, April 26th. The 16GB will come in at $159 on a 3 year term, or $649 outright, while the 32GB model can be purchased for $269 on a 3 year contract, and $749 contract-free.

Those purchasing the handset outright, be warned that it is still locked to Sasktel. If you aren't eligible for an upgrade or don't like the idea of contracts however, it's certainly a viable option. So who's buying an iPhone 4 from Sasktel?


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WIND Mobile has officially launched their WINDspeed Huawei E1691 data stick, capable of download speeds up to 7.2Mbps, and upload speeds reaching 5.6Mbps. The E1691 is available now from WIND mobile for $80 contract-free, making it a great option for those interested in mobile data connectivity on their laptop, but don't want to lock into a contract or term. With the launch of this new Huawei data stick also comes other good news, WIND's first data stick, the Huawei E181 has dropping in price to a low $60 contract-free price point.


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Rogers customers who own either the Sony Ericsson X10 or X10 Mini have been waiting quite some time for Android 2.1 Eclair to launch for the device, and as of Sunday, it finally has! The updated OS offers several new features and changes to the devices software, including HD 720p video capture, auto-focus, a new lock screen, 2 additional homescreens (for a total of 5), and much more. To get the update, you'll have to head to the Sony Ericsson website, as it isn't currently available for OTA install.


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Sony Ericsson X10 owners have been waiting for a very long time for an update Android version to come to their devices, and the time is fast approaching. Apparently the update will roll out to Rogers customers who own either an X10 or X10 Mini sometime in the week of November 8th, which is now only a few days away. The update is supposedly bringing features like 2 additional homescreens, a new lockscreen, and some updates to TimeScape, though we now have word that a couple of other changes will come as well - both devices will see battery life improved by 20-25%, the overall speed and navigation of the phone should be faster and smoother, and the X10 model will apparently be getting 720p HD video recording and playback. Hopefully the update doesn't get pushed back even further, but with such an extensive wait having already occurred, we can only hope that Ericsson and Rogers will have this one ready in time.


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Many carriers have been exploring distribution options as of lately, looking to expand the retail outlets in which they can sell their products and services, and the latest to join in the effort is WIND Mobile. Now offering 4 of their devices in London Drugs locations in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver, WIND Mobile will surely reach a wider audience, adding to BlockBuster and Valu Mobile as distribution partners. The devices available through London Drugs include the Huawei 1250, Huawei 8100, Nokia 5230 (black), and the Samsung Gravity 2(blue). Apparently 30 London Drugs locations are on board and offering these devices, spanning through the 3 cities listed above.


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Just a few days ago, Research in Motion and Sprint in the U.S. officially announced the BlackBerry Style 9670 - a CDMA flip phone that offers up a full QWERTY keyboard, and shortly afterwards Telus confirmed that they too, would carry the device. While no official availability or pricing has been announced, it's rumoured that they will be launching the device sometime within the first few days of November. The BlackBerry Style will launch running BlackBerry 6 OS, and features an external display for your clock and notifications, along with a standard internal display. Also featuring a 5MP camera with video capture capabilities, the Style 9670 comes with 512MB of RAM and has storage expandable up to 32GB via microSD. While the design of this new device definitely brings some back to a few years ago, it's certainly nice to see an array of options coming to Canadian mobile consumers!


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We recently let you know that Fido was getting ready to launch the Acer Liquid E, and it looks like they finally have! Launching just a few days ago, the Acer Liquid E is now available from Fido for just $30 on a 3 year term, or $375 contract-free, and features a 3.5" (480x800) display, under-clocked 768MHz SnapDragon processor, 5MP camera with video capture, and a full range of connectivity options including 3G, Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and GPS. Coming in at just $30 on a 3 year term, this is a great handset for those looking to get a full-feature, yet affordable Android device.


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We just let you know that Sasktel has introduced a couple tablet data packages, and it looks like they've followed up by making microSIM cards available to the public. Customers can now purchase a microSIM card for use with their unlocked iPhone 4's or iPads for $10 each, or receive one for free "with device purchase on post paid contract", which can only mean a near-future iPhone 4 launch. According to sources, the Saskatchewan carrier will be launching the iPhone 4 sometime around Christmas, though no official confirmation has been received as of yet.


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