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WIND Mobile is getting set to launch a new entry-level Android handset, the Huawei Astro. The device, which runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, features a 3.5? (320 x 480) touch screen display, and a 3.2 MP camera. As for pricing, speculation floating around online points to roughly $150 or so. If you?re in one of WIND?s zones and are looking for an affordable Android handset, keep an eye out come April 26th for the Huawei Astro. If Windows Phone is more your style, remember that WIND is also launching the Nokia Lumia 710 soon.


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We?ve been keeping you updated on the details regarding Sony?s Xperia S launch, and now they?ve made it available ? just on schedule! You can now purchase the Android handset from Sony Style stores across Canada, but note that they are currently available in limited quantities only. As for pricing, the handset can be yours for $99.99 on a 3 year term with Rogers, or the device can be purchased outright for $499.99.

As a reminder, the Xperia S features a 4.3? (720 x 1280) LED-backlit touch screen display with the Mobile BRAVIA Engine. It runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread currently with an expected upgrade to ICS, and is powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. It has a 12 MP camera with Sony Exmor R for mobile, and can record 1080p HD video. It has a secondary front-facing camera capable of 720p video capture, and offers standard connectivity in addition ot NFC. If you?re interested in the Sony Xperia S through Rogers or outright, head to your nearest Sony Style store to pick on up!


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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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Rogers has recently made an addition to their Pay As You Go handset line-up, introducing the LG Shine Touch. The Shine Touch features a 3" (240x400) touchscreen display, 3MP camera with video capture capabilities, and supports 3G connectivity for voice and data transmission. This bar-style handset can be expanded up to 16GB via microSD card, and also supports Wi-Fi and bluetooth, though it lacks GPS services. The LG Shine Touch is available now from Rogers on Pay As You Go for just $129.99.


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We recently let you know that Sony Ericsson was planning to launch a new PSP-style phone, the "Play", and now we're happy to report confirmation that Rogers will be launching the new device. Along with the confirmation regarding the Play, it looks like a second Ericsson handset will be coming to Rogers, the Arc. No word yet on pricing or an exact release date for either of these devices, but a "Spring 2011" launch has been confirmed.

The Play, which features PSP-style controls that slide out horizontally in place of a QWERTY keybaord, runs on Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread, and features a 4" (480x854) touchscreen display, a 5MP camera with LED flash, a front facing camera for video calling, and more. The Arc is also an impressive handset, featuring a 4.2"(480x854) touchscreen display, Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread, and an 8MP camera with LED flash and 720p HD video capture. Both of these upcoming handsets are powered by 1GHz processors, and feature connectivity options including Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and GPS.


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Great news for those with Fido or considering them for their mobile services, they have recently launched two new entry-level handsets - The Nokia C1 and LG Neon 2. Additionally, they have also released the white version of the LG Gossip, adding to the variety of devices available in their line-up.

The Nokia C1 is a very basic bar-style phone that features a 1.8" (128x160) display, bluetooth connectivity, and a VGA camera. The C1 supports up to 32GB of memory using a microSD card, along with FM radio connectivity. The LG Neon 2 features a 3" (240x400) touchscreen display, 2MP camera with video capture capabilities, and connectivity options including FM radio and bluetooth. The Neon 2 can be expanded up to 8GB via microSD card for those who want extra storage for their media.

Last on the list is the LG Gossip in white, which has all of the same features and specifications but comes in a nice white variety. All of these devices are available now from Fido, and all are $0 on a new 2-year term, though contract-free pricing varies from handset to handset. The Nokia C1 comes in at $50 contract-free, while the LG Neon 2 is set at $150 outright, and the LG Gossip in white is priced $90 without a term.


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Their has been quite a bit of buzz about what Sony would be doing next when it comes to their mobile gaming platform PlayStation, and with rumours flying out every corner of the internet, it looks like we're finally getting some official confirmation. February 13th, Sony Ericsson intends on officially announcing the Ericsson Play, the next Ericsson Android handset and the next PlayStation portable device all rolled into one!

The Play is expected to feature a 4.2" (480x854) LED touchscreen display, a 5MP camera with LED flash, and will run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread at launch. Other specifications include a 1GHz processor, 380MB of RAM, and connectivity options including Wi-Fi, GPS, and bluetooth. What sets the Play apart from other Android handsets is the PSP-style controls that slide out where a QWERTY keyboard would normally be located, giving hardware control for gaming to users where they'd normally need to use touchscreen controls. No word yet on pricing, or when the device will launch, but we should be getting that information at the official announcement, which is just around the corner on the 13th.


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Research In Motion has always focused on functionality over style and appearance, however they've recently acquired The Astonishing Tribe, a UI and design company that should help spice up the BlackBerry and QNX operating systems we're hearing so much about recently. According to some rumours circulating online, the acquisition of TAT may have been a move towards offering a 3D capable BlackBerry device in the future, though this definitely isn't confirmed. No word yet on when RIM would be launching a device supporting 3D content, but if this rumour gains any more momentum, we'll be sure to let you know. What do you think about 3D mobile phones?


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We're seeing tons of devices launch lately on all Canadian carriers, and Bell is one of the latest, launching the BlackBerry Style 9670. The Style is a clamshell flip phone, that features a full QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry OS 6 with the new WebKit browser and UI, along with a 5MP camera. This CDMA device supports up to 32GB of memory via microSD card, and has Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and GPS connectivity. Available now, you can pick up the BlackBerry Style 9670 from Bell for $49.95 on a 3 year term, or $399.95 contract-free.


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Telus recently went live with the BlackBerry Style 9670, a BlackBerry OS 6 device set apart by it's flip phone form factor combined with a full QWERTY keyboard. The Style features the WebKit browser, along with all of the other benefits of OS 6, including an updated UI and more. The BlackBerry Style 9670 is available now from Telus for $79.99 on a 3 year term, or $399.99 outright.


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