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Over the last few years, RIM?s BlackBerry Bold line-up has been the reliable choice for many Canadians. Even though BlackBerry handsets haven?t seen the success of Android devices or the iPhone lately, many people still love their Bolds and aren?t willing to switch platforms. For those, Fido has launched the BlackBerry Bold 9790, making it available for $50 on a 3 year term, or $450 outright.

The Bold 9790 runs on BlackBerry 7 OS, and features a 2.45? (480 x 360) touch screen display and a 5MP camera with LED flash and video capture capabilities. It comes with 8 GB of internal memory, and is powered by a 1 GHz processor and 768 MB of RAM. Other notable features include its Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC capabilities.


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Bell and Virgin Mobile have gone ahead with the launch of two new BlackBerry handsets, the Bold 9900 and Torch 9810! These BlackBerry 7 devices mark a new generation of handsets from RIM, and offer significant improvements in specifications over existing BlackBerry models.

The Bold 9900 features a 2.8" (640x480) touchscreen display, along with a full QWERTY keyboard, and maintains the traditional Bold form factor. It is powered by a 1.2GHz processor and 768MB of RAM, and comes with 8GB of storage. It offers up a 5MP camera with LED flash and 720p video capture, and includes connectivity options including Wi-Fi (b/g/n, hotspot), bluetooth, and GPS. It runs on BlackBerry OS 7 which fine tunes many of the features introduced in OS 6, including an improved browser experience, voice activated search, and more.

The Torch 9810 also runs on BlackBerry 7, and features a 3.2" (480x640) touchscreen display, and vertically sliding QWERTY keyboard, maintaining the recently introduced Torch form factor. Most of the features are identical to the Bold 9900, including a 1.2GHz processor, 768MB of RAM, and the 5MP camera with LED flash and 720p HD video recording capabilities. Connectivity options are also the same, with Wi-Fi (b/g/n, hotspot), bluetooth, and GPS.

Bell is offering up the Bold 9900 for $599.95 outright, or $169.95 on a 3 year term. The 9810 is available from them for $149.95 on a 3 year contract, or $599.95 outright. No word on whether all stores have received stock, but they are available for online purchase.

Virgin Mobile has both handsets priced the same (basically), with the Bold 9900 priced at $169.99 on a 3 year term, or $599.99 outright, and the Torch 9810 priced at $149.99 on a 3 year term, or $599.99 contract-free.


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It has been some time since RIM announced the BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900, but Virgin Mobile recently came forward reminding Canadians that they will be launching it soon. Posted on their Twitter profile, Virgin Mobile Canada stated "well be getting the bb 9900 super soon!"

No word on exactly when "super soon" is, but hopefully we'll see it launch in first part half of the summer. The Bold 9900 is a big step up for RIM and BlackBerry products, offering the familiar Bold shape and design, but also including a touchscreen. The 9900 has a 2.8" (640x480) touchscreen display, along with the standard trackpad and full QWERTY keyboard. It also features a 5MP camera with LED flash and 720p HD video recording, and is powered by a 1.2GHz processor and 768MB of RAM. Other features include 8GB of internal storage, HSPA connectivity reaching 14.4Mbps, Wi-Fi, bluetooth, GPS, and even possibly NFC support in the future.

Though the hardware is seeing a variety of big improvements over current BlackBerry devices, the OS will also be updated. BlackBerry OS 7.0 won't be available for existing models, and will begin its life with the 9900/9930. It features a variety of improvements and additional features, including an updated browser with full HTML5 support and faster rendering, in addition to "BlackBerry Balance", a feature that helps keep work/home content separate from each other.

No word yet on pricing, but we'll be sure to keep you updated with any further information that is made available.


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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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Virgin Mobile has come forward on Twitter confirming that they will carry the upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9900. The "Bold Touch" was announced just a few days ago along with BlackBerry 7 OS, and is a major step up in hardware for RIM. No word yet on pricing or a launch date, but we should see it arrive along side other carriers in North America.

To recap on the Bold 9900's specs which we reported on earlier in the week, it features a 2.8" (640x480) multitouch display. It still has the familiar BlackBerry design, featuring a full QWERTY keyboard. This next addition to the Bold series is powered by a 1.2GHz processor and 768MB of RAM, and will run on RIM's latest OS - BlackBerry 7. It also features a 5MP camera with 720p HD video capture, and is the thinnest BlackBerry yet, measuring in at just 10.5mm.


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Beginning yesterday, the BlackBerry World 2011 event is where most expect new device and software announcements, and RIM lived up to those expectations. Announcing the BlackBerry 9900/9930 models and BlackBerry 7 OS, RIM stated that the Bold Touch is expected to be available from carriers around the world beginning this Summer.

The Bold Touch 9900/9930 are essentially the same device, though the 9930 operates on CDMA networks, whereas the 9900 is GSM and HSPA+ compatible. They feature a 2.8" (640x480) VGA multitouch display, while retaining the familiar BlackBerry design that comes with a full QWERTY keyboard. The Bold Touch is a significant improvement over current BlackBerry handsets, and is powered by a 1.2GHz processor and 768MB of RAM. It has a 5MP camera with 720p video capture, and supports NFC, Wi-Fi, GPS, and bluetooth connectivity. It comes in at just 10.5mm thick, making it the thinnest BlackBerry yet. Lastly, the Bold Touch runs on BlackBerry 7 OS, RIM's latest version of their platform. No word on pricing or exact launch dates, but we should see these launch by late Summer.

BlackBerry 7 OS brings with it several new features over the current 6.0 version, including a significantly improved browser with faster rendering and full HTML5 support. It also offers voice activated search, and integrates "BlackBerry Balance", a feature that helps separate personal content from corporate items on your device.

BlackBerry 7 OS will only be available for the Bold Touch 9900/9930, and will not be compatible with existing devices from RIM. There will likely be several newer devices announced with the OS in the near-future, but this new Bold series handset will likely be their flagship model. Those who purchase the device will also get the full version of Docs To Go out-of-box, so users will quickly be able to access all of their documents, including PDFs.


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Rogers is getting set to launch their Early Hardware Upgrade Program in just under a week, on Thursday, May 5th. The program, which will allow customers to upgrade to a new device early for an additional fee, is very similar to Telus' early upgrade process. Here's how it works:

Customers who wish to upgrade early will pay $10-$20 for each month remaining until they would officially be eligible, in addition to the standard upgrade cost of the device. Exactly how much you pay for each remaining month depends on what type of device you currently have, and Rogers breaks them down into three categories; 1) voice or quick messaging devices, 2) feature devices, tablets, and smartphones, and 3) premium devices (including iPhone and BlackBerry Torch). Those with voice/QMD handsets will be charged $10 for each remaining month, while smartphone/tablet users will pay $15, and premium device users will pay $20 for each remaining month. If the contract-free price for the device comes in lower than the early upgrade costs, you will pay the lesser of the two.

For example, if you have a BlackBerry Bold 9700 and have had it for 18 months, you would pay $15 (early upgrade charge) x 6 (months remaining until standard 24-month eligibility), in addition to the normal 3-year price of the device you're upgrading to. So, you would pay $90 + the upgrade cost of the device.

One more detail was revealed in recently leaked screenshots, stating "we are also changing the standard HUP wait period, which will now vary from 18-30 months depending on the customer's current device." While the early upgrade program comes as great news, this extra little bit is vague and could be a bad thing for some people. Rogers currently has a 2 year waiting period for upgrade eligibility, so this means some people will have to wait an extra 6 months, or at least pay 6 months more of early upgrade costs. Others may benefit from it however, reaching eligibility 6 months earlier than they currently would. We'll be sure to let you know once more details become available.


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Both Virgin Mobile and parent-company Bell have officially released BlackBerry OS 6 for two of the three older devices promised to be receiving the update, the Bold 9700 and Curve 3G 9300. The new OS (v6.0.0.448) is available now for users of either of these devices, and offers up a redesigned user interface, improved search functionality, and a significantly improved WebKit browser. To get the update, head to BlackBerry.com or simply launch BlackBerry Desktop Manager with the handset connected. No word yet on exactly when the Pearl 3G 9100 version of the OS will become available, but we should see it launch sometime in the next few weeks!


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RIM have been slowly rolling out BlackBerry OS 6 to some of the more recent devices they offer, with each individual carrier packaging and releasing the updates themselves. Now, WIND Mobile customers who own either a Bold 9700 or Curve 9300 are in luck, as the quickly growing carrier has officially released the upgrade. For those who own a Pearl 9100, WIND has stated that the new OS "will be available in coming weeks". The update is available now, and can be downloaded/installed using the latest version of Desktop Manager.

In case you haven't been following the changes RIM have been implementing, BlackBerry OS 6 features a number of improvements over OS 5, including the new WebKit browser, new menu and homescreen layout, along with a variety of performance improvements overall.


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Exciting news came to us yesterday, when we found out that RIM is working on 3 new devices planned for launch later in 2011. The new devices add NFC (near field communications) technology, and are expected to launch with an OS version of 6.1.

The BlackBerry Curve "Apollo" is the next generation handset in the Curve series, and comes in at just 11mm thick. Featuring a full QWERTY keyboard, an HVGA (480x360) display, and a 5MP camera, the Apollo should make a great addition to RIM's handset line-up.

Next up the BlackBerry "Dakota", which looks like it may be the next generation in the Bold series. The Dakota has been rumoured for about a year now, but with more information finally surfacing on the internet, it looks like it may become a reality. The Dakota features a 2.8" (640x480) touch screen display, while retaining the typical BlackBerry form factor including the full QWERTY keyboard. The Dakota also comes with a 5MP camera with LED flash and HD video capture capabilities, and measures in at just 10.5mm thick.

Last in the list of new BlackBerry devices that were recently leaked is none other than the Torch 2, a BlackBerry with specs that compare to top end Android/iOS devices. The Torch 2 will be powered by a 1.2GHz processor, and features a 3.2" (640x480) display, a 5MP camera (presumably with HD video recording capabilities), along with 512Mb of RAM, 8GB of onboard internal memory, and NFC technology just like the other two devices.

No definite word on when we can expect to see these devices launch, but speculation is pointing at Q3 or so this year. With these devices launching with OS 6.1, it's unlikely that we'll see the PlayBook's QNX OS come to BlackBerry handsets this year, so if you're holding out for that, it may be quote the wait.


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