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Those who simply cannot wait until this summer?s Galaxy S III launch have what may be the next best Android handset from Samsung. The Galaxy S II HD LTE is now officially available from the carrier, and is similar to Rogers? S II LTE, with some changes. Among the differences is the improved 4.65? (720 x 1280) display, and a few slight changes to the physical design like the placement of the front-facing camera.

If you?re interested in the Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE, you can pick one up now from Bell for $99.95 on a 3 year term, or $549.95 no-term.


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Virgin Mobile has recently introduced a new Canada & U.S. Flexi-Data plan, offering those who cross the border frequently a worry-free option. The plan starts at 500 MB for $45/month, and ranges up in multiple tiers until it reaches the 5 GB limit for $190/month. Overages beyond 5 GB are charged at 25 cents/MB.

In addition to introducing the Canada & U.S. plan, they have made a small change to their Canada-only $5 Flexi-Data plan. The $250 MB tier has been reduced from $20/month to $15/month. Head to your nearest Virgin Mobile store to sign up if one of these sound like they?re for you!


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Research in Motion officially announced their intentions to launch an HSPA+ and LTE equipped PlayBook around this time last year, but nothing has made an appearance as of yet. Today, however, some good news surfaced ? The FCC (United States) has officially approved the device, which brings us one step closer to its release. To top it off, leaked information that has been floating around the internet recently points to Bell intending for an ?early April? launch, though they clearly state that launch dates are subject to change.

Rumoured features and specifications for the HSPA/LTE enabled PlayBook include a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and NFC capabilities. Unfortunately, further details are currently unavailable, and rumours are even proving sparse. We?ll keep you updated on any new information as it becomes available!


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Those interested in picking up an HTC Sensation 4G from Bell are Virgin Mobile are in luck, as more information has recently been leaked showing off a variety of details. Up until now, the 3-year pricing for the handset has been unknown, though thanks to leaks, we now know that it will be coming in at $149.95 ($149.99 with Virgin). Outright pricing was previously leaked to be $549.95 with Bell, and $499.99 on Virgin Mobile, and it looks like those price points have remained unchanged leading up to the launch. As for a launch date, internal documents from Bell that were also leaked a couple weeks back noted July 5th as the official release date, and that has been reconfirmed via today's 3-year pricing document.

To recap on the Sensation 4G's specifications, it has a 4.3" (540x960) touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass, and runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread at launch. It is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 768MB of RAM, and features an 8MP camera with dual-LED flash and 1080p HD video capture. Other notable features include 1GB of internal storage, TV-out, and a secondary VGA front-facing camera. Connectivity options include bluetooth 3.0, GPS, and Wi-Fi (b/g/n, hotspot), along with "4G" HSPA.


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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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With Telus revamping their hardware upgrade program quite some time ago, and Rogers recently following suit, it doesn't come as much of a surprise that Bell is doing the same. Telus and Rogers have stepped up to offer early upgrade options for those who can't wait the full 2+ years to get another device at a discounted cost, and Bell's new program is looking similar.

According to recently leaked information, Bell will be making the changes tomorrow, May 22nd. The leaked document shows that "Select clients will have the opportunity to upgrade early by paying a fee on their Bell Mobility monthly invoice." They go on to say that the early upgrade fee will be calculated based on their eligible hardware upgrade date and can be paid either monthly or in one lump sum. Unfortunately the monthly option won't be available at launch, but should be active shortly afterwards. The monthly payment option is unique in Canada for device upgrades, and will hopefully be the center of Bell's focus when marketing this new program.

In addition to early upgrade eligibility being introduced, the document also makes mention of an "Eligible for Special Hardware" option. Basically, select clients will be able to upgrade to a device from a pre-determined list of special hardware. No word yet on what makes a customer eligible for this special early upgrade, but it's bound to have something to do with revenue generated and the type of device you own.


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Dell updated their Canadian site last month to include the Dell Streak 7, an Android powered tablet set to launch for just $399.99. The estimated ship date was originally set to late April, and was then changed to May 3rd. Now, with the device nowhere to be found, the estimated ship date has been pushed back yet again. Now, the device is expected to launch this Thursday, May 12th.

Those holding out for this Android 2.2 tablet have seen enough delays, so hopefully it will finally launch. If you have the extra $100 to spend however, it might be worth checking out the variety of Honeycomb 3.0 tablets that have, or will be launching soon.


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Telus has recently introduced a sale, discounting 3 of their most popular handsets until May 8th. The Samsung Nexus S has been reduced to $99.99 on a 3 year term, while Fascinate (3G version) has been made free, also with a 3 year contract. The BlackBerry Torch 9800 has seen a price drop as well for the duration of this sale, coming in at $79.99 with a contract. Unfortunately outright costs haven't been changed, but it's still great to see sales of any kind.


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Just last week, the word broke that Motorola's XOOM tablet would be making it's way to Canada, sometime in April. Originally, FutureShop had it listed with an estimated release date of April 8th, but that has now been pushed back to the 15th. The tablet, which will be offered through Telus as well, brings a slew of features that help it compete with the recently released iPad 2. As far we can tell, contract-free pricing is still looking like $599.99, but it's always possible for changes to be made prior to the official launch. We'll be sure to keep you updated on any further advancements regarding the Motorola XOOM's release date and pricing, so stay tuned!


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Yesterday Apple announced the much-anticipated iPad 2, releasing the specifications and features for the upcoming tablet. Coming in Wi-Fi and 3G models, buyers can choose between 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB variations to best suit their needs. The iPad successor comes in at 33% thinner than the original version, at only 8.8mm thick, and features front and rear facing cameras. The iPad 2 is powered by an A5 dual-core processor, and will also support HDMI out using a propriatary Apple accessory. The last noticeable change made over the original iPad is wireless hotspot functionality in iOS 4.3, a feature which Rogers has already confirmed will be enabled and usable on their version.

The Apple iPad 2 will be available in either black or white at launch, will run Apple iOS 4.3, and is expected to launch on March 25th for Canadians. No confirmation on pricing just yet, but we'll be sure to keep you updated once more information becomes available!


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