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Bell has just introduced their push-to-talk network which runs on their HSPA+ network, providing decent download speeds alongside push-to-talk functionality. They have also released their first handset specifically for use on the network ? the Sonim XP5520 BOLT. The BOLT is an incredibly durable device that ?goes well beyond MIL-SPEC ruggedness? and is water proof, dust proof, and shock proof. It can withstand drops from 2 meters onto concrete and is scratch and pressure resistant as well, and has the warranty to back it up. Sonim offers up a 3-year comprehensive warranty to those who purchase the unit.

As for other specifications, the BOLT has a 2? (240 x 320) display, and supports HSPA, A-GPS, and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. According to official specs, it can get up to 12 hours of talk time, and also has an LED torch light and 2 MP camera with flash.

If you?re looking for a handset that can survive the harshest conditions and modern push-to-talk functionality, the Sonim XP5520 BOLT is definitely worth checking out. You can pick one up for $99.95 on a 3 year term, or $399.95 outright.


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Looking for an extra-durable Android handset? Then the Samsung Rugby could be for you. This Gingerbread handset is certified to be dust, rain, vibration, and shock resistant for working conditions that are too rough for typical, and sometimes delicate smartphones. It comes with a 3.7? (480 x 800) Super AMOLED touch screen display, and a 5 MP camera with LED flash and 720p video capture. The Rugby is powered by a 1.4 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM, and comes with 4 GB of internal storage. Connectivity options are the usual, including HSPA, WI-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

As for pricing and availability, Bell is set to launch the Rugby on April according to leaked internal documentation. There isn?t a specific launch date for the handset with Rogers, though we expect to see it roughly around the same time. Pricing is unknown for both carriers; however talk around the internet points to $300 outright.


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Staples wasn't previously known for being a major retailer when it comes to mobile products, but they are certainly stepping up their game with the recent popularization of tablets. First they launched the BlackBerry PlayBook, right along with the carriers and other department stores to carry it. Now, they have updated their inventory to include two Android tablets, the Acer Iconia 10" tablet, and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. They are also offering a Windows 7 tablet, also an Acer Iconia 10" model

The Android-powered Acer Iconia runs Gingerbread 3.0, and is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor. It has a 10.1" (1280x800) touchscreen display, and features a 5MP rear-facing camera, and a 2MP front-facing secondary camera. It has a microHDMI port, and comes with 32GB of internal memory, along with a microSD card slot and connectivity options including Wi-Fi and bluetooth. The Android Acer Iconia 10" tablet is available for ordering now from Staples for $499.99. Unfortunately it's currently marked as an "Extended Delivery Product", meaning it will take 1-2 weeks for delivery. Additionally, it isn't available in-store as of yet, but should be coming to retail locations soon.

There is also a Windows 7 based Acer Iconia tablet available through the retailer, which features a 10.1" LED-backlit touchscreen display, and 2GB of RAM. It has a dual-core 1GHz AMD processor, and comes with 32GB of internal storage. The Windows 7 Iconia has two 1.3MP cameras (one in the front, one in the back), and features Wi-Fi and bluetooth connectivity. It comes with 2 USB 2.0 ports, and an HDMI port for wired connectivity as well. One of the best things about the Windows 7 Iconia tablet is that it comes with a full QWERTY keyboard dock, making typing significantly easier on the go. The dock also includes an additional USB port, and an Ethernet port for faster wired internet connectivity when at home. The Windows 7 Acer Iconia tablet is available from Staples now, though is also an "Extended Delivery Product". Orders will be shipped within 1-2 weeks and the device is not yet available at retail locations.

The last tablet on the list of recent additions to Staples line-up is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, which is available in 16GB or 32GB versions. It has a 10.1" (1280x800) touchscreen display, and is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. It runs on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and has a 5MP camera, in addition to a 2MP front-facing secondary camera. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi and bluetooth, and it has a microHDMI port, in addition to a microUSB, full USB 2.0, and microSD card slot. The Asus Eee Transformer is available under the same conditions as the previous two tablets, with expected delivery taking 1-2 weeks. It isn't available in retail locations either, but will hopefully be added to store shelves soon. One of the major features of the Asus Eee Transformer is the attachable dock, which not only gives users a full QWERTY keyboard, but significant extension in battery life. No word on when this additional accessory will be made available, but it shouldn't take too long!


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Telus has recently launched the Samsung Rugby II, which meets military standards for water, dust, shock, and temperature, making it a great handset for extreme conditions. The Rugby II has a 2.2" (240x320) internal display, along with a 1.3" external display, and 2MP camera. Other features include A-GPS, voice recognition, a media player, and expandability up to 32GB via microSD card. Bell and Rogers will also be launching this handset, with the expected release date for Bell being December 16th.Telus is offering the Rugby II for $99.99 on a 3 year term, or $229.99 contract-free, while Bell is giving it up at the same 3-year price ($99.95), but a higher outright price of $299.95. Rogers 3-year pricing comes in a bit higher at $129.99, with their contract-free pricing coming in at $279.99.


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Telus has announced plans to launch the Motorola i1 on their iDen network, an Android powered handset that is military certified for extreme conditions such as dust, rain, humidity, etc. The device doesn't leave those wanting to take full advantage of the Android OS behind, boasting a 3.1" (320x480) touch screen, 5MP camera, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It will support push-to-talk services and GPS, making it the perfect full-featured choice for the worksite. No information has been released thus far regarding pricing or an exact released date, but we'll be sure to keep you in the loop once it is.


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Bell is now offering up the refreshed Apple iPhone 3G for just $9.99 on a 3 year term to family and friends of Bell employees. To be eligible, the device must be activated on the $50 smartphone combo plan, and the employee themselves will have to follow internal procedures to have the offer fulfilled. While this is the lowest price we've seen in Canada for a refreshed iPhone, remember that all 3 major carriers (Rogers, Bell, Telus) have been confirmed to be carrying the iPhone 4 in July, and that the iPhone 3G will not support the upgrade to iOS 4. Bell's "refreshed" iPhones "are phones returned to Bell in an unused or slightly used condition and that have passed rigorous Quality Assurance testing", according to the offer's terms and conditions. This offer expires June 30th, 2010, so if you're interested be sure to take advantage soon.


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A couple weeks back, we let you know that Telus would soon be launching the Motorola i296 on their iDEN network, and it's arrived. The Mike i296 is a military-certified iDEN handset, capable of withstanding extreme conditions such as dust, shock, and extreme temperatures, with a rugged and durable design. This new candybar handset is aimed at those who need to stay in contact on the work site, and features push-to-talk services both on and off network and A-GPS. The Motorola Mike i296 is available now through Telus, for $199.99 contract-free.


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<< Supports Bell's strategy to accelerate wireless and leverage momentum in digital television, high-speed Internet and home phone services Adds more than 750 stores across Canada to Bell's national distribution network >>

MONTREAL, Quebec, March 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell today announced it has agreed to acquire national consumer electronics retailer The Source to further enhance the growth of Bell's wireless, digital TV, Internet and home phone services.

"The Source is a respected leader in consumer electronics retailing right across Canada. Its acquisition supports Bell's strategic imperatives to accelerate wireless and leverage momentum in wireline services like Bell TV, Bell Internet and Bell Home Phone," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell and BCE.

"With its strong national presence, brand, and management team, acquiring The Source represents a competitive and cost-effective approach to ensuring Bell's leadership in delivering the best communications products to Canadians," Mr. Cope said. "Expanding the number of places people can buy Bell products is a core element in the execution of Bell's strategy to achieve our goal: To be recognized by customers as Canada's leading communications company."

In addition to its extensive lineup of consumer electronics products, The Source plans to carry the full array of Bell consumer services at its more than 750 stores across Canada, including Bell Mobility, Solo Mobile and potentially Virgin Mobile wireless products and services, Bell TV's industry-leading High Definition television services, high-speed Bell Internet, and Bell Home Phone products, by January 2010.

The Source will continue to operate independently from Bell following its acquisition and will maintain its well-known national brand, broad range of communications, computing and audio products, and its seasoned management team to be led by Ron Cuthbertson, a respected 30-year retail veteran and most recently President of The Source.

"The Source's new relationship with Bell will make the most of the combined strengths of both organizations in terms of products, service and national brand strength," said Mr. Cuthbertson. "Combining Bell's industry-leading roster of communications services with the brand, distribution presence, and consumer retailing expertise of The Source will contribute positively to the long-term growth of both businesses going forward."

The Source has a track record of profitability over the past seven years. LTM (latest twelve month) revenue as of December 31, 2008 was approximately $643 million while LTM EBITDA(1) (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was approximately $27 million for the same period.

The acquisition of The Source and its more than 750 retail stores, most of them in high-traffic mall locations, is a faster and more cost-effective approach to increasing Bell's national distribution footprint than building out new retail locations. More than 70% of Canadians live within five kilometres of stores operated or licensed by The Source, and more than 80 million technology-savvy consumers shop at The Source each year.

Bell is acquiring substantially all of the assets of The Source, which was acquired by Circuit City Stores, Inc. in March 2004. On November 10, 2008, Circuit City and certain of its U.S. subsidiaries voluntarily commenced bankruptcy proceedings under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and The Source commenced a voluntary proceeding under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Bell is acquiring The Source pursuant to the court monitored sale process being managed by NM Rothschild & Sons Canada Ltd. in connection with the proceedings under the CCAA.

Subject to court approval and other customary conditions to closing, the transaction is expected to close in Q3 2009. Due to the nature of the sale process and at the request of The Source, Bell does not expect to disclose the purchase price until after the completion of the transaction.


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