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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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Rogers has launched another LTE mobile hotspot, this time the LTE Rocket mobile hotspot, otherwise known as the Sierra Wireless AirCard 763S. It can create a mobile hotspot for up to 10 devices via Wi-Fi, offering ?typical? download speeds of 12-40 Mbps. It has an LCD screen, audible alerts, and can fall back to 4G HSPA+ when necessary. If you?re interested in picking one up, this new LTE mobile hotspot is now available from Rogers for free on a 3 year term, or $199.99 contract free.


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According to internal documents that have recently surfaced online, Telus is launching the Huawei E397 LTE Internet Stick tomorrow, March 21st. The stick, like others, has a maximum download capability of 75Mbps, with expected speeds of 12-25Mbps. Additionally, it falls back to Telus? HSPA+ networks when outside of LTE coverage areas.

The Huawei E397 LTE Internet Stick is set for release tomorrow, March 21st, and is expected to cost as little as $0 on a 3 year term, and $149.99 contract-free.


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We have made sure to keep you in the loop regarding the Nokia Lumia 900, and Rogers? upcoming launch of the handset. Now, Rogers has accidentally made their Lumia 900 pre-order page live earlier today, taking it down later and admitting that pre-orders aren't ready just yet. You are currently able to reserve your device and officially pre-order when it goes live, which should be any day now. And the surprise Rogers was promising? Each person who pre-orders will be entered into a draw, with the main prize being a private screening of The Dark Knight Rises. A couple of second prizes are also available, limited Special Edition The Dark Knight Rises Lumia 900s!

The Nokia Lumia 900 features a 4.3? (480 x 800) touch screen display with Gorilla Glass, and is powered by a 1.4 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM. It comes with an 8 MP camera with dual-LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics, and can record 720p video. Additionally, the Lumia 900 has a front-facing 1.3 MP camera and come with 16 GB of onboard memory. Connectivity options include LTE, HSPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.


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Samsung has officially announced LTE versions of the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 8.9. The LTE version of the Galaxy S II will bring numerous upgrades from the existing HSPA+ Galaxy S II from Bell, including a larger screen, and faster processor. The Tab 8.9, which isn't available in Canada as of yet, also features a big improvement over its previously announced 3G version, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor.

Here's a full rundown of both device's specifications:

The Galaxy S II LTE features a 4.5" (480x800) Super AMOLED Plus display with Gorilla Glass, and is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. It has an 8MP camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture, along with a secondary 2MP camera. It runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and will be a fantastic addition to any Canadian carrier.

The Galaxy tab 8.9 LTE features an 8.9" (800x1280) touchscreen display, and is powered by a 1.5GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. It runs on Honeycomb 3.0, and offers up a 3.15MP camera with LED flash and 720p HD capture, with a front-facing 2MP camera as well.

Both offer LTE connectivity, which has a maximum download speed of 150 Mbps. Rogers has already began a trial launch in Ottawa, and is expected to launch their LTE network in more areas by the end of the year. Bell and Telus also have their LTE network(s) marked as coming soon, though neither have been overly specific about timeframes. Hopefully we'll see both of these devices in Canada, though only time will tell.


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Ottawa residents, today you're in luck. Rogers has officially gone live with their LTE network in the Ottawa area, and released a compatible data stick and plans to go along with it. The network offers maximum download speeds of 150 Mbps, and maximum upload speeds of 70 Mbps. Coverage spans from Arnprior west of Ottawa, to Gatineau to the east.

Along with the network, Rogers has launched one compatible device, the Sierra Wireless Aircard 313U. This USB rocket stick is capable of the advertised network speeds, and is the first in Canada. Pricing comes in at $79.99 on a 3 year term, or $169.99 contract-free. Along with the internet stick, you'll need to sign up for their newly introduced LTE Flex Rate Plan as well, which starts at $45 or 1.5 GB of usage. Once you exceed that, the next bucket is $60 for 3 GB, then $75 for 6 GB, and lastly $90 for 9 GB with additional usage costing $10/GB. As an introductory offer, they are also offering up no monthly service fee or overage charges for your first two months.

If you live in Ottawa and are looking to pick one up, there are 4 retail stores currently selling the compatible rocket stick:

Rogers Plus at 1379A Woodroffe Ave.
Rogers Plus at 11 Selkirk St.
Wireless Express at 205 Richmond Rd.
Go Communications at 910 Carling Ave.



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The Samsung Galaxy S II is sure to be a truly amazing Android handset, boasting top-end specifications and Google's latest version of Android, 2.3 Gingerbread. Today, Bell, Virgin Mobile, and Sasktel all officially anounced that they will be launching the handset via press releases. No official word on launch dates for any of the 3 carriers besides "in the coming weeks", however recent rumours online are pointing to mid-July. Pricing is also still unconfirmed for Bell and Virgin, however Sasktel did mention in the release that 3-year pricing is set to be $79.99, with the outright cost yet to be released.

The Samsung Galaxy S II has a 4.3" Super AMOLED touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass, and features TouchWiz UI 4.0, and an 8MP camera with LED flash and 1080p video capture. It also has a secondary 2MP front-facing camera, and is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. It has been branded as the "Galaxy S II 4G", and is capable of 21Mbps download speeds.

We'll be sure to keep you updated on any further launch information made available, so stay tuned!


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While Sasktel has been doing a decent job keeping up with top-end smartphones in their line-up, it's great to see a variety of other mobile-related devices launch too. They have officially put the Novatel Ovation MC547 Mobile Internet Stick on their website, marking it as "Coming Soon!"

The MC547 is capable of download speeds reaching 42 Mbps, using dual-cell HSPA+ network technology. For the time-being, however, the device's max download speed on Sasktel's HSPA+ network is limited to 21 Mbps, pending network upgrades. Pricing for the data stick come in at $59.99 on a 3 year term, ranging upwards to $199.99 contract-free


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First Videotron launched the super-powerful LG Optimus 2X, and now WIND Mobile have gone ahead releasing the device as well. The 2X, for those who haven't kept an eye on it, features a 4" (480x800) touchscreen Gorilla Glass display, 8GB of storage, and an 8MP camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture. It also has a secondary 1.3MP front-facing camera, and is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi (b/g/n, hotspot), bluetooth, and GPS, and the handset runs on Android 2.2 Froyo. Other notable features include its HDMI port and FM radio connectivity, which both seem to be hit or miss for recently released smartphones.

If you're looking to pick up the Optimus 2X from WIND Mobile, it is now available for the decent price of $445 contract-free. Customers also have the option of subsidizing a part of the cost using the WINDtab, which will reduce it down to $295 upfront, with the remainder being paid off monthly via your typical invoice. If you're looking for a powerful Android handset and like what WIND has to offer, the LG Optimus 2X might just be the perfect choice for you.


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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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