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Tags : game



Every summer, we see the major carriers re-launch the $30 6GB data package, typically coinciding with the latest iPhone launch. Rogers and Telus are ahead of the game this year, with internal documents stating that they are each offering it up effective immediately. To get the package, you'll need to sign up for a new 3 year term or renew your current contract, as usual. Additionally, it must be added to a voice plan, and cannot be used as a stand-alone data only package. No word on exactly when the promotion will expire, but as always, you can expect it to be available for a limited time only. We'll likely see Bell follow suit in the near future, as the re-introduction of this plan is usually aligned among the major carriers.


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Rogers is preparing to launch a new Nokia handset, the X7, which is powered by Symbian Anna OS. It features a 4" (360x640) Gorilla Glass AMOLED touchscreen display, and an 8MP camera with dual-LED flash and 720p HD video capture. It is powered by a 680 MHz processor and 256MB of RAM, and comes with 1GB of internal ROM memory. The X7 is being advertised as an entertainment focused handset, and the box for it shows off Angry Birds. Apparently the device is set to come pre-loaded with Galaxy on Fire HD and Asphalt 5 HD, but no word if any other games will come with it. No word on pricing or an exact launch date, but with stock beginning to arrive at some retail locations, it can't be too long until we see this handset become 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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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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We have been keeping you up to date on the Samsung Galaxy 551 release on Bell, and just on time, it launched. Available today, the Galaxy 551 is available for free on a 3 year term, or just $249.95 contract-free. Featuring a full sliding QWERTY keyboard, the 551 comes with a 3.2" (240x400) touchscreen display, and a 3.15MP camera. This new Android handset is powered by a modest 667MHz processor, and offers connectivity including bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi.

Bell is also offering up $10 Visa Reward gift cards to those who purchase the Samsung Galaxy 551, which can be used to purchase applications and games in the Android Market.


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WIND Mobile has been advertising that their mobile portal would be launching for some time now, and that day has finally come. Effective now, WIND customers have access to WINDWORLD on their handsets, which offers weather information, quick Facebook access, in addition to CBC stories, and more. Customers are also able to purchase ringtones, games, and graphics from the portal, which can be accessed by visiting m.windmobile.ca from your device. Access to the portal is free for a limited time, though no word yet on when access will begin costing customers.


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While BlackBerry App World may lack in numbers compared to Apple's App Store and Android Market, most who choose BlackBerry still make use of it regularly. Fortunately for Telus customers, they can now bill their App World purchases to their monthly Telus bill, making it convenient to get, and pay for apps, games, themes, and more. No word yet on when the other carriers will begin supporting this feature, but hopefully it will come soon.


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With the competition heating up in Quebec with a range of carriers now available, Telus is stepping up their game to offer similar plans to other carriers, and have launched a new "Unlimited Quebec" plan. The new Unlimited Quebec plan offers up unlimited local and long distance calls within Quebec, Nationwide family calling, voicemail, call waiting, and conference calling. For an additional $5/month, Quebec subscribers can have unlimited text, picture, and video messaging added to the plan, leaving the only thing missing as data services. Nice to see carriers competing for customers in Quebec these days, now if only these types of offers could be extended to other provinces!


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With the regular NHL season starting recently, Bell has released an official Montreal Canadiens application for BlackBerry, Android, and iPhone that provides customers with up-to-date news on the team, statistics, and videos showing off game highlights, and more. Additionally, the application will allow users to vote on the game's "3 stars" that are declared shortly after each game ends, and users can even submit photos that could appear on the big screen in the Bell Center! If you're with Bell for your mobile services and are a Habs fan, this application is definitely worth checking out.


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According to internal documents floating around the internet, Bell will be released the Nokia C6 entry-level smartphone on Tuesday, September 21st. The C6 features 3.2" (360x640) touchscreen, horizontally sliding QWERTY keyboard, and a 5MP camera with LED flash. Running on Symbian Series 60 OS, this handset provides users to access to Nokia's Ovi store, where they can download mobile content like applications, games, etc. No official word on pricing as of yet, but we'll be sure to let you know once more information is released!


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