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Samsung?s Galaxy Note has been a popular device in Canada, and has proven to be one of the best available for those who don?t mind the large size. And while the Tab line-up of tablets has been important in the progress of Android tablets in the market, it?s no surprise that Samsung is pushing the ?Note? name further. Scheduled for release sometime in the coming months, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 should merge the two series together, and has the specifications required to be successful.

Originally, the Note 10.1 was demonstrated to include a dual-core 1.4 GHz processor and the S Pen stylus, but no room in the hardware itself to store it when not in use. Now, thanks to newly leaked information, we know that the processor has been upgraded to a quad-core Exynos processor with a powerful Mali-T604 graphics chip. Additionally, Samsung has incorporated an S Pen slot, a move that makes a lot of sense. Other features include its 10.1? (800 x 1280) touch screen display and 3.15 MP camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture. The Note 10.1 runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, comes with 1 GB of RAM, and is set to be a Wi-Fi only tablet.

While nothing has been confirmed regarding a Canadian launch, Samsung has been relatively good about getting their devices to Canada recently, so we should see the device shortly after the United States does. Pricing is still unknown as well, but we?ll keep you updated on any further information throughout the coming weeks and months!


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WIND Mobile released the LG Optimus 2X, a device that's regarded as fairly hard to beat in Canada, but they aren't forgetting their roots. For those looking for a more affordable option, they have also launched the Huawei U6150, a simple device with a full physical QWERTY keyboard. It features a 2.4" (320x240) display, and comes with a 2MP camera and AGPS functionality, along with bluetooth connectivity.

The Huawei U6150 is available now from WIND Mobile for a very affordable price of $98 contract-free, or those looking to pick it up for free can do so using the WINDtab.


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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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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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Google held their I/O event today, announcing a number of things pertaining to their mobile OS and platform - Android. Possibly the biggest announcement was the official confirmation of their upcoming OS version, Ice Cream Sandwich. This new version aims to bridge the gap between tablets and smartphones, bringing many of the higher-end features of Honeycomb to a smaller screen size. This promises richer widgets and graphics, better multitasking, and much more. Ice Cream Sandwich is expected to launch in Q4.

Another big announcement was movie rentals via Market. No word on when Canadians will see the feature released, but starting in the next few weeks, Google stated they will be rolling out movie rentals in the Android Market. These rentals will start as low as $1.99, but premium titles will likely be more.

Though Canadians haven't received any word on when it will be available to us, Google also announced Music Beta. Music Beta is a service that allows you to upload your personal music collection to the cloud for streaming on your computer and various Android devices. It was made available today to certain U.S. users by invitation, so hopefully we'll see it soon in Canada.

A few other announcements were made as well, including a promise of higher dedication to timely OS updates. They also discussed projects like the Android Open Accessory Toolkit and Android@Home so hardware creators can develop a broader range of products, and even offer connectivity between home appliances and your device!


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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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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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Mobilicity has recently added two new devices to their line-up, and while they aren't as impressive as the Samsung Nexus S, they are definitely great additions. The Nokia E73 is now available from Mobilicity for $149.99 outright, while the Samsung G-Touch comes in at just $139.99.

The Nokia E73 features a 2.4" (320x240) display, full QWERTY keyboard, and 5MP camera with LED flash. It runs on Symbian OS 9.3 (Series 60), and has Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and GPS connectivity.

The Samsung G-Touch has a 2.8" (240x320) touchscreen display, a horizontally sliding QWERTY keyboard, and a 2MP camera. The G-Touch has bluetooth support in addition to A-GPS, making it suitable entry-level cell phone for those who don't want to pay a whole lot for hardware.

The Nokia E73 and Samsung G-Touch are both available now from Mobilicity. If one of these devices sound appealing to you and you live in one of Mobilicity's coverage areas, head to one of their stores to pick yours up today!


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There has been some great competition happening in Canada to win over consumers considering a tablet. Android is doing especially well when it comes to Google's open-source platform, with a nice range of devices to choose from. LG, who have been fairly quiet in the mobile scene lately, have actually been hard at work on some new hardware.

Rogers and LG seem to have partnered up, and are expected to be launching the LG Optimus Pad in mid-May. The Optimus Pad has an 8.9" (768x1280) 3D LCD touchscreen display, and two rear-facing 5MP cameras with LED flash and capable of recording 1080p HD video, or 720p 3D video. It also comes with a secondary 2MP front-facing camera, and is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor. Running on Android 3.0 Honeycomb at launch, the LG Optimus Pad features HSPA, Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and an HDMI port to easily view content on your TV.

No word on pricing as of yet, but apparently this new LG tablet will be a Rogers exclusive. With an expected launch date of May 10th, we should be hearing more about the Optimus Pad in the near-future and will keep you in the loop!


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