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Motorola has sent out a press release officially announcing that the MOTOLUXE is heading to Canada, with a scheduled Q2 release. This new Android handset from Motorola features a new user-interface that ?learns? about your use and tailors certain parts of your home screen to your behaviour. For instance, the contacts you interact with most often will have larger icons than the rest on your home screen, and the ?Activity Graph? will display your most used applications. The device also has a multi-coloured LED indicator, something BlackBerry handsets (with the use of 3rd party apps for advanced customization) have had for some time.

Other features include its 4? (480 x 854)) touch screen display, and 8 MP camera with flash and HD video capture. It has an 800 MHz processor, 1 GB of internal storage, and 512 MB of RAM. The current version of the handset available outside of Canada runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, so we?ll probably see this at launch as well.

Pricing and carrier availability are currently unconfirmed, though rumours around the internet point to Bell and Virgin Mobile picking this device up. With the modest specifications and unique, software-oriented approach, we should see the Motorola MOTOLUXE on the lower end of the pricing spectrum.


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Telus has recently launched a new trade-in program to encourage customers to recycle their unused devices, offering up to $200 in value. The program is relatively simple ? you can trade in up to 3 devices, for a maximum combined value of $200. You can use that ?credit? towards the purchase of a new device or accessory, though you must renew or activate a new account when doing so. The program is applicable to cell phones, mobile internet sticks and portable hotspots, but doesn?t currently extend to tablets, unfortunately.

In the press release, Telus mentioned they commissioned a survey to find out what Canadians do with their old devices. The results came in with 61% of Canadians saying they have between one and five old or unused cell phones laying around at home. This is a smart offering from Telus and eRecyclyingCorps in their collaborative effort, hopefully the appropriate value is given to those who want to take advantage!


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All three big carriers are now offering LTE connectivity in major urban areas, with network expansion apparently in the works. When it comes to Android tablets with support for the ultra-fast network, Bell and Telus currently offer the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE, and Rogers has the HTC Jetstream.

The Tab 8.9 LTE is about to find its third home in Canada, however, with Rogers preparing to launch it in the near-future. Dummy units have arrived at some retail stores, though a specific launch date and pricing haven?t been confirmed as of yet. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE features an 8.9? (1280 x 800) touch screen display, and is powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. It comes with 16 GB of internal storage, a 3 MP rear-facing camera with 720p video capture, and 2 MP front-facing camera. It runs on Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and comes in at 8.6 mm thin.

Interested? We?ll keep you posted as more information becomes available!


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Both Telus and KOODO Mobile have officially released the INQ Cloud Touch, an affordable Android 2.2 handset. This new addition to their line-up features a 3.5" (320x480) touchscreen display, 5MP camera, and is powered by a 600MHz processor. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi with hotspot functionality, and bluetooth. The Cloud Touch places a focus on Facebook, and it looks as though INQ have included some of their own Facebook widgets for use on the homescreens.

If this sounds like something you may be interested in, it's available now from Telus for $29.99 on a 3 year term, or $229.99 contract-free. KOODO Mobile has it listed for $50 using the tab, or $200 outright.


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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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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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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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RIM have been slowly rolling out BlackBerry OS 6 to some of the more recent devices they offer, with each individual carrier packaging and releasing the updates themselves. Now, WIND Mobile customers who own either a Bold 9700 or Curve 9300 are in luck, as the quickly growing carrier has officially released the upgrade. For those who own a Pearl 9100, WIND has stated that the new OS "will be available in coming weeks". The update is available now, and can be downloaded/installed using the latest version of Desktop Manager.

In case you haven't been following the changes RIM have been implementing, BlackBerry OS 6 features a number of improvements over OS 5, including the new WebKit browser, new menu and homescreen layout, along with a variety of performance improvements overall.


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Rogers customers who own either the Sony Ericsson X10 or X10 Mini have been waiting quite some time for Android 2.1 Eclair to launch for the device, and as of Sunday, it finally has! The updated OS offers several new features and changes to the devices software, including HD 720p video capture, auto-focus, a new lock screen, 2 additional homescreens (for a total of 5), and much more. To get the update, you'll have to head to the Sony Ericsson website, as it isn't currently available for OTA install.


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