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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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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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Rogers customers who own a Dell Streak are in luck today, as the Android 2.2 Froyo update is being rolled out OTA(over-the-air). The update, which brings Adobe Flash support and Dell's "Stage" software, is available now, and Streak users should be prompted to update the next time their phone is rebooted. The other main benefit users will experience with this new OS version is significantly wider compatibility with recently released apps, as many developers are designing their products to function with Android OS 2.0 or higher only.

Note: Some users are experiencing issues when updating their Streak's OTA, stating that they experience repeated "Force close" problems immediately after the update. Be sure to manually back up your crucial data before performing the upgrade. Lastly, if you do experience the "Force close" problem after updating, try navigating the menus and perform a Factory Reset on the device, as this reportedly fixes the problem and leaves you with a fresh Android 2.2 Froyo install.


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A few days ago, Nokia announced that they have partnered up with Microsoft to make their primary focus Windows Phone 7 products. Only a few days later, Nokia also announced that they have made their #1 priority to beat out Android, a challenge that Nokia is looking to take on. Since Nokia is still the world's top handset manufacturer, this should be mean great things for the Windows Phone 7 platform, and might be the boost Nokia needs to help them secure their spot at the top. According to Nokia, they're happy to be entering into the Windows Phone 7 competition with the likes of HTC, Samsung, and LG, but are most excited about the opportunity to overtake Android.


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New entrants have been working hard at expanding their device line-up and offering competitive products and services, and Mobilicity is doing just that by launching the Mobiflip. The Mobiflip is actually the Sidekick LX rebranded by Mobilicity, and features a 3.2" (854x480) display that swivels up, along with a full QWERTY keyboard, trackball for navigation, and 3.2MP camera with a flash. The Mobiflip is available now for $99.99 outright, but it comes with a $50 mail-in rebate if purchased before December 31st, bringing it down to just $49.99.


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Mobilicity has recently placed more of a focus on distribution channels, adding two more companies to their list of agreements intended to get their products and services out to more people. Both HMV, and 50 Zellers locations will now carry Mobilicity products and services, which is a nice variety of partners when taking their recent 7-eleven deal into consideration as well. Apparently Zellers locations in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa are already set-up, while HMV locations in Toronto and Ottawa are setting up throughout the holiday season.


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We've seen multiple carriers sign distribution deals with various outlets, and now Mobilicity has joined in. Mobilicity has signed with their first major distribution partner, 7-Eleven, and products will be available at 150 stores throughout Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton before the end of the year. Mobilicity has maintained a focus on simplicity and convenience, and state that the availability of their products at 7-Eleven locations "will only add to that convenient customer experience". With their launch in 3 more cities, and this new distribution deal, Mobilicity should see some growth in the near-future.


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Many carriers have been exploring distribution options as of lately, looking to expand the retail outlets in which they can sell their products and services, and the latest to join in the effort is WIND Mobile. Now offering 4 of their devices in London Drugs locations in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver, WIND Mobile will surely reach a wider audience, adding to BlockBuster and Valu Mobile as distribution partners. The devices available through London Drugs include the Huawei 1250, Huawei 8100, Nokia 5230 (black), and the Samsung Gravity 2(blue). Apparently 30 London Drugs locations are on board and offering these devices, spanning through the 3 cities listed above.


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Public Mobile recently reduced the price of their handsets, and are now offering up yet another incentive for customers. Their new referral program, which will allow customers to refer others for a $20 credit, is now active. The credit will appear on customers' invoices within 6 weeks as long as both accounts are in good standing, and there is no limit to the number of people each customer can refer. While $20 doesn't seem like much, it's a considerable credit since their products and services are so cheap to begin with, and since each customer can earn several credits, this is a great move on Public Mobile's part.


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