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Tags : quality



With the technology behind cameras growing constantly, especially in mobile phones, it didn't come as much of a surprise that Sony Ericsson might be working on a cyber-shot Android handset. But what about Windows Phone users who want a great camera in their next device? Well, according to recently leaked photos and information, HTC is working a new Windows Phone handset that will feature a 12MP camera. No word yet on what type of lens will be used, but if this device is going to be marketed for its camera, it should be something of decent quality at least. Other features will be included with the camera as well, including the ability of to capture "raw images", and a variety of manual settings.

No word on what this new Windows Phone HTC device will be called, or when we might see it available. Hopefully its launch won't be staggered between the U.S. and Canada, but only time will tell.


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We recently let you know that Bell and Virgin Mobile were getting set to launch the HTC Wildfire S, and Bell has gone ahead and done so. The Wildfire S is an entry-level Android handset, and runs OS 2.3 Gingerbread. Featuring a 3.2" (320x480) touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass, the Wildfire S comes with a 5MP camera with LED flash and VGA quality video recording. Its powered by a 600MHz processor and and 512MB of RAM, and offers Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and GPS connectivity.

The HTC Wildfire S is available now from Bell. No word yet on when Virgin Mobile will make the device available, but we should see it launch fairly soon. From Bell, the HTC Wildfire S comes in at $249.95 contract-free, or just $29.95 on a 3 year term.


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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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Today, HTC unveiled 5 of their upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices, and among them is a Telus exclusive in Canada - the HTC 7 Surround. The HTC 7 Surround features the newly designed and announced Windows Phone 7 operating system, along with some impressive, and highly competitive hardware specifications to back it up.

Featuring a 3.8" (480x800) touch screen, 5MP camera capable of recording 720p HD video, and 16GB of internal storage, this Telus exclusive is perfect for capturing or experiencing media of any kind. One of the most unique features is the slide-out speaker system that offers up virtual surround sound and high quality audio so users can use the device to experience media along side others, rather than cutting themselves off from friends by popping in headphones. Powered by a 1GHz processor, you can be sure that device certainly won't lack power or speed, and should easily compare to top of the line handsets running on other platforms.

Expected sometime later this month, there is no definite word on pricing as of yet, but it's likely to come in around the $200 mark on a 3 year term. What do you think about the HTC 7 Surround and Windows Phone 7? Let us know in the forums!


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Videotron will be holding a press conference on Thursday, September 9th to introduce their newly built 3G+ network to Quebec residents. The new network, which will provide significantly improved data speeds and quality of service, is finally ready for consumers. We'll be at the Montreal event to keep you informed on all of the launch details, but in case you'd like to watch it yourself, it will be broadcast live on VOX (Channel 9 or 609 with Videotron), and on the internet at webcast.videotron.com. No word yet on exactly which devices will be available at launch, or if the 3G+ network will cover all of Videotron existing wireless coverage areas, but check back tomorrow for all the details!


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Videotron's 3G+ network launch has been delayed time and time again, and the latest rumour is pointing to an early September launch. There aren't many details available, except that Videotron wants to ensure quality of service and content, so the delay should result in a more successful launch. Those in Quebec who are with Videotron or thinking about making the switch, we'll be sure to keep you updated on the status of their new 3G+ network.


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As you know, Chatr Wireless launched today, offering yet another option for Canadians residing in major cities looking for an affordable and simple solution for their mobile services. We got the opportunity to speak with Garrick Tiplady, the Senior VP of Chatr, and this new brand from Rogers is definitely one to look out for.

Chatr launched today in 5 major cities(zones) across Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, with a Montreal launch planned for this fall. Customers living in these areas can pick up one of four devices, and can use their service in any Chatr zone without worrying about long distance or roaming charges. The device line-up, which ranges from a simple bar phone to a sliding full QWERTY messaging device, is expected to remain the same for some time, and includes 4 phones that are offered contract-free:

- The "essential" Nokia 1661 - $60
- The "flip" LG GB125R - $75
- The "slider" Nokia 2680 - $95
- The "QWERTY" Samsung Gravity - $130

During the conversation, Tiplady let us know that Chatr is focused on delivering a worry-free experience, at the root of which are 3 things - simplicity, certainty, and quality. Keeping things simple, Chatr offers only two price plans, and makes it very easy to understand offers. Ensuring customers know exactly what to expect, the price plans available are the $35 Unlimited Talk and $45 Unlimited Talk & Text packages, so the possibility of unexpected overage or pay-per-use charges is significantly reduced. Finally, Chatr boasts a reliable experience, using Rogers' physical network to provide excellent coverage that Canadians have come to trust.

With other discount brands launching mobile internet sticks recently, we asked if we could expect the same thing in Chatr's future. In response to customer demand, Chatr is focusing on talk and text services only, with no intentions to launch data services as of now.

Offering unique options for payment, customers can either sign up for "no worries auto-pay", which is a pre-authorized payment service that keeps things as simple as possible. The second option is to top up your account before your anniversary date (day of the month you originally signed up) each month using your credit card or top-up vouchers from Chatr Wireless retail locations.

The main thing we got out of this is that Chatr aims to keep things simple, offering a limited selection of handsets and price plans, and focusing on users who know what they want without hassle or confusion. If you're looking to find out even more, or find the nearest Chatr store, be sure to check out Chatr Wirless


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Bell is now offering up the refreshed Apple iPhone 3G for just $9.99 on a 3 year term to family and friends of Bell employees. To be eligible, the device must be activated on the $50 smartphone combo plan, and the employee themselves will have to follow internal procedures to have the offer fulfilled. While this is the lowest price we've seen in Canada for a refreshed iPhone, remember that all 3 major carriers (Rogers, Bell, Telus) have been confirmed to be carrying the iPhone 4 in July, and that the iPhone 3G will not support the upgrade to iOS 4. Bell's "refreshed" iPhones "are phones returned to Bell in an unused or slightly used condition and that have passed rigorous Quality Assurance testing", according to the offer's terms and conditions. This offer expires June 30th, 2010, so if you're interested be sure to take advantage soon.


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KOODO Mobile has started preparing for their upcoming HSPA network launch, with internal systems showing information on SIM card testing. KOODO, a subsidiary of Telus Mobility, will be using Telus' HSPA network to deliver a better quality experience to customers across Canada, in addition to providing the freedom of using compatible unlocked HSPA handsets.

While no launch date has been released as of yet, we should see the network up and running in the near-future, with device announcements coming around the same time.


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IBwave has announced the launch of it's mobile application designed to capture building and network information on mobile handsets for use in improvement of in-building radio communications. The application will provide engineers and non-technical users with the ability to capture information such as photos, video, floor plans, etc for use in the planning and improvement process within the telecom industry.

The iBwave mobile application will allow wireless providers to monitor and improve interior network reception and quality in a cost-conscious way, in addition to offering compatibility with existing iBwave applications such as iBwave design and iBwave Field software.


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