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Those looking to pick up a Wi-Fi only tablet now have another option to choose from in the Android field, the Toshiba Excite 10 LE. It features a 10.1? (1280 x 800) touch screen display with Gorilla Glass, and comes with a 5MP rear-facing camera and 2MP front-facing camera. The Excite 10 LE is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.

This Honeycomb, soon to be Ice Cream Sandwich tablet, comes in at 1.2lbs and is only 7.7mm thin. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, along with micro-USB and HDMI ports for physical connectivity. The Toshiba Excite 10 LE is available now from major electronics retail stores for $549.99 for the 16GB model, while the 32GB version comes in at $599.99.



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Ottawa residents, today you're in luck. Rogers has officially gone live with their LTE network in the Ottawa area, and released a compatible data stick and plans to go along with it. The network offers maximum download speeds of 150 Mbps, and maximum upload speeds of 70 Mbps. Coverage spans from Arnprior west of Ottawa, to Gatineau to the east.

Along with the network, Rogers has launched one compatible device, the Sierra Wireless Aircard 313U. This USB rocket stick is capable of the advertised network speeds, and is the first in Canada. Pricing comes in at $79.99 on a 3 year term, or $169.99 contract-free. Along with the internet stick, you'll need to sign up for their newly introduced LTE Flex Rate Plan as well, which starts at $45 or 1.5 GB of usage. Once you exceed that, the next bucket is $60 for 3 GB, then $75 for 6 GB, and lastly $90 for 9 GB with additional usage costing $10/GB. As an introductory offer, they are also offering up no monthly service fee or overage charges for your first two months.

If you live in Ottawa and are looking to pick one up, there are 4 retail stores currently selling the compatible rocket stick:

Rogers Plus at 1379A Woodroffe Ave.
Rogers Plus at 11 Selkirk St.
Wireless Express at 205 Richmond Rd.
Go Communications at 910 Carling Ave.



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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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At Google I/O last week, a variety of announcements came our way regarding Android. Ice Cream Sandwich, Movie Rentals, and more were announced. One of the other items unveiled at the event was Honeycomb OS 3.1, the next update in the tablet-specific OS. Included in the update are a variety of new featurs, including resizable widgets, USB accessory support, and more.

Unfortunately, like with most events of this type in the U.S., Canada wasn't really discussed a whole lot. U.S. Motorola XOOM owners began seeing the update shortly after the announcement, while there has been no sign of it north of the border. Finally, Motorola Canada came forward on Facebook and declared that the update is coming soon. No specific dates were provided, but they did say:

"Some of the feature upgrades include basic external SD card support for general SD file and media access, expanded support for USB-connected accessories, additional Bluetooth support and Picture Transfer Protocol to enable easier transfer of photo files to your PC."

Certainly great news for Canadian XOOM owners!


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The moment BlackBerry and gadget fans everywhere have been anticipating for the last few weeks finally came yesterday afternoon, when Research In Motion announced the BlackBerry PlayBook! The PlayBook, which is RIM's contribution to the tablet market, features an array of top-end specifications, and the OS is developed, as rumoured, by QNX.

Let's start with the hardware - a 7" ( 1024 x 600) LCD multi-touch capacitive LCD display/touchscreen, a 5MP rear camera and 3MP front-facing camera, both capable of capturing high definition. Powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, the PlayBook comes equipped with micro USB and micro HDMI ports, and connects to cellular data networks via bluetooth tethering with a BlackBerry smartphone. It also features Wi-Fi (a, b, g, n) connectivity, and comes in at just 10mm thick.

Now on to the operating system and software, it looks like the PlayBook is going to fill in the gaps that Apple's IPad currently has, including FULL Adobe Flash 10.1 support! It also supports HTML 5, an on-screen keyboard, and "true multi-tasking". Video conferencing is made available via the front facing camera, and the device can access your BBM, e-mail, calendar, etc., by pairing with your BlackBerry smartphone.


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It appears as though SaskTel is preparing for their 3G+ network launch, which will be launched to the public on August 16th. In the meantime, select employees will be testing the network, which will cover many Saskatchewan communities and most connecting highways. According to the official news release, they will province-wide coverage by the end of the year. Among the devices confirmed to be coming to SaskTel are the BlackBerry Bold 9700, BlackBerry Pearl 9100, and even a USB data stick.


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Rogers add another USB key, the Sony Ericsson MD400g USB Modem. This USB Key is compatible with the new 3.5G network of Rogers and includes a built-in GPS receiver. You can also add a 8Gig of memory with Memory Stick Micro or microSD memory card. Like all other USB modem you do not need CD to use the Key.


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Rogers have announced new products, the HP Mini 110 Netbooks with embedded mobile broadband. No more usb key, the HP Mini 110 from Rogers include a Sim card slot to keep internet anywhere without need to search for WiFi or wire access. The HP Mini 110 include a hard drive of 160Gig, a 10.1 inch display and the keyboard is 92% of the size of a standard notebook PC. Powered by an Intel Atom processor, the HP Mini 110 supports up to 1 GB of RAM. The HP Mini 110 is already available in Future Shop and Best Buy store.


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Surprise, Bell Canada will launch the Palm Pre in Canada. No price or exacte date for the moment but this is features of the Palm Pre of Bell Mobility. Probably Telus mobility will be too offer this device.

- 3G EVDO Rev. A high-speed connectivity
- Integrated GPS
- Large 3.1-inch touch screen with a vibrant 24-bit color 320x480 resolution HVGA display
- Gesture area, which enables simple, intuitive gestures for navigation
- Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
- Email, including Outlook EAS (for access to corporate Microsoft Exchange servers), as well as personal email support (POP3, IMAP)
- Robust messaging support (IM, SMS and MMS capabilities)(3)
- High-performance, desktop-class web browser
- Great multimedia experience and performance (pictures, video playback, music), featuring a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field, and a standard 3.5mm headset jack
- Bluetooth(R) 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
- 8GB internal memory (~7GB user available)
- USB mass storage mode
- MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
- Proximity sensor, which automatically disables the touch screen and turns off the display whenever you put the phone up to your ear
- Light sensor, which dims the display if the ambient light is dark, such as at night or in a movie theater, to reduce power usage
- Accelerometer, which automatically orients web pages and photos to your perspective
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
- Ringer switch, which easily silences the device with one touch
- Removable, rechargeable battery
- Dimensions: 59.57mm (W) x 100.53mm (L, closed) x 16.95mm (D)
- Weight: ~135 grams



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