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Tags : widgets



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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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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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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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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KOODO Mobile has recently launched the LG Cookie Plus, which features a 3" (240 x 400) touchscreen display, 3MP camera capable of recording video, along with bluetooth connectivity and an FM radio. While the Cookie Plus doesn't run on Android, it does have a customizable 3 screen interface, and should appeal to the social crowd as it comes with Twitter and Facebook widgets. The LG Cookie Plus is available now from KOODO Mobile for as little as $25 using their Tab system, or $175 contract/tab free.


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Some time ago, we let you know that Telus discontinued the HTC Hero, but for those who are remaining faithful to the device, we've got some great news. Android 2.1 Eclair has finally been launched for the device, which brings a variety of new features including Flash support 4.0, a voice-dialer, multi-touch navigation and support, some new widgets, and more. While it's definitely been a disappointing wait for HTC Hero owners so far, it's nice that the OS upgrade wasn't completely forgotten about because of the discontinuation of the device.


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Rogers stores have started to receive Motorola Quench dummy phones, implying a close launch date. Rumour has it that this new addition to Roger's handset line-up will be available late next week at a price of roughly $50 on a 3 year contract, or around $425 outright.

The Motorola Quench runs on the Android platform, and features MOTOBLUR UI with live widgets. It features a 3.1" (320 x 480) touch screen, 5MP camera, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also supports HSPA connectivity for download speeds up to 7.2Mbps, and comes with a 528MHz processor.




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Telus is now offering the LG Breeze, featuring a 2.8" touch screen, slide out QWERTY keyboard, and 3MP camera. It runs on Telus' 3G+ network and supports bluetooth, however no Wi-Fi.

The LG Breeze focuses on social use, boasting LG LiveSquare alerts and social network widgets, but doesn't leave media behind supporting memory expansion up to 8gb.

The LG Breeze is available now on Telus, priced at $49.99 on a 3-year term, $129.99 on a 2-year term, or $229.99 outright/no contract.


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Software opera, announced today to have updated Opera 9 for Mobile. The version is available for all the platforms. The new version offers technology ?Intelligent Zoom? and the use of Widgets. Several other original functionalities of Opera are also available. Then on your telephones?


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