Latest News

Google announces new Explore feature for Google Maps


Google is really spoiling Maps users this month. Just last week, an update to Google Maps added the ability to view elevation when planning cycling routes and the ability to ask questions during Navigation. Now, Google is introducing (via server-side switch) a new feature for iOS and Android users that will help you discover new and exciting things to do wherever you are.

Explore is a button that pops up on the bottom right of your map and will help you find nearby points of interest, places to eat, and things to do based on your location, the weather, how far you’re willing to go, and the time of day. You can toggle these settings if you’re looking for a recommendation for another time or for restaurants in another place entirely. (more…)


FiftyThree launches SDK for its iOS-based Pencil stylus


FiftyThree, the creators of the popular Paper app for iOS, has released its first SDK for developers to integrate its Pencil stylus into third-party apps.

The FiftyThree SDK is timed just before the public release of iOS 8 (and during the beta period) to offer developers the option of adding surface pressure, palm rejection, simple pairing and touch classifiers in apps other than Paper.

Pencil was developed as a way to easily sketch and draw on an iPad, and like a real pencil has an “eraser” on the opposite end of the stylus to easily remove marks on the page. Pencil costs between $60 and $75 depending on the finish (either graphite or walnut) and works with all iPads after the iPad 3. Surface pressure is a feature coming in iOS 8, which mimics the idea of surface tension without a pressure-sensitive digitizer.

The FiftyThree SDK has already been integrated into several apps, including Procreate, Noteshelf and Squiggle, with more to come.


SyrupCast Episode 5: Culture Club Sandwich

syrupcast644 - episode 5

This week on the SyrupCast, we’re joined by new MobileSyrup member, Jane McEntagart, whose seven years of industry experience makes us look like a bunch of newbs.

We dive into important mobile payment news from Visa, some unfortunate layoffs from Microsoft and Rogers, an important regulation that will affect both Google and Apple’s app stores, and we’ll delve into the Nvidia Shield Tablet, a brand new gaming-oriented Android tablet. (more…)


LG to bring G Watch to TELUS and Videotron retail stores in early August


Right now, the only place to purchase an LG G Watch, the company’s first Android Wear smartphone, is on Google Play.

The Korean company, however, is working to bring the device to Canadian retailers, beginning with TELUS and Videotron in early August. The price will remain $249.99, and it appears that, for now, the only choice of colour will be black, but it’s a start. LG says it is working with big box stores like Future Shop and Best Buy, in addition to carriers like Rogers and Bell, to stock the colourful wrist piece, too.

Read our full LG G Watch / Android Wear review for more.


Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha leaks online, shows its metal frame

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 4.18.13 PM

This is the Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha. Previous reports indicated that this new Android smartphone would officially be announced next month, and a new set of images has arrived to confirm both the name and design.

As expected, the Galaxy S5 Alpha will target customers pining for Samsung’s hardware in a premium metal body. The Galaxy S5 Alpha looks similar to the Galaxy Note 3 in design with= curved edges and a faux leather back, but the bezels appear to be significantly smaller. (more…)


Roam Mobility announces support for premium SMS for all texting plans


Roam mobility today announced that it will support the ability to send and receive premium SMS messages. In case you’re not away, premium SMS messages are those that come into play when you want to vote in contests, receive promotional materials, take part in surveys or receive alerts.

Most notable for travellers will be Uber. The smartphone-based taxi-hailing application requires you to verify your number before you can use the service. Now, if you’re in the United States and using Roam mobility, you can receive those messages for free, without any additional fee from Roam. Premium texts are included in all Roam Mobility plans that come with texting. (more…)


Rogers crosses 8 million postpaid subs in Q2, but higher costs lead to fewer smartphone sales

Rogers logo

Rogers posted its Q2 2014 results this week, and the company continued to be buoyed by strong wireless numbers, though its net income was lower than the same period a year ago.

Revenue amounted to $3.21 billion, the same as Q2 2013, while adjusted operating profit came in at $1.3 billion. Net income was $405 million, 24% lower year over year. Wireless revenue was down 1% year over year to $1.8 billion.

A few factors hindered growth this time around, especially in the wireless segment. Rogers complained that fewer existing customers are choosing to upgrade aging devices because, due to the implementation of two year contracts, handset prices have increased. While network revenue was up 4% y/y, equipment sales dropped 17% in the same period. (more…)


Facebook now has 341 million mobile-only monthly users, boasts huge Q2 profit increase


Facebook reported its Q2 earnings this week, and the company boasted record revenues of $2.91 billion and $791 million net income, the latter up over 50% from the same period a year ago.

The massive company now has 1.32 billion monthly active users and 829 million daily active users, up 14% and 19% y/y respectively.

More impressive is that mobile usage is soaring, with 62% of advertising revenue derived from smartphones and tablets. Indeed, mobile active users rose to 1.07 billion, with 654 million logging on every day, an increase of 31% and 39% y/y.

The company now boasts 341 million mobile-only MAUs, too, which shows that as users continue to do more on their smartphones, their number one app, Facebook, continues to be part of that routine.

As for North America, Facebook now earns $5.79 per user through advertising and $0.66 through “payments,” which comprises purchases made through Facebook or a partner. The company continues to push its various cross-platform advertising networks, including single-tap app installs, which pushes users to the platform’s native app store, but purchases made from Facebook itself are in decline.

North American growth was just 2% over the last quarter, compared to over 10% in Europe and Asia.



LG G3 QuickCircle case hands-on (video)


If you’re in the market for an upcoming LG G3, available August 1st from Rogers, Bell, Videotron, MTS, SaskTel and Videotron, an accompanying $49.99 QuickCircle case might be the perfect accessory.

Unlike last year’s model, the G3 sports a removable back cover, allowing for a case to not only protect the front but give the back a fresh coat of paint as well.



Uber finally arrives on Windows Phone after four years


iPhone and Android users have been able to hail cabs from their smartphones for the last four years. Windows Phone users haven’t been so lucky. Up until now, anyone using a device running Microsoft’s mobile OS has been forced to use Uber’s mobile site because there was no dedicated app for Windows Phone, and there never has been (bar one month in 2013, but that app so bad it was removed). (more…)