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Rogers launches 700Mhz service in parts of Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto

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They may not be first, but Rogers’ rollout of its new Band 17 700Mhz spectrum promises to be Canada’s largest.

The company announced today that it has flipped the switch on 700Mhz connectivity in parts of Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, with other regions to quickly follow in the coming months.

Rogers calls its 6+6Mhz Block B radio waves “beachfront spectrum,” with which it will “deliver the ultimate mobile video experience to our customers in even more places where they couldn’t access LTE before.” (more…)

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Koodo Mobile has 1 million subscribers

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TELUS recently became Canada’s second largest wireless carrier and ended 2013 with 7,807,000 subscribers. This number represents both the TELUS Mobility brand and its sub-brand Koodo Mobile, with the newly acquired Public Mobile omitted from the results, but they have 222,000 subs.

The breakdown of subscribers for each carrier is rarely given, but according to a report from Strategy reveals that Koodo has hit the 1 million customer mark. TELUS launched Koodo Mobile back in 2008 and first came to market with a 1980′s theme with dancers outfitted in neon spandex. The carrier later progressed to the El Tabador wrestler — who’s character was sold to Camillion Corp. to star in a 30-minute sitcom, video games and merchandise. (more…)

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TELUS BlackBerry Z10 now available on Prepaid for $200

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The BlackBerry Z10 was once the saviour of the Waterloo-based company. When this BlackBerry 10-powered device was released back in February of 2013 it saw “great interest” from its carrier partners. Many moons later, plus a massive “BlackBerry Z10 Inventory Charge” of $934 million, the one-time flagship has been demoted to entry-level status and shifted onto Prepaid shelves.

The latest deal to arrive for the Z10 is reminiscent of the BlackBerry PlayBook fire sale. TELUS and Future Shop are offering the Z10 on Prepaid with a big price cut to $200 no-contract and also includes a $40 activation credit. Almost seems to good to be true.

(Thanks Todd!)

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Chrome Remote Desktop app hits Android, coming to iOS later this year

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Google has unleashed its Chrome Remote Desktop app on (un)suspecting Android users today, allowing smartphone and tablet lovers to control those old hunks of metal and plastic called computers. For the few remaining Luddites using laptops or *gasp* desktops, Remote Desktop works with a Chrome extension and subsequent Host app on Windows or OS X to take control of registered computers for work, technical support, or a little fun.

Computers must register with a valid Google account and, for security purposes, enter a PIN for verification. Like other VNC or remote desktop applications, Chrome Remote Desktop lets you left-click and double-tap to your heart’s content, and we found performance to be excellent over both WiFi and LTE.

Google says it is working on an iOS version of the app that will debut later this year.

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OnePlus One will debut in Canada for $399 USD

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Looking forward to the endlessly-teased OnePlus One smartphone, set to be announced April 23rd? So are we.

The OnePlus One will sport a customized version of CyanogenMOD 11 with Android 4.4.2, which will likely get updated nearly as quickly as the latest Nexus devices. In fact, the OnePlus One is aiming its sights directly on Google’s own Nexus 5 by announcing that when it goes on sale at the end of the month it will have a $399 USD price tag.

The team of former Oppo engineers has been slowly teasing the One’s specs, with the only major tenet left being the design and materials. OnePlus was initially going to release the 5.5-inch 1080p phone with a Snapdragon 800 processor, but recently announced it would upgrade it to the 8974AC variant of the Snapdragon 801, which will inevitably improve performance and battery life. The 2.5Ghz SoC will also have 3GB of RAM to work with, as well as a 3,100mAh battery, a 13MP rear Sony Exmor RS camera sensor, voice wakeup abilities, global LTE and a premium 64GB model.

Users will be able to buy the OnePlus One from the company’s US site for under $400, according to the company’s latest announcement, though it remains to be seen whether shipping and duty charges will vault it above that desirable price point. Of course, with the current exchange rate of $0.91, the device will cost $440 CDN.

SourceOnePlus
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Google misses market expectations, $6.27 EPS on $15.4 billion

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Google released their Q1 2014 financial results today, and despite a healthy quarter, Google failed to meet high market expectations. Google posted a Q1 revenue of $15.4 billion verses analyst estimates of $15.54 billion, and a $6.27 adjusted EPS versus analyst estimates of $6.44. Google is currently down 4% in after-hours trading at the time of this posting.

Of course, Q1 also saw Google’s sale of Motorola and acquisition of Nest. Google said that its ‘Net Loss from Discontinued Operations’, which includes results related to the Motorola sale, was $198 million for the quarter (up $17 million from q1 2013). However, Google also stated that Motorola itself had a strong quarter, posting a revenue of $1.45 billion.

Fielding questions in an conference call following the financial results, Google CFO (and fellow Canadian) Patrick Pichette stated that Play Store revenue from apps and other media had been a key driver to Google’s growth. Google paid out 300% more revenue to developers in Q1 2014 compared to Q1 2013. Pichette also indicated that Chromecast has also been a real hit for the company, following its recent release in 11 more countries around the world.

SourceGoogle
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City of Waterloo commits to BES10 and BlackBerry

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The success of BlackBerry’s transition to an enterprise services company lies partially in its ability to convince organizations to adopt BES10 as their enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution of choice. To that end, BlackBerry has recently trotted out companies around the globe that have committed to BES10 as news releases in their own right, with the hope of creating a narrative of momentum. BlackBerry has done so again today, announcing three Canadian organizations that have now deployed BES10 and BB10 device to their workforce, including Canada’s oldest metal manufacturing company Samuel, Son & Co., and civil maintenance contractor Volker Stevin.

But it’s the third company in the announcement that’s the most interesting. Making good on its January commitment to BlackBerry, the City of Waterloo has not only deployed BlackBerry 10 but collaborated with BlackBerry on a mobile application to provide Waterloo citizens local information and real-time updates. City workers also now have access to BBM groups for emergency communications.

Waterloo is obviously more tech-savvy than most municipalities, with a much stronger connection to BlackBerry. But BlackBerry is also uniquely situated to provide municipalities around the globe with an integrated suite of hardware and software services that other EMM companies simply can’t offer. If they pursue the opportunity seriously, BlackBerry’s future releases could actually contain news of true momentum.

Source: Marketwired

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HTC debuts Duo Lens SDK to help developers make better camera apps for the M8

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On the same day Google released a standalone camera app for Android devices running KitKat and above, HTC has unveiled a preview SDK for its Duo Lens camera API.

The preview SDK contains an API called DualLens that allows third-party developers to create apps, or augment existing camera apps, with the additional data captured by the second lens, to create a DSLR-like “bokeh” effect.

DimensionPlus, another API, is a proprietary format that utilizes both cameras sensors’ data to create a 3D-like approximation of a scene, making it easy to use the phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to change the viewpoint of a photo.

We found DualLens, which is called UFocus in the HTC camera app, to be more useful on the HTC One M8 than the DimensionPlus results, but both can be augmented to create interesting effects, and we’re excited to see what developers come up with.

SourceHTC

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Standalone Google Camera app now available with new Lens Blur feature

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Rumours of a standalone Google camera app have proven true, as Google Camera is now available today in the Play Store for all Android devices running KitKat 4.4 or better.

Google Camera fixes the viewfinder crop issue that has plagued Nexus 5 users, in addition to adding a brand new interface and features. The most notable of which is “Lens Blur”, a shallow depth of field effect common with DSLRs that is difficult to replicate on a smartphone due its comparatively small lens and aperture. Google has attempted to solve the problem with a computer vision algorithm that simulates a larger lens and aperture by creating a 3D model of the shot. You can read more about Google’s work on the feature at the Google Research Blog.

Google Camera follows a trend of releasing standalone apps of core Android functionality into the Play Store (e.g. Google Now, Google Keyboard). What core Android functionality would you like to see as a standalone app next?

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Fleksy goes international, adds AZERTY, QWERTZ layouts and support for six new languages

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Fleksy is working very hard to out-key SwiftKey in the Android keyboard space. The company recently released its long-awaited 2.0 update, which brought a new Badge system that attempts to gamify high-speed virtual typing, while improving personalization and cloud synchronization.

Fleksy 2.1 adds support for QWERTZ and AZERTY keyboard layouts and support for languages like Swedish, Danish, Hungarian, Czech and Slovak.

The new version also adds 200 new emoji (so important!), a better Settings layout and a number of bug fixes. The full version costs $3.99 but there is a 30-day free trial for those who want to experiment.

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