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CRTC accuses Rogers of ‘unjust discrimination’ against new entrants in domestic roaming, bans future exclusivity agreements

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The CRTC has accused Rogers of what it is calling “unjust discrimination” and “undue preference” towards new entrants in respect to roaming agreements.

Canada’s enforcer of telecommunication rules came down hard against the country’s largest carrier, banning it or any other carrier from adding exclusivity clauses into domestic roaming agreements. The report comes after an announcement in December that the CRTC would review the practice of domestic roaming agreements, which allow smaller carriers like Wind, Mobilicity, Videotron and others, to offer cellular service in areas it owns no equipment. In March, the Commission recommended a change to the Telecommunications Act whereby telcos would be barred from charging other carriers more than they charge their own customers for various wireless services.

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Tête-à-Tête: Are mid-range phablets killing the tablet?

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Welcome to Tête-à-Tête, a series where two of our writers converse on interesting topics in the mobile landscape — through chat. Think of it as a podcast for readers.

This week, Douglas and Daniel ponder whether the rise of mid-range phablets in the 5.3″ to 6.3″ range are killing tablet sales, or whether people are tired of carrying around too many devices. (more…)

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PlayStation Now open beta launches in Canada, PlayStation 4 only (for now)

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After a few self-conflicting reports on its potential availability, Sony has confirmed via its PlayStation Blog that the PlayStation Now video game streaming service has launched today in Canada and the U.S. as a public beta. The public beta contains over 100 PlayStation 3 titles available for rental with prices varying by time-period: 4-hour ($2.99), 7-day ($5.99), 30-day ($7.99) and 90-day ($14.99). Sony is also considering a subscription model.

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Samsung confirms plans to release a high-end smartphone with ‘new materials’

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Samsung is the world’s biggest phone manufacturer, and Kim Hyun-joon, SVP at Samsung’s Mobile Communications division, has gone on record to say two new high-end smartphones will launch within the next six months.

According to Bloomberg, Samsung aims to release a device with “a large screen,” while the other will sport some sort of “new materials.” In addition to hitting the high-end customer, Samsung will also target the mid- to low-end market by selling devices with “enhanced specifications.”

These details are not too shocking, since the Galaxy Note 4 is expected to have a 5.7-inch display that extends to the sides so users can read messages from every angle. The “new materials” could be the 4.8-inch metal encased Galaxy Alpha that recently leaked online.

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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2S debuts on Bell to replace aging Idol X

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Bell was the first Canadian carrier to see the disruptive potential of Alcatel OneTouch, the Chinese OEM that purports to offer high-quality products at prices both affordable to carriers and, in turn, consumers.

The Idol X, an admitted experiment, along with the Idol Mini and Pop 7 tablet, for Bell to gauge demand for mid-range products that mimic the look and feel of ones hundreds of dollars more, turned about to be a successful gambit. We loved the bright screen and high-end finish, but felt the MediaTek processor was underpowered and negatively affected performance. (more…)

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BBM for Windows Phone now available to download

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Attention, Windows Phone users. BlackBerry has announced that after a short one-week beta, BBM will be available today from the Windows Phone Store. The overall experience is the same as iOS and Android, but the team has focused on creating a native design on Microsoft’s mobile platform.

BBM for Windows Phone focuses on 3 different screens, Chats, Feeds and Contacts, and allows for instant chats, group chats, picture sharing and voice notes. A future update to BBM for Windows Phone will bring stickers, BBM Voice, BBM Channels and location sharing by Glympse. (more…)

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Nokia Lumia 635 now available at Rogers and Fido, coming to TELUS in August

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Nokia recently announced on Twitter that new Lumia devices will soon be coming to Canada. The Microsoft-owned manufacturer previously hinted on its website that the Lumia 635, a refresh of the Lumia 625, would arrive on both Rogers and TELUS. It now seems the coming soon date is actually here.

Both Rogers and sub-brand Fido have added the entry-level Lumia 635 to its lineup. The no-term price at at both carriers is $200, or $0 with 2-year contract.

As for specs, the LTE-enabled Lumia 635 runs Windows Phone 8.1, has a 4.5-inch display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, a 5MP camera that shoots 720p HD videos, 512MB RAM, and an 1830mAh non-removable battery.

Update: The Nokia Lumia 635 will arrive at TELUS sometime in August.

Source: Fido, Rogers

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Samsung postpones Tizen-powered Samsung Z launch indefinitely

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Samsung’s Tizen woes continue. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company has placed the Tizen OS-powered Samsung Z smartphone on indefinite hold. The Samsung Z was only officially announced one month ago, and was expected to go on sale in Russia later this year.

Samsung has stated that the reason for the delay was to “further enhance [the] Tizen ecosystem,” which points to the uncertain timeline for actual release. The open source, Linux-based OS has seen no end of setbacks and delays this year, with both NTT DoCoMo and Orange pulling support. While Samsung has been able to successfully release a handful of Tizen smartwatches, it also hasn’t won them any favours with Google.

It’s hard to see how Samsung hopes to enhance the Tizen ecosystem any time soon. Platforms require apps and services to attract customers, but developers require device penetration and marketshare before they’re willing to commit. If Samsung can’t find a way to build Tizen momentum soon, the platform could be the next thing the company has to postpone indefinitely.

SourceWSJ
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HTC hosting a Windows Phone-centric event on August 19th, likely the ‘W8 for Windows’

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HTC is set to unveil a new device on August 19th in New York City, and it’s like the recently-leaked One (W8) for Windows, a version of its popular Android flagship running Windows Phone 8.1.

The last time HTC held a Windows Phone event in New York, it was the Windows Phone 8X and 8S, which proved to be two of the updated platform’s launch devices. Now that Windows Phone has reached a maturity point, both with core OS features and apps, HTC is ready to try its hand again.

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