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SyrupCast Episode 6: Angel’s in the details

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In this week’s SyrupCast, we contemplate the future of wireless in Canada. And what is wireless exactly? Less and less of our content is taking up by what we’d refer to as “traditional” mobile products. Instead, we fill the proverbial pages of our days with wearables like Thalmic’s Myo gesture band, Oculus Rift’s new virtual reality headset, Samsung’s myriad smartwatches, and other gadgets that pair with our smartphones. (more…)

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The Globe And Mail begins taking Android seriously with new Samsung-partnered tablet app

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In what is indicative of the growing ennui pervading the new era of digital journalism, the press release for The Globe & Mail’s new Android tablet app spends more time talking about the large-size, high-resolution advertisements than the news content itself.

“The Globe and Mail Android Edition provides a high-impact option for advertisers to showcase their brand on Canada’s most authoritative source for news, commentary and analysis, with all ads being larger than standard IAB sizes, resulting in a very ad-friendly, visual design. This allows advertisers to promote their products to Globe readers on a higher quality, higher resolution, mobile platform,” reveals the release.

But the app’s place in the company’s strategy is both curious and exciting, especially as Android gains importance — and market share — across Canada. While The Globe currently offers an Android smartphone app, it has languished, both in design and features, behind its iPhone counterpart, and does not appear to be in active development. (more…)

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LG G3 now available in Canada

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LG’s latest flagship smartphone has landed in Canada.

The LG G3 5.5-inch Android has one of the best displays on the market today — Quad HD, 2560 x 1440 resolution. Running 4.4.2 KitKat, the LTE-enabled G3 sports a metallic finish with 13MP camera with OIS+, 2.1MP front-facing camera, a 2.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM and redesigned rear buttons that were originally found in the G2.

The G3 will be available at Rogers, Bell, MTS, SaskTel and Videotron. So far Rogers and Videotron have revealed pricing of $600 outright, while Bell asks for $700. The 2-year contract prices sit between $179 and $199. (more…)

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The Source to open kiosk at Toronto Pearson International Airport this fall

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Bell-owned The Source is setting up shop within Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. The retailer, which has 650 locations across Canada, will open a kiosk in Terminal 1, US Departures, this fall and feature “a brand new interactive experience” that houses “interactive technology, and tech stations designed for customers to easily sample the latest technology.”

The Source’s aim is to appeal to travellers’ needs and give them “access to the latest in consumer electronics,” such as headphones, streaming audio and accessories from Apple, Beats, Samsung, Sony, and others. No indication if customers will be able to sign up for Bell or Virgin wireless contract.

Bell acquired The Source retails locations back in March of 2009. At the time there were 765 locations across Canada.

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Videotron will launch its LTE network ‘in the next few weeks’, claims over 550,000 customers

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Videotron will launch its LTE network “in the next few weeks” across Quebec, according to CEO Manon Brouillette. The company dished the news during its Q2 earnings call today, noting that it is in a good position to continue offering competitive province-wide wireless services.

The company noted revenues of $66.8 million from its wireless division, and netted 29,700 new customers for a total of 551,300.

While the subsidiary, which is owned by one of Quebec’s largest media companies, Quebecor, won’t comment on when it aims to launch a national wireless network, it noted that the launch of the iPhone had a positive impact on the company’s wireless revenue. Brouillette noted that iPhone users accounted for 22% of total activations, and their average ARPU amounted to $68, far higher than the company average. Considering Videotron only began selling the iPhone in late March, it shows there was pent-up demand for the products. (more…)

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Nexus 7 out of stock on Play Store ahead of possible tablet refresh

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While popular, at 12 months old the Nexus 7 tablet is looking a little long in the tooth. Which is why it’s interesting to see that the Google Play store currently has the device listed as “out of stock” for both the 16GB and 32GB variants. At this stage in a device’s lifecycle, such a sign usually indicates preparation for a replacement, of which the HTC-made Nexus 8 is certainly rumoured to be. While Google I/O brought nothing in the way of an official announcement from either company, the Nexus 8 is still expected to drop by September, and could be coming sooner than later.

For Nexus fans keeping score at home, that’s a Nexus 8 rumoured to replace the Nexus 7, an HTC-made Nexus 9 rumoured to replace the Nexus 10, and a 5.9 inch Motorola-made device rumoured to replace the Nexus 5 — which we’ll round up and call it the Nexus 6.

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Eastlink signs ‘unique network partner’ to expand wireless coverage

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Easlink launched its wireless service in early 2013, and the carrier has slowly been building out its Maritime LTE network. Now, thanks to a “unique network partner approach to supplement its own network coverage,” Eastlink customers will now be able to use their mobile devices without worry throughout the entire East coast.

Eastlink and Rogers formed a roaming agreement when its services officially launched, but this “unique network partner” looks to be more representative of Bell or TELUS’ coverage in the area. Matthew MacLellan, President of Eastlink Wireless, said, “We continue to work to bring our customers the best possible overall wireless experience, including easy-to-understand and flexible plans, great value for money, and excellent customer service – all from the local provider you know and trust.” (more…)

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

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The CRTC has found Rogers engaged in 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.

(more…)

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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.

(more…)

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