Latest News

Shaw Communications invests in Rdio, creates strategic content partnership


Shaw Communications, owner of an extensive cable TV and internet network, has made a strategic investment in Rdio’s parent company, Pulser Media, in an attempt to bring more streaming music content to its subscribers.

Though the investment size has not been revealed, Shaw’s CEO, Brad Shaw said, “Rdio is the best available digital streaming music experience and a great complement to our leading broadband and Shaw Go WiFi services. Our partnership with Rdio will develop great offers that will enable Shaw customers and everyone across the country to enjoy this service.”

The partnership encompasses “marketing, content and promotion,” and will position Rdio within Shaw’s brands as the “leading digital music service in Canada.”

Canada is Rdio’s second-largest market, according to CEO Anthony Bay, and the venture will likely allow for placing local ads, facilitated by Shaw, in Rdio’s free streaming tier on mobile and web. Shaw recently deployed a high-speed WiFi network with 30,000 hotspots across British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and pockets of Saskatchewan and Ontario. Its subsidiary, Shaw Media, also owns Global Television and specialty channels like Food Network Canada and HGTV Canada.

Rdio is available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone and the web.


Google Play Premium Game Sale has top Android titles at 50% off

Shadowrun Returns

Google is doing some spring cleaning in its Play Store, offering no less than 20 of the top selling Android games for up to 50% their regular listing price. The Premium Games Sale contains a wide variety of titles, from casual games like Clash of Puppets to more serious gamer fare like Broken Sword or Shadowrun Returns (shown above).

The offer is only for a limited time, so dally at your own risk. The full lineup of 20 games are available at the source link below, but here is a full list of titles (more…)


Facebook says current priority for WhatsApp and Instagram is growth, not monetization


Speaking on a conference call yesterday following Facebook’s Q1 2014 earnings report, company CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg laid out a broad monetization plan for its mobile app portfolio. While 59% of Facebook’s $2.27 billion quarterly ad revenue comes from mobile, Zuck stated that the company is not expecting Instagram, Messenger, and Whatsapp to contribute in the near term.

“Our apps are at different stages of maturity,” Zuckerberg said. While Facebook’s mobile app, now at 1 billion monthly users, is mature enough to support an advertising platform, “for the next set of apps the current priority is growth.” That next set of apps includes Instagram, Messenger, both now at 200 million monthly uniques, and WhatsApp, which recently surpassed the 500 million mark. While Zuckerberg didn’t offer any specifics as to what level of maturity would be required for monetization, the 1 billion mark might be a useful yardstick. It might seem difficult to imagine a world where Facebook has multiple 1 billion user apps, but Zuckerberg stated on the call that WhatsApp “could be as ubiquitous as Facebook one day.”



Vic Gundotra, Google’s SVP of Engineering, decides to depart the company for ‘a new journey’


Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, has decided to depart the company.

The news was first announced today via Recode, but on Gundotra’s Google+ account he stated a very personal message that began with a death in the family and that “I have been incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing people of Google. I don’t believe there is a more talented and passionate collection of people anywhere else.”

Gundotra worked at Google for 8 years and was responsible for starting the annual Google I/O conference, but more importantly led the rush to put Google social with Google+. There is no word on where Gundotra is heading, or if he’ll be joining another company at all, only noting that “now is the time for a new journey. A continuation.”

Hugo Barra, previously Android’s VP, also recently departed Google to go work for the Xiaomi, which is considered to be the “Apple of China.”

Source: Googl+


Henry’s to begin selling camera-centric Bell smartphones, offer free Phoneography courses

Screenshot 2014-04-24 12.03.37

Henry’s, one of the few Canadian remaining retailers dedicated entirely to photography, has partnered with Bell to sell camera-centric smartphones. The collaboration is meant to raise the prominence of smartphone photography among camera enthusiasts, and encourage smartphone users to seek out Henry’s experts for advice.

The company will sell six devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, S5, Note 3, HTC One M8, and the upcoming Sony Xperia Z2, and because photography is emphasized, they have a handy chart detailing which devices offer the best performance.

Henry’s is taking advantage of the fact that smartphone photography has come a long, long way in the past few years. With devices like the Galaxy S5 sporting 16MP sensors, and the HTC One M8 taking advantage of two rear cameras, the retailer sees this push as the right move at the right time.



Facebook sashays into the fitness space with Moves acquisition

Photo 2014-04-24, 10 08 44 AM

Facebook is acquiring its way into the fitness space with a new acquisition announced this morning. Moves, an app for iOS and Android, has been used by thousands of people to track their activity, using background location services and GPS to create an automated outline of your day.

Moves is different from other phone-based activity trackers in that it attempts to add context — where you were, and what other things you were doing while walking, biking or running — and presents it in a feed.

Facebook will be acquiring the team, but will reportedly not be integrating their data for some time. Moves also has a pretty useful API that connects to apps like OptimizeMe, Lifesum, Momento, GridDiary and others.


theScore for Android adds Feed to consolidate news, scores and highlights


Popular sports news app, theScore, just received a big update on Android to answer its iOS version from last December.

Feed is integrated into MyScore, the section that places all your followed leagues, teams and players together. Feed goes further by, predictably, placing the most interesting news, scores and highlights in a relatively chronological order. Like a miniature social network within the app, the Feed is updated in real time, and works with theScore’s push notification system to ensure users don’t miss anything.

The Android app is still slightly behind its iOS counterpart in usability — some of the more fringe sports don’t receive the same attention, for example — but it’s nice to see one of the app’s best features hit Google’s platform, even if it did take five months to get here.


BlackBerry Classic set to launch in November


For the loyal BlackBerry users out there it looks like the BlackBerry Q20,otherwise known as the BlackBerry Classic, will see a release scheduled for November.

John Chen, BlackBerry’s CEO, stated in an interview with USA Today last week that “There’s a new product called the BlackBerry Classic that’s coming out. It’s an updated and enhanced version of one of our most popular and successful products called the Bold. It will include a keyboard and a good touch-screen, very fast Internet, Web-browsing capability and multimedia capability. But also it will be very productive and very secure. So, all the familiar things that people love, with some new technology updated. That will come out in November along with the server that helps companies manage devices.”

This device was announced late February and the specs will feature BES 12, “a generous 3.5-inch touchscreen,” with a “large battery” and is “crafted from premium materials and designed for reliability and durability.” In addition, the “Classic” and iconic design of this BlackBerry will bring back the navigation keys (menu, back, send, end) and a trackpad.

No word on price points or carrier partners.

Source: USA Today
Via: Berry Review


Samsung and Swarovski come together for the Galaxy S5 ‘Crystal Collection’

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.11.18 AM

This is just for looks and will not officially be coming to Canada. Samsung and Swarovski have teamed up to launch the “Crystal Collection” of the flagship Galaxy S5. From looking at the 13-second teaser video it seems the GS5 is generally the same and what is already available to the masses, but the back cover has been fully engulfed with Swarovski crystals. This flashy and encrusted gem will be available in Korea this coming May.



Google, Samsung and the fight for the microSD slot


It’s no accident that no Nexus devices since the Nexus One have included microSD cards. Google has been slowly chipping away at the usefulness (and viability) of using external storage within Android, both as a means to increase security, and a way to improve user experience.

With the two latest and great Android devices in the Galaxy S5 and One M8 including microSD slots — the former a given, the latter a surprise — we have come to a tipping point in the life of SD cards on the platform.

Today, most high-end Android devices come standard with either 32GB of internal storage standard, or offer secondary (and often prohibitively expensive) options for more internal storage. This is a good thing: recently Android versions, plus OEM and carrier pre-installs, often take up 5GB, reducing a user’s usable space out of the box from 16GB to around 11GB. Samsung was most famously guilty of this in last year’s GS4, and prompted a backlash from users complaining they weren’t getting what they paid for.

Leaving behind for a moment the reality that 16 million bits is not actually 16 gigaBYTES of space — and that hard drive manufacturers have been guilty of this deception for years — should Android’s microSD support die once and for all?