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Nest Learning Thermostat now available on Google Play for $249

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Google’s purchase of Nest has quickly borne fruit, at least in the distribution department, as the company made the Nest Learning Thermostat available to purchase for $249 CDN on the Play Store.

Google spent $3.2 billion to purchase Nest earlier this year, and though the collaboration has yet to spawn any new products, its newfound distribution channel allows the search giant to advertise the product while users search for smartphones, tablets and apps.

Nest is a digital thermostat that works with your home’s existing infrastructure to optimize heat and air conditioning output, and connects to WiFi for remote administration using an iPhone or Android device.

The updated version of the Nest, which the company began selling last year, features a 320×320 pixel touch panel, dual-channel WiFi and a two-year warranty.

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WhatsApp crosses the 500 million active user mark

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On a personal note, Brian and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a small team of people who, in just under five years, built a communication service that now supports over 450 million monthly active users worldwide and over 320 million daily active users.”

Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s co-founder, wrote those words on the day Facebook announced it was buying the messaging startup for an astounding $19 billion. (more…)

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LG G Watch to come in Stealth Black and Champagne Gold

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LG is entering the smartwatch game and partnering up with Google to be the first manufacturer to launch a device running on the new Android Wear platform.

LG has given a few more details on the design, specifically that it will come in both Stealth Black and Champagne Gold. Similar to other Android devices, the G Watch will be “always-on” and “never sleeps” so users will have quick access to “useful information when you need it most.” Google previously noted that devices running Android Wear will feature voice commands with the familiar “OK Google” phrase.

Specs of the LG G Watch include a 1.85-inch display, water and dust resistance and 4GB of internal memory. The LG G Watch should be available this coming Summer and rumours point towards a July launch for under $300. (more…)

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LG G3 home screen leak hints at Concierge service, attractive flat design overhaul

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LG is on the verge of releasing its follow-up to the G2, as that device has reached its End of Life status on Bell. Recent leaks point to a 5.5-inch 2560×1440 pixel resolution display, along with a brand new Android skin that looks much more approachable than last year’s blocky, utilitarian design on the G2.

Digital Trends reportedly received screenshots of the new Android 4.4-based interface, which looks flat and colourful, eschewing the virtual menu button in favour of a more recognizable Android navigation scheme.

There’s also a new widget, which DT calls a “concierge,” purporting to offer context-aware advice about weather and other relevant information. It’s unclear whether this service will be powered by Maluuba like the G2′s Voice Mate service.

Unfortunately, while LG seems to be taking advice on the design front, it doesn’t look to be improving usability: QSlide appears to be taking up just as much room in the notification shade as before, and we’d be willing to bet they’re not removable.

The LG G3 is expected to launch in the coming months, as its predecessor was announced in August of last year.

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TELUS installing charging stations in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver taxis

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Posting late night selfies or pictures of your food to Instagram can be ruined when your battery dies. TELUS could possibly safe your life as they’ve announced plans to install charging stations within select Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver taxis.

TELUS partnered up with Play Taxi Media and unveiled the “first-ever fleet of taxis in Canada featuring cell phone and tablet chargers.” The chargers will be located on the backside of the passenger seat headrest and will be free to use. As for the availability, the rollout will start sometime “over the coming months” in 1,000 taxis.

The device chargers will “be available through 2015″ with Blacktop & Checker Cabs in Vancouver, Mayfair Taxi in Calgary, Ambassador Taxis in Toronto and Taxi Union in Montreal. TELUS notes that the program will eventually grow to include more taxi companies. (more…)

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Tab for iPhone takes the Hailo approach to dining out, launches in Toronto

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As we’ve covered more than a few times recently, the mobile payment space is permeable, with startups, loyalty companies, carriers and banks all jostling for users’ attention.

There has yet to be a single app or service that completely does away with the notion of a physical wallet, but Tab, launching today in its home city of Toronto, intends to fill that checkbox for some people, some of the time. And that, in my opinion, is a great place to start.

(more…)

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Apple releases iOS 7.1.1 with Touch ID recognition improvements and bug fixes

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Apple released iOS 7.1.1 today, iterating on the 7.1 release from late March.

While iOS 7.1 was more about ironing out the design and performance issues from the initial release, its successor aims at fixing specific issues outstanding from that expansive update.

According to Apple’s change log, there are “Further improvements to Touch ID fingerprint recognition,” along with a bug fix for a keyboard responsiveness issue.

Other bug fixes and performance improvements are also expected in this release.

To update, head to Settings/General/Software Update on your iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, iPad 2 or later and iPod touch 5th gen.

SourceApple
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Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra KitKat update now available to download

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Quick update for Sony Xperia Z1 or Xperia Z Ultra owners out there. TELUS, Rogers and Bell users are reporting that OS 4.4.2 KitKat has finally arrived on your device. Build number is 14.3.A.0.757 and can now be downloaded. Check your Xperia – Touch Applications >> Settings >> About Phone >> Software update.

(Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)

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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet now up for pre-order, available in Canada on May 5th

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Sony unveiled the Xperia Z2 Tablet back in February and declined to comment on when it’ll arrive on Canadian soil. But it is coming to Canada, and it will be available in-store and online on May 5th, with pre-orders now open. The 16GB version looks to be selling for $529.99 and the 32GB model is a bit higher at $599.99, available in black or white.

As for specs, the Xperia Z2 Tablet run OS 4.4 KitKat and has a 10.1-inch 1920×1200 pixel display with a new image processor called Live Colour LED. Under the hood is a 2.3Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, an 8MP rear camera with an Exmor RS sensor, waterproof and dust resistant (IP55 & IP58), a 6000mAh battery, it weighs in at 426 grams and is one of the world’s thinnest tablets at 6.4mm.

Source: Sony

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BlackBerry once again named Canada’s top tech company, followed by the Big Three

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The Branham Group have released their annual report on Canada’s Top Tech Companies. Now in its 21st year, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) report showcases the top companies in various categories by annual revenue.

According to their findings, the cumulative revenues of the top 250 tech companies accounted for $85 billion in 2013, up 2.4% over last year. Taking top spot once again was BlackBerry, but the results significantly slipped in revenues by a whopping 40% to $11.8 billion. BlackBerry has held onto first place for the past five years. Depending on BlackBerry’s earnings, Branham notes there might be a “very dramatic effect on next years listing… and perhaps may lead to a change in the top spot.” (more…)

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