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Apple ushers in new Beats era, funnels accessory purchases to its online store

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Apple has wasted no time welcoming — and purportedly minimizing — Beats into its retail empire. The company has posted a short welcome note on its website, saying, “Today we are excited to officially welcome Beats Music and Beats Electronics to the Apple family. Music has always held a special place in our hearts, and we’re thrilled to join forces with a group of people who love it as much as we do. Beats cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have created beautiful products that have helped millions of people deepen their connection to music. We’re delighted to be working with the team to elevate that experience even further. And we can’t wait to hear what’s next.” (more…)


Google Workshop expected to offer customized cases and wallpapers for your Nexus

Google Workshop Nexus customization

Nuvago, née Gelaskins, is a popular Toronto-based company that has managed to equate itself well in a market saturated by phone accessories. The company offers the ability to stamp images of your choosing onto smartphone or tablet cases, producing some impressive or hilarious results, depending on your personal taste. Nuvago might be getting some serious competition.

According to Android Police, Google is currently in an ‘exploratory phase’ with a new services called Workshop, which would expand the Google Play store beyond case sales into the customization of the cases themselves, as well as live wallpapers. Similar in presentation to Motorola’s MotoMaker, Workshop is still under development, and currently only works with the Nexus 5, although additional device support can be expected.



Google Now Launcher expands to all devices running Android 4.1 and above


Android users can finally download and install the excellent Google Now Launcher that debuted on the Nexus 5 last November.

The company updated the app today allowing anyone with an Android 4.1 device and above to install the launcher. It was previously only available on Nexus devices, but users who sideloaded the APK found that it worked on most Jelly Bean devices.

The launcher features oversized icons, smooth performance, an always-present “OK Google” search bar and easy one-swipe access to Google Now.


Verizon just leaked the Windows Phone version of HTC’s One M8


HTC will be releasing its One M8 as a Windows Phone. While the proof of such a device couldn’t be assured until today, we knew with near certainty that HTC’s August 19th event would be to unveil the product.

Now, a photo from Verizon’s own servers lends even more credence to the One M8 for Windows, its rumoured production name. The device looks identical to the Android version, but its home screen features Windows Phone 8.1 and its new on-screen buttons. Microsoft recently made changes to Windows Phone’s framework to support virtual navigation buttons on higher-resolution devices so Android manufacturers could port their existing products over to Windows Phone without making changes to the chassis. (more…)


TELUS to release Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+ smartphone and Pop 8 tablet this month


TELUS is set to release the Alcatel OneTouchIdol X+ this August along with the Pop 8, an entry-level 8-inch tablet.

The company announced plans to release its first AOT smartphone this week, as the Chinese OEM attempts to make further inroads into the Canadian market with premium-looking devices at costs that significantly undercut similar choices from Samsung, LG and others.

The Idol X+ is the successor to the Idol X, which Bell released (and we reviewed) earlier this year. It isn’t a huge upgrade — the battery is slightly larger at 2,500mAh and the CPU has been updated to a faster, slightly less outdated Cortex-A7 chip — but it’s worthy of consideration for the price. (more…)


SyrupCast Episode 6: Angel’s in the details

syrupcast644 - episode 6

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…)


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


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…)


LG G3 now available in Canada


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 $149 and $199.