After a brief delay, PC Mobile has officially launched their “entry into the post-paid wireless market with simple and better voice and data monthly packages designed as an alternative to the national carriers.” As reported last week, PC Mobile’s offer to Canadians is to prevent the dreaded “bill shock” and give potential customers desired handsets, low-cost plans and “no activation fees or cancellation charges.” The CRTC will love that statement.
In the battle for retail dominance, Samsung understands it is at a huge disadvantage next to Apple’s well-oiled customer service machine. With 27 stores across Canada, the Cupertino-based giant offers walk-in “Genius” service to anyone, and repairs thousands of iPhones a year under warranty.
With Samsung’s rise to smartphone stardom in the last three years, the Korean company understood it needed to expand its physical presence in countries like Canada to avoid relying entirely on its carrier partners. Today, Samsung has opened its first Ontario-based walk-in customer service centre, located at the Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga.
Samsung Canada’s Director of Service, Frank Martino said, “Our Canadian consumers are telling us they want a direct relationship with the manufacturers creating the devices they can’t live without. Our walk-in service centres are an extension of our commitment to customer service excellence.”
The location will offer one-hour repair service and warranty support for all Samsung products, including phones and tablets. The one-hour repair is done at no extra charge, too, which is quite impressive.
Samsung also offers walk-in service centres in Montreal and Vancouver, as well as a retail location in Burnaby, B.C. The company wouldn’t say whether it will be opening a retail store in Ontario, but based on the way Samsung’s profile in Canada is headed, we wouldn’t be surprised to see one in the next couple of years.
The pay-what-you-want Humble Bundle collection has launched its sixth Android iteration today, with six cross-platform games that work on Windows, OS X, Linux and, of course, Android phones and tablets.
The fare this time doesn’t include familiar fare, but the quality remains universally high. Five games, including Aquaria, Fractal, Frozen Synapse, Stealth Bastard and Pulse are making their Android debuts, and if you spend higher than the average you’ll get Frozen Synapse and Broken Sword as well, bringing your total to seven games.
Particularly noteworthy are Aquaria, which looks like a really fun puzzle-action game, and Fractal, which is an intriguing puzzler that should fill up many hours.
As always, the games are DRM-free and redeemable on Steam (the Windows/OS X versions, anyway) and the offer comes with soundtracks for all seven games.
Via: Humble Bundle
Facebook has updated its iOS app today, adding a feature, status update emoticons, that was recently added to its web interface.
This allows users to “emote” with a number of icons based on category. There are seven: Feeling, Watching, Reading, Listening to, Drinking, Eating and Playing, each with little icons or photos representing specific Facebook groups. So, if you’re too lazy to type “Watching Walking Dead,” you can now just find the show in a list and post it.
Facebook has also added new granular sharing settings, making it easier to specify who sees a status update.
Download Facebook for iOS.
Last week we let you know that TELUS and Rogers would both be making the iPad with Retina display and iPad mini “in the coming weeks.” No dates were listed on either of the carrier sites, but we can now confirm that these tablets will be hitting Rogers stores on June 26th, presumably the same date on TELUS.
According to an internal doc we received it reveals the same pricing as visiting the Apple Store or Apple’s online store, but this move will help the carriers activate in-store rather than sending customers to another retailer. Rogers does note that customers who activate on their LTE network “enjoy the freedom of online connectivity when and where you choose, added security, and the fastest wireless internet speeds in Canada.”
16GB iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular will be available in black or white for $459, plus Rogers can order you the 32GB or 64GB in white and black for $559, $659 respectively. For the iPad with Retina display with Wi-Fi + Cellular, this will come in the 16GB or 32GB models, again white and black, for $629 and $729 outright. In addition, the 64GB and 128GB can be ordered for $829 and $929.
We’ll have more info soon!
We loved what we saw when Sony unveiled the waterproof Xperia Z earlier at CES earlier this year, but the company had different plans in store for the Canadian market. The Xperia ZL was the same phone on the inside but lacked the polished and more attractive glass body and ingress protection.
With the announcement that T-Mobile will be getting the more svelte Xperia Z as an exclusive later this summer, it became apparent that this would be a great addition to WIND’s lineup. The Canadian carrier, which runs on the same AWS 3G network as T-Mobile, only sells the Xperia ion from last year, but its rival Mobilcility and Quebec-based Videotron do, most recently with the Xperia ZL, so it would seem natural for WIND to snatch up the other model as a differentiator.
We’ve heard inklings over the past few months that another Canadian carrier, maybe Bell, would launch the Xperia Z. While it would make more sense for WIND, who doesn’t have any exposure to Sony hardware, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Xperia Z show up in one form or another in our face country.
To review, the Xperia Z comes with a 5-inch 1080p screen, a 1.5Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, a 13MP Exmor RS camera and Android 4.1.2.
HTC announced a phone today that wouldn’t seem out of place in 2009. With a 3.5-inch 480×320 pixel display, a first-generation single-core 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB of internal storage and the woefully aging Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, the Desire 200 is likely never going to appeal to the average user.
While the device is never likely to be sold in North America, its existence goes to show that the commoditization of smartphones is pushing down development, production and distribution costs, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Desire 200 sold for less than $80 in many parts of the world. Only Nokia, with its entry-level Asha and Windows Phone 8 devices, has been taking advantage of this space.
The Desire 200 does boast a few interesting features, including Beats Audio and a built-in Data Manager app to ensure users keep to within their bandwidth limits.
Blekko is a search engine that has been around since late 2010 and purports to offer a viable alternative to Google’s often advertising-heavy and arguably content-farmed results.
The company is diversifying its mobile portfolio today with Izik, which was previously only available for iPad, launching new apps for Android phones and tablets, as well as the iPhone.
The app is clean, focusing on dividing results into categories. When you search for something, say “iOS 7,” the results are divided into horizontally-scrollable tables. Not only is the format mobile-friendly but it cuts down on wasted content, as only the best results float to the top.
There’s also a “What’s Nearby” feature that draws down results like Bars, Restaurants, Shops, Movies and Gas Stations, arrayed on a Google Map with appropriate touch points. It may not unseat Google, especially on Android 4.1+, as the go-to search app, but it’s a great choice for iPhone users looking for something different.
Over the past few weeks, I have been testing a product that has changed my life. I first saw the Fitbit Flex at CES, but struggled to get a good view thanks to a teeming crowd looking for a chance to try the fitness and wellness tracker.
Fitbit is a US-based company that has gained prominence in recent years for releasing inexpensive, easy-to-use wearable technology — until now, clips and small baubles — that connect to an iOS or Android device to ascertain whether you’re walking, eating and sleeping properly.
The new Fitbit Flex band is similar to its high-end One clip, but wraps around the wrist for a much more solid fit. It connects wirelessly to a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled device like the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 4S/5, and tracks your steps and how well you’re sleeping (review coming soon).
After a very successful crowd-funding campaign on Indigogo, specifically raising 874% above their original goal, Toronto-based Whirlscape will officially release a beta version of their simplified keyboard called ‘Minuum.’ This Android beta is reserved for those who backed the project a couple months ago, but they do note that “iOS developers and everyone looking forward to our wearable development kit can expect access to our software later in 2013.”
In an email to the 10,000 supporters yesterday, Whirlscape stated “you will be invited to a Google Group for Minuum beta users. Once you join the group, you’ll be able to download the Minuum beta for Android through the Google Play Store. Only members of our Google Group for Minuum beta users will be able to download the beta trough the Play Store.”
Pretty exciting stuff for the Canadian company. Let us know when you’ve received the download link and how you’re liking Minuum.