Every new flagship has a limited shelf life and it seems the gap between launch and obsolescence are shortening. This time around, according to an internal Bell doc, the Sony Xperia Z1 has been given its ‘End of Life’ status. (more…)
One of the best RSS services across the web got a boost on Android this week it began offering a beta program.
Newsblur, which rose to prominence after the death of Google Reader, has been steadily adding support for iOS and Android on top of its feature-filled web interface, and the backend continues to be one of the fastest around. While the iOS app is coded by the service’s creator, Samuel Clay, the Android version is developed by another team, and has fallen behind in terms of features. (more…)
With each passing bit of information Google releases ahead of its Ara Developers Conference next week, we get more and more excited by the possibilities of a modular smartphone. Yesterday, Google released a Module Developers Kit to provide manufacturers the necessary information to start building the modular parts that will comprise Project Ara’s ecosystem.
Ara MDK v0.10 is obviously in an unfinished state, but has been released ahead of the conference to solicit feedback. For now, the MDK comprises reference guidelines for all possible Ara phone sizes and module arrangements, as well as key specifications for common modules like cameras, and processors. Because Project Ara phones will run Android, little is mentioned about Ara apps, except that they won’t significantly differ from their traditional smartphone counterparts.
Those looking to attend the Ara Developers Conference should hurry, as registration ends today. Those that can’t wait should take a look at the extended Project Ara technology demo given during the LAUNCH conference, which contained additional information on the marketplace Google is hoping to build to help developers sell their modules.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is officially launching tomorrow and Bell has quickly put together a draw that might bring people into the store. We can’t foresee a lineup, but those Raptors fans out there you might want to waltz down the Toronto Eaton Centre Bell Store (upper level) at 10:00am for a chance to win Raptors tickets, including a playoff game at the ACC. Bell noted on Facebook that they’ll be handing out a total of 5 pairs of tickets.
Bell and Rogers partnered up late 2011 to take a 75% stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), who owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC sports teams. Majority of the involvement has surfaced in the form of branding their wireless products plus streaming content to mobile devices.
Rogers is pushing its exclusive Samsung Gear 2 Neo on upcoming Galaxy S5 customers by offering to bundle the smartwatch for $50 with purchases of the upcoming smartphone.
The deal is pretty easy: buy a Galaxy S5 on a 2-year Share Everything plan and be eligible to purchase a black Gear 2 Neo, usually $219.99, for $49.99.
The Gear 2 Neo is the same as the Gear 2, but lacks a camera. If that’s not a deterrent, the only other thing to note is that the offer ends on June 12th, or when supplies run out. And if you cancel the plan within 15 days, the smartwatch must be returned in good condition or your account will be charged for the full price (an extra $170). Got it? Good.
The Galaxy S5 is coming out tomorrow, and we’ll have our review up shortly.
(Thanks Howard, Dimitri!)
Deezer, the French-based streaming music service that launched in Canada last year, has expanded its mobile reach by allowing users on Android and iOS to listen to an unlimited amount of music for free. Echoing the ad-based listening model that debuted last year on the web, Deezer believes it can effectively turn these users into paid subscribers by adding value to their experience.
“A majority of our listening is happening on mobile,” Justin Erdman, Managing Director of Deezer Canada, tells me. “We’ve had a growth factor of four since June 2013,” he says, hinting at the paid base in this country is approaching a million users. (more…)
Canadians are finding new ways to find lower prices by “showrooming.” The official definition of showrooming “is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item.”
A new report by IDC Canada was released and surveyed a small number of Canadians — 582 smartphone users between March 17th and March 23rd — that states “smartphones are increasingly affecting the way Canadians shop.” This has been a trend over the past couple years and the specific stats revealed:
- 73% have called, texted or IM’ed someone to make sure they are buying the right thing.
- 66% have taken a picture of an item and sent it to someone.
- 61% have used their smartphone to find a store location or hours of operation.
- 54% have typed a shopping list into the smartphone and checked it.
- 46% have compared prices with another retailer while in a store.
- 35% have found information on an item instead of asking a store employee.
- 28% have scanned a QR code in a store.
IDC notes that people are downloading shopping apps to help them with their purchase decisions, but doesn’t mention the name of the apps. 69% of Canadian smartphone owners have downloaded at least one shopping app, with 34% having downloaded 3 or more shopping apps.
IDC’s Leslie Hand said “The mobile phone has become an essential component of the shopping experience. Collecting and sharing information to improve the efficiency and the ‘fun’ of shopping is just the tip of the iceberg. Consumers will soon be able to tailor their own level of interaction with retailers that accounts for what they are shopping for in context.”
From a Canadian carrier retail perspective, Rogers is leading the charge as they recently announced plans to jump deeper into the retail arena with the M2M Mobile Shopper program. This is an opt-in customer initiative that aims to ‘breathe new life into the Canadian retail experience’ by giving store owners/operators insight into buying habits, the ability to send mobile offers while shopping in-store, and the option to accept payments via their smartphone.
Shopping habits are certainly changing.
BlackBerry’s CEO says ‘we will be in the handset business, but it’s a matter of what level of integration’
The past several years has brought forward the occasional conversation of Waterloo-based BlackBerry splitting off its business into several parts. Investors pointed toward separate divisions that focused on network, device and patents. This topic somewhat faded away when BlackBerry took itself off the market and decided to continue down the restructuring path, but during an interview with Reuters, BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen says selling off the handset business could eventually be reality.
It’s all about the bringing value and servicing the enterprise customer. Chen noted, “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business… I am hoping that between now and next year we will make money in the handset business… If we really couldn’t find a way to make the handset profitable then maybe we’ll have somebody else build more handsets and I make less and less handsets… There has got to be a way to make handsets [profitable] because our operating system and our software technology are so strong… If I just license software technology I would do well. We will be in the handset business, but it’s a matter of what level of integration.”
BlackBerry recently signed a 5-year contract with Foxconn to assist in designing and manufacturing future handsets.
Chen added that he believes the “company is very undervalued,” but also declared that acquisitions are on their radar, specifically seeking companies specializing in security, productivity and communication.
For the immediate future, BlackBerry will launching three “high-end smartphones” within the next 18 months. One will be the BlackBerry Q20 and the other two are unknown (possibly the leaked Windermere). In addition, BlackBerry will restart production of the Bold 9900.
We don’t often post about mobile tips ands tricks, but sometimes the opportunity is too good to pass up. A former Apple Genius and iOS technician has compiled the results of years of research and anecdotal evidence after making it their “mission to discover the specific reasons for iOS battery drainage.”
The article goes beyond the standard “shut off all features” fare to provide a few new insights. For example, contrary to common wisdom, closing unused apps can do more harm to your iPhone’s battery life than good. Facebook is also noted as being very bad for battery life. You can see all eight recommendations below and at the source link:
Step 1: Disable Location and Background App Refresh for Facebook
Step 2: Disable Background App Refresh for Apps You Don’t Care About
Step 3: Stop Quitting Your Apps in Multitasking
Step 4: Disable Push Email Temporarily
Step 5: Disable Push Notifications for Apps That Annoy You
Step 6: Turn Off Battery Percentage
Step 7: Go to an Apple Retail Store
Step 8: Enable Airplane Mode in Areas of Poor Cellular Service
Facebook is forcing users to download its standalone Messenger app for iOS and Android if they want to continue chatting with a smartphone. The company, which recently purchased WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion, is trying to register higher adoption in North America, and is using any means at its disposal — including potentially pissing off a large contingent of its user base — to achieve it.
Like Dropbox, Facebook is intent on building an ecosystem of separate mobile apps destined for specific functions as it moves away from being “merely” a social network. Messenger has become a core tenet of its business, as the company sells stickers through its own store, and furthers the brand without inundating users with ads. (more…)