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HTC One M8 review

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There’s a popular idiom reinforced in schools every year to millions of students: two heads are better than one. The thinking goes, one person is an island, and smart as he may be, there’s always another way to look at a problem. With the second HTC One, the M8, the Taiwanese manufacturer worked closely with chip designer Qualcomm to create a device with two cameras that work together to seamlessly solve one problem: depth.

While there’s no question that the all-metal One M8 is beautiful, fast and well-made, some of HTC’s decisions, including that dual-camera array, provoke more questions than they answer. That there is so much to like about the phone makes its failings even more frustrating — and disappointing. This is the year HTC needs to make its comeback, and with the One M8 as its vehicle, can the once-leader of the Android market regain its footing?

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CyanogenMOD reveals its new logo and mission statement

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Customization. Security. Open Source.

These are the three tenets of CyanogenMOD’s new logo and mission statement, revealed this week. The company has gone legit, emerging from its two funding rounds as a de facto Android development house, creating custom ROMs for OEMs like Oppo and OnePlus.

The new logo, which features a broken hexagon unfurled into a “C” and arrow, inside which another smaller hexagon sits, represents those three tenets. (more…)

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Apple acquires Novauris to improve Siri speech recognition

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Just a day after Microsoft unveiled its Cortana digital assistant as part of a major Windows Phone update, Apple has confirmed its acquisition of speech recognition technology company Novauris. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, it’s clear the company was brought in to work on Siri.

After an initial splash and some savvy commercials, Siri has yet to live up to its promise, with some reports suggesting that 4 out of 5 iPhone owners haven’t used Siri in iOS 7. Novauris’ founders have a long history in voice recognition, and were developing large-vocabulary, automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology for access to information stored locally on mobile devices or remotely on servers prior to being acquired. Novauris’ onwership of the core technology, as well as its familiarity with both the embedded and server side of voice recognition, could be a huge boon for Apple. Siri is currently powered by Nuance, a technology Apple has unsuccessfully attempted to acquire in the past, and the company might be looking to bring as much of Siri’s core technology in-house to spur innovation and further differentiate from competitors.

We asked Siri for comment on her future plans, but she declined to comment.

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Shopify launches mobile card reader for Canadian retailers

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Despite being an Ottawa-based company, Shopify has tended to try new things south of the border first before bringing them back home. Such is the case with the company’s mobile card reader that turns an iPhone into a point-of-sale (PoS) solution — a device that is also given away for free to clients who want to accept payments virtually anywhere.

Shopify showed off the reader and its various other offerings for retailers at an event in Toronto this week, presenting what it thinks is a complete PoS system that gives Canada’s mom-and-pop shops the tools to work as if a much larger company.

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Koodo Mobile drops price of the Nexus 5 to $400

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The most cost effective way to score a Nexus 5 is via Google Play. However, for those who want to purchase through the carriers you might want to consider heading over to Koodo Mobile. What was once a high $500 has been reduced by a $100 to $400 retail.

Koodo currently stocks the 16GB version and the colour is only available in black. As for specs, a refresher of the Nexus 5 has this pure Android (OS 4.4 KitKat) sporting a 5-inch display, 8MP camera with a 1.3 front facing camera, 2GB RAM and a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor.

Check out our review here.

Source: Koodo
(Thanks Yaov!)

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Industry Canada outlines its digital strategy, reaffirms commitment to reduce domestic roaming costs

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Industry Minister James Moore travelled to OpenText’s headquarters in Waterloo today for the announcement of Digital Canada 150, a strategy for Canada’s strong digital future to honour the country’s 150th anniversary.

Forward-thinking in its approach, Moore outlined the five “key pillars” for a thriving digital Canada: connecting Canadians; protecting Canadians; economic opportunities; digital government; and Canadian content. For wireless consumers, many of the same assertions were made that we’ve heard by the Government in previous months: a commitment to lowering domestic roaming costs for companies like WIND Mobile and Videotron; and the implementation of a “use it or lose it” policy for companies who buy spectrum to sit on it until a better deal comes around.

For wireless customers, Digital 150 is more a summary of previous announcements than the introduction of new policy. Industry Canada is set to implement changes to the policy on cellphone tower installations, taking feedback from land owners and community members. And the Spectrum License Transfer Framework Policy will continue to prevent “undue concentration” of spectrum by the Big Three, the same policy that continues to prevent TELUS from purchasing Mobilicity. (more…)

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TomTom brings its two new sports watches to Canada

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TomTom, a company once synonymous with mapping and in-car GPS units, is making a play for the Canadian athlete training market with two new sports watches: the TomTom Runner Cardio GPS and TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio GPS.

Fashioned as weather-hardy sports “gear” more than a smartwatch with added sports features, the two devices feature heart rate sensors and a bevy of training modes that appeal more to the hardcore trainers. The screen is covered with thick, scratch-resistant plastic, and movement through the relatively straightforward menu system relies on a clicky directional pad underneath. While the addition of a touchscreen would have been useful, Jocelyn Vigreux, President of TomTom, told me that the decision was made to ensure functionality with sweaty fingers or in inclement weather. (more…)

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Microsoft Office for iPad hits 12M App Store downloads in a week

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Well, that was fast. Just one week after launching its Office suite of apps for the iPad, Microsoft announced via a tweet yesterday that they have already surpassed 12 million downloads. This number also includes legacy OneNote downloads, and Microsoft didn’t provide numbers on each app’s contribution to the overall total, but the achievement is still very impressive.

Office for iPad is notable in that Microsoft completely rebuilt the apps from the ground up for the iPad rather than porting from Windows. Each app also contains iPad-specific features, as well as cross-platform file fidelity. Taking advantage of these features requires a $99/year Office 365 subscription, however, as only reading and presentation support are offered in the free version.

Have you downloaded Office for iPad? Are you willing to purchase an Office 365 subscription to take full advantage of the app suite? What do you think of the iPad specific features?

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Google Opinion Rewards for Android now available to Canadians

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If you’re into giving feedback, this is right up your alley. Google Opinion Rewards for Android is now available for Canadians, giving the chance to offer up a bit of your intelligence via surveys in exchange for some Google Play credits.

Those interested in participating must have an Android device running OS 2.3.3 or higher and Google will “send you surveys around once a week, although it may be more or less frequent. You’ll get a notification on your phone when a short and relevant survey is ready for you, and can receive up to $1.00 USD (or local equivalent) in Play credits for completing it. Questions can range from, ‘Which logo is best?’ and ‘Which promotion is most compelling?’ to ‘When do you plan on traveling next?’”

Pretty simple and might be worth it.

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