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RIM backs BlackBerry PlayBook battery life… still being optimized


The other day a quote from Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. sent RIM’s unreleased and anticipated PlayBook tablet rumours in high gear. Wu basically said the battery life of the PlayBook is poor and RIM pushed back the launch until May. The reason for the poor battery life was blamed on the QNX OS because it “wasn’t originally designed for mobile environments but rather for devices like network equipment and automobiles where battery life isn’t as much a constraint.”

Waterloo-based RIM has come to the table to set things straight. In a statement RIM says “Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook’s battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery life.”

Source: Yahoo!

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Mobilicity “Unbelievable Holiday Offer” gets extended until January 16th, 2011


You’ve got to hand it to Mobilicity. Not only leading up to the holiday season did they launch in Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver but they released a slew of new handsets (Nexus One, Spice, Xperia X10, Curve 3G, Mobiflip, Wink) and found several distribution partners. Certainly a busy month and a half.

To sell their handsets they knocked the number of prices plans down from 6 to 3… but the most festive of all promos was their Holiday Offer. Notably the $40 unlimited talk, text and data plan. They named this the “Unbelievable Holiday Offer” and it was set to expire on December 24th, then was extended until December 31st. We’ve received an internal doc that says “These 2 offers give Mobilicity a huge advantage over the competition” and that “Due to the great success of our holiday promotions” both the $30 and $40 plans have once again been extended until January 16th, 2011.

In addition, the $50 mail-in-rebate for the LG Wink, MobiFlip and Nokia 5230 has also been extended until January 16th, 2011.

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Skype for iPhone video calling now available


Version 3.0 of Skype for iPhone is now available and finally has the ability to make video calls (over WiFi and 3G) in either portrait or landscape mode. The free app supports two-way video calling is on the iPhone 4, iPod touch 4, and iPhone 3GS and your computer. One-way video calling is supported on the iPad and iPod touch 3rd generation (those with no camera).

Get it here from iTunes

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Report: Canadians still feeling “frustrated” even with new wireless choices


An interesting report from Public Interest Advocacy Centre called “Waiting for the Dream, the Consumer brief for Telecom Reform 2010″. In this 218-page document it states that even though the wireless industry has seen more competition and restructured consumers are still feeling “frustrated”.

Executive Director and General Counsel Michael Janigan says that “All kinds of benefits were promised to consumers in terms of lower prices and better deals on packages. None of that came to pass… Wireless seems to be the cash cow of the industry… What we find is, as we’ve restructured the industry to put an emphasis on competition, there’s still problems associated with the influence of the big incumbent telecos on the entire process.”

Not sure where Janigan has been for the last year but there has been several options for consumers to choose from. New entrants Public Mobile, Wind Mobile, Mobilicity and Videotron all launched their new wireless networks. As for subscriber numbers, Videotron announced 95,400 subscribers in Q3, Wind Mobile will reach “well over” 200,000 by the end of the year and Mobilicity recently claimed 50,000 new subscribers in Q4. Public Mobile has not declared subscriber numbers. All this to say that customers are making moves to give new competitors a chance. So competition is working and in some areas the new entrants are pressuring the incumbents to act.

As for pricing and better deals – every carrier (even Rogers, Bell and TELUS) now has some sort of Unlimited offering. Quebec is fine example of this as you can now get an Unlimited Quebec plan from any carrier for about $60/month. Even Solo re-branded and started offering Unlimited plans and Rogers launched their discount brand Chatr. All new entrants came out with lower prices than any of the Big Three. Both Mobilicity and Wind have an all-in Unlimited talk, text and data plan for $40 per month. Without the fierce competition in Canadian wireless these pricing plans would have never happened a year ago.

Even Telus spokesman Shawn Hall spoke up and called Janigan’s report is “self-serving mythology… The fact is that urban Canadians enjoy the benefits of one of the most competitive telecommunications industries in the world… Canadians have access to a dozen or more options for their wireless, home phone and Internet services, while rural Canadians are not far behind that.”

The Government wanted more “to achieve lower prices, better service and more choice for consumers and business” when they announced the auction back in 2008…. and that’s exactly what 2010 delivered. Every carrier in one way or another stepped up their game to earn their customers business. 2011 will be even more insane for wireless competition.

What are your thoughts on Janigans remarks. Even with all this new competition are you feeling “frustrated” or have you benefited from the lower prices and more choice?

Source: Canadian Press

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Bell’s 911 $6-million Class Action lawsuit still in court


The ongoing $6-million class action lawsuit between Yellowknife resident James Anderson and Bell has dragged on since 2007. Anderson claims that where he lives there is no 911 service so he shouldn’t have to pay the monthly $0.75 911 fee. He’s not alone, there are about 20,000 Bell customers in the North West Territories that are possibly seeking a resolution to this case. Anderson stated when the lawsuit became a class action case that “We’ve had to put up without having the service and having to pay for it, and that’s not like it is in most areas of Canada. So, yeah, I think it’s a win for everybody up here.”

A glimpse of progress occurred this month when Anderson met with Bell representatives to reach a settlement… but unfortunately this didn’t happen. Bell’s reasoning for charging the fee to customers in the N.W.T is because people could possibly use the 911 service when they are traveling to southern Canada. So the case continues but no follow up court date has been set.

Whenever this settles what do you think the outcome will be?

Source: HQYellowknife

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BlackBerry 6 upgrade coming to the TELUS Curve 3G in January


RIM’s new BlackBerry 6 OS has been out for some time (ever since the Torch 9800 launched) but for those users who have the Bold 9700, Pearl 3G and Curve 3G (9300) they were promised an upgrade. There was no confirmed date but according to a Bell document it stated that “BlackBerry 6 is expected to be available for upgrade in 2011″.

However today on Twitter gives hope to TELUS BlackBerry Curve 9300 owners who want the latest software release. TELUS Support stated that “We do not have an ETA for the 9700. I know in early January, 6.0 for the 9300 will be available but no news yet for the Bold.”

Progress. One device at a time.
Source: TELUS Support Twitter

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Report: 7 Trillion SMS Messages will be sent in 2011


A new report today from ABI Research showing a staggering prediction in the number for SMS messages for 2011. They state that worldwide SMS, MMS, mobile email and Instant Messaging will climb over the 7 trillion mark from a total of 4.2 billion mobile subscribers (on average 1,667 per user). The reason is due to messaging is becoming “more prevalent among younger subscribers, and as they replace older subscribers”.

Practice director Neil Strother said “Mobile messaging has distinct advantages for companies communicating with their customers. It is universal, cost-effective and reliable, and most people have their phones with them and switched on most of the time.”

In Canada there are no documented stats for IM, email but when it comes to text messages the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) says that on average Canadians send 4.6 billion text messages a month. So on a yearly basis this number is expected to top 55 billion for 2010.

Source: ABI Research

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Fido Post Holiday Sale hopes to clear inventory


We’re hoping Fido comes out with some great devices in 2011 – would be nice to see them increase the number of Smartphones to their lineup and compete with other carriers. More up-to-date BlackBerry and Android devices (Rogers certainly has many to choose from). In the meantime they have a “Post Holiday Sale” happening now until January 4th that might tempt some buyers of current devices. The downside is that you’ll have to sign a 2 or 3-year contract to get the good prices. Here are the deals: Sony Vivaz Pro: $25 on a 2-year contract, BlackBerry Curve 8520 is now free on a 3-year and the Android Acer Liquid E is also free on a 3-year.

Source: Fido

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CNN: “Antennagate” is the biggest tech fail of 2010


With all the glory that Apple received this year for being in basically every top ten list of 2010 (Top Canadian 2010 technology news, Twitter Top 10 Trends)…  CNN has stepped up and has written the “The 10 biggest tech ‘fails’ of 2010″. Top of the list is the iPhone 4 “Antennagate” saga.

Apple was off to a rocky start when the new iPhone 4 launched. Users were unable to make calls and complained of reception problems. Apple denied the issue, then stated it was software related. At the peak of the event it was Consumer Reports that boldly stated they “have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception… Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4”. By this time “Antennagate” was born and Apple came forward and said there was a problem and gave those who purchased a free case/bumper.

Despite all of this “bad press” Apple went on to sell millions of devices this year, passing RIM and now claiming 4th spot as the largest mobile manufacturer in the world.

Via: CNN

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Image: Next generation of the Xperia X10 mini pro leaked online


Seems like a daily occurrence that a new leak of an upcoming Sony Ericsson device hits the web. In the past we’ve seen the PlayStation phone, the “Hallon” and now the next generation of the Xperia X10 mini has popped up online. This Android device runs OS 2.3 Gingerbread, has a 3-inch display (resolution of 320 x 480), forward-facing camera and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor (you can see in the images that the benchmark results against other devices is impressive). This all sounds really good… What’s not captured in these pics is that this new device apparently has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

Source: IT168
Via: Engadget

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