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Toronto-based XTouch wins Top App title and scores $1,000 prize

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Toronto-based XTouch developed technology that makes it possible for any surface to be touch-sensitive, thus extending its real estate past the limitations of the physical display.

We had some hands-on time with XTouch a few weeks ago and co-founder Amin Heidari stated that “Each surface responds differently depending on its physical structure. From the device perspective, these two taps… knocking the small wooden table in front of me in two spots sound completely different, which is how the app knows to respond a certain way.”

XTouch is seeing some positive feedback as they’ve claimed the title of Top App from the University of Toronto’s 2014 Mobile App Lab Demo Night, plus scored a $1,000 prize. The XTouch tech is currently embedded in two different apps within iTunes — Voodoo Tap Frogs and Magic Xylophone — with more apparently on the way.

Check out our full write up about XTouch here, or the video below. (more…)


Viber for iPhone gets a long-awaited design overhaul


Viber, a popular messaging and VoIP service available across nearly every computing platform, has seen its iOS app updated with a brand new look and feel.

Version 4.2 introduces a flat, iOS 7-friendly design that comes months after competitors WhatsApp, Kik, BBM and others did the same. Still, for Viber’s 100 million users, many of which are on iOS, this will be a big benefit.

Viber has a Canadian connection: it was purchased by Rakuten, the owners of Toronto-based Kobo, in February for $900 million. Rakuten is trying to integrate Viber’s messaging and social features into its broader library of software, but right now is mainly focused on offering the the best customer experience possible.

Other features include the ability to send multiple photos and videos to a contact at the same time; a new block list to repel any phone number or contact; the ability to send longer video messages; and lots of bug fixes.

Do you use Viber? If so, why over another service?

SourceApp Store



Bell Sony Xperia Z2 now available for pre-order, costs $179.95 on a 2-year term


The Bell Sony Xperia Z2 is coming soon, likely on May 5th, and today the carrier opened pre-orders for the flagship.

Available for $179.95 on a 2-year term and $699.95 outright, the Bell version of the phone will be a carrier exclusive, but Sony assures us that the high-performance device will also be sold unlocked in Sony Stores for around $699.

The Xperia Z2 is another great phone from Sony, one that we’re calling “a winner” even before its release. While the specs belie the cumulative improvements, it’s clear that the Z2, with its 5.2-inch IPS LCD display, 2.3Ghz Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 20.7MP rear camera and 3,200mAh battery, is a very powerful smartphone. Whether it can take eyeballs away from the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 remains to be seen, but we’re looking forward to putting the device through its paces in the coming weeks.


Sony posts Xperia Keyboard app to Play Store for easy updates


Sony has decoupled yet another app from its customized Android framework, releasing Xperia Keyboard as a standalone app to the Play Store.

At the moment the keyboard, which is among the best of all the OEMs, doesn’t appear to be too different from the previous version, but Sony has added the ability to backup and synchronize settings, history and personalization between Xperia devices.

Sony’s recently released independent versions of its Camera and other apps to the Play Store for easy updating.


Moto X now $350 at Fido


The Moto X is now available at Fido and MTS, but Rogers stated to us that the “Moto X is nearing discontinuation at Rogers.” The device can still be purchased from various retail stores, but is now available from their online store.

Over at sub-brand Fido there is a solid deal happening — not sure when exactly this went live but the dog is selling the one-time flagship for a respectable $350 no-term, which is $100 cheaper from when it was released back in October.

The LTE enabled Moto X has a 4.7-inch 720p display, a 1.7Ghz dual-core X8 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, a 2,200mAh battery, and runs Android 4.4 KitKat.

Check out our review.

Source: Fido
(Thanks Chris!)


OnePlus One officially announced and it’s a ’2014 Flagship Killer’


After the plethora of leaked images and specs, the OnePlus One has officially been unveiled. This runs a ‘special version’ of CyanogenMod OS, based on Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and is targeting Nexus enthusiasts with its specs and low price point.

‘Never Settle’ is the tag line and the LTE-enabled OnePlus One specs are impressive with a 5.5-inch 1080p display (Gorilla Glass 3), 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 13MP Sony Exmor sensor (f/2.0, flash, and 4K video), 5MP front-facing camera, JBL-designed stereo speakers and 3100mAh non-removable battery. Overall dimensions are 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm with a weight of 162 grams. The ‘StyleSwap’ exchangeable back covers will eventually be available and come in several options (wood, kevlar, bamboo and denim), which is similar to MotoMaker for the MotoX.

The unlocked OnePlus One will ship to Canadians sometime mid-May through the US site, but will also be heading to the UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Taiwan. This is impressive considering it’s in start-up mode.

As for the price point, the 16GB Silk White version is priced at $299 (USD) and skips right past a 32GB model and opts for a 64GB in Sandstone Black that will be $349. To score one you’ll have to receive an invitation from OnePlus via their social channels, or from someone who has already managed a way to purchase one. The company also has a ‘Smash The Past’ program starting April 25th where they will be giving 100 people a OnePlus One for a buck if they smash their current device into pieces.

Finally, OnePlus notes that the ’2014 Flagship Killer’ will receive updates for at least 2 years.


Nest Learning Thermostat now available on Google Play for $249

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Google’s purchase of Nest has quickly borne fruit, at least in the distribution department, as the company made the Nest Learning Thermostat available to purchase for $249 CDN on the Play Store.

Google spent $3.2 billion to purchase Nest earlier this year, and though the collaboration has yet to spawn any new products, its newfound distribution channel allows the search giant to advertise the product while users search for smartphones, tablets and apps.

Nest is a digital thermostat that works with your home’s existing infrastructure to optimize heat and air conditioning output, and connects to WiFi for remote administration using an iPhone or Android device.

The updated version of the Nest, which the company began selling last year, features a 320×320 pixel touch panel, dual-channel WiFi and a two-year warranty.


WhatsApp crosses the 500 million active user mark


On a personal note, Brian and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a small team of people who, in just under five years, built a communication service that now supports over 450 million monthly active users worldwide and over 320 million daily active users.”

Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s co-founder, wrote those words on the day Facebook announced it was buying the messaging startup for an astounding $19 billion. (more…)


LG G Watch to come in Stealth Black and Champagne Gold


LG is entering the smartwatch game and partnering up with Google to be the first manufacturer to launch a device running on the new Android Wear platform.

LG has given a few more details on the design, specifically that it will come in both Stealth Black and Champagne Gold. Similar to other Android devices, the G Watch will be “always-on” and “never sleeps” so users will have quick access to “useful information when you need it most.” Google previously noted that devices running Android Wear will feature voice commands with the familiar “OK Google” phrase.

Specs of the LG G Watch include a 1.85-inch display, water and dust resistance and 4GB of internal memory. The LG G Watch should be available this coming Summer and rumours point towards a July launch for under $300. (more…)


LG G3 home screen leak hints at Concierge service, attractive flat design overhaul

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LG is on the verge of releasing its follow-up to the G2, as that device has reached its End of Life status on Bell. Recent leaks point to a 5.5-inch 2560×1440 pixel resolution display, along with a brand new Android skin that looks much more approachable than last year’s blocky, utilitarian design on the G2.

Digital Trends reportedly received screenshots of the new Android 4.4-based interface, which looks flat and colourful, eschewing the virtual menu button in favour of a more recognizable Android navigation scheme.

There’s also a new widget, which DT calls a “concierge,” purporting to offer context-aware advice about weather and other relevant information. It’s unclear whether this service will be powered by Maluuba like the G2′s Voice Mate service.

Unfortunately, while LG seems to be taking advice on the design front, it doesn’t look to be improving usability: QSlide appears to be taking up just as much room in the notification shade as before, and we’d be willing to bet they’re not removable.

The LG G3 is expected to launch in the coming months, as its predecessor was announced in August of last year.