Here’s the first of three Sonim rugged handsets coming to Bell’s Push-to-talk (PTT) network. The Sonim XP5560 BOLT 2 will arrive on July 4th and we’ve been informed the no-term price will be $489.95 and on contact for $229.95. According to the internal doc we received it states that “this device is exclusive to Bell until September 30, 2013.”
As for specs, this is a slight upgrade from the original BOLT (pictured above) and comes with a 2-inch QVGA display, 2MP camera with LED flash, 16GB internal storage, 128MB RAM, NFC and 1950 mAh battery. As this is a rugged device, targeted to lone workers or those in the field, the BOLT 2 can take a beating. It’s approved by the US military to handle “extreme temperatures, vibration/shock, rain, blowing sand/dust, humidity.”
We’ll have more info on this launch shortly. Bell will also be releasing the Sonim XP1520 Bolt SL and the XP5560.
TELUS and Rogers have announced plans to start selling the 4th gen iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular and iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular “in the coming weeks.” There’s no specific dates or prices listed on their respected sites, only that it’s coming soon. Rogers declined to comment on the versions they’ll stock, but TELUS will have the iPad with Retina in black and white in 16GB and 32GB variations, plus the iPad mini in black and white in 16GB and 32GB models.
iPad with Retina display ranges in price at the Apple Store:
The iPad mini prices are:
In addition, similar to other retailers, Rogers and TELUS will be selling the iPads on a no-contract model so you’ll just need to sign up on one of their tablet plans – which they note you “can activate or cancel a plan at any time.” No word yet if Bell plans to join the iPad party.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace IIe doesn’t have the latest specs and it’s a far cry from being a flagship device, but the price is solid for an entry-level smartphone. Both Quebec-based Videotron and Halifax-based Eastlink have added this Android Jelly Bean device to their lineup. The specs of the Ace IIe have it powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, 3.8-inch display (480 x 800), 5MP camera that captures 720p HD videos. If you’re considering this on Eastlink you’ll have LTE speeds and the prices range from $249 outright, or $29 on the EasyTab. Over at Videotron, the Ace IIe is free on a 3-year reduced plan or $299.95 outright, with 4G HSPA+ speeds.
In January Tony Lacavera, WIND Mobile’s Chairman and CEO, stated that he would be stepping down and “enter into an agreement to transfer” his shares (AAL Corporation) of the company to Orascom Telecom, which is owned by Netherland-based VimpelComm, which would see them take controlling command of the wireless carrier. Half a year later, Lacavera is still spearheading the company and finding a new wave foreign issues that might delay his exit.
According to the Globe and Mail, the Canadian government is having “national security concerns” of how WIND Mobile is so tightly connected to Huawei. This is not the first time China-based Huawei has faced this issue. The United States government believes the Chinese government can tap into various telecom systems and grab sensitive data via their equipment. As for Canada, Huawei helped build-out WIND’s core network, which now powers their 600,000 wireless subscribers.
Huawei has been operating in Canada since 2008, employs over 400 people, and have also worked in some capacity with Bell, TELUS and SaskTel. On the security concerns, WIND said they have a “ring fence” with levels of firewalls and equipment from over 12 suppliers that protects its network. WIND noted that “we work co-operatively and proactively with CSIS and other law-enforcement agencies (federally and provincially) on both security and emergency/9-11 matters… Although we regularly work alongside these agencies on security matters, we must emphasize that we have never had any security issues with our network.”
A decision on the WIND/VimpelCom acquisition is expected to be completed before July 4th.
Toronto-based Whirlscape developed Minuum, the one-dimensional simplified keyboard for smartphones, tablets and wearable technology. This idea gained a great deal of attention back in March when they went live on crowd-funding site IndieGogo. Their initial goal was to raise $10,000, but they’ve dominated and accumulated just over $87,000 – which is 874% above their goal – and about 10,000 supporters.
Those who backed the initiative were promised early access to the beta app for Android sometime in June. Minuum seems to be on track as we’ve been informed that the beta app for Android is scheduled for release “early next week.” We’ll keep you updated on the specific date, but in the meantime check out our hands-on with the Minuum below.
It’s true. Another tablet. This time its Amazon’s attempt to crack the Canadian market. The Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ are now available.
While Amazon’s Wi-Fi only tablets take their own unique spin on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, the Kindle Fire HD has some limited services when compared to its US counterpart, namely access to apps via Google Play as it ops for their own Amazon Appstore for Android. In addition, missing from the experience, due to Canada’s licensing terms, is the streaming video service Instant Prime Video. If you can get passed these then the Kindle Fire HD tablets are a good choice, especially as they do have the Kindle eBook store that offers a great selection of material.
As far as specs, the Kindle Fire HD comes with a 7-inch 1280×800 display, a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, a front-facing HD camera and is priced at $214 for the 16GB and $244 for the 32GB. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ has an 8.9-inch display (1920×1200), a 1.5Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, a front-facing HD camera and costs $284 for the 16GB and $314 for the 32GB.
After a year of rumours and denial, Microsoft has finally released the “Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers.” As you guessed it the app is currently only available to those who have an active Office 365 subscription. In addition, Office Mobile is currently optimized for the iPhone and no word on when an optimized iPad app will be released. The big downer for many users is that the app is only available via the App Store in the United States… no indication of when Microsoft will make it available in Canada or other countries. However, it’s progress.
The Office Mobile app allows you to view and edit Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint docs that are stored in the cloud from your iPhone (iOS 6.1 or higher).
WIND Mobile will start selling nano sim cards tomorrow, June 14th. This is compatible with the T-Mobile version of the iPhone 5 that went on sale back in April. The price of the nano SIM is set at $25, but in order for it to work you’ll have to make sure you purchase an the correct model According to an internal doc we received it stats that “WIND testing has identified that for an iPhone 5 to be compatible with WIND, it must meet the following criteria. However, customers are responsible for verifying network compatibility, and that the device is unlocked.”
The iPhone 5 must be purchased after April 11, 2013, supports AWS band (1700/2100), and has the model number A1428. In addition, the serial number must end with any one of these four numbers:
- iPhone 5 Black 16GB: FH19 ($699)
- iPhone 5 White 16GB: FH1C ($699)
- iPhone 5 Black 32GB: FH1D ($799)
- iPhone 5 White 32GB: FH1F ($799)
- iPhone 5 Black 64GB: FH1G ($899)
- iPhone 5 White 64GB: FH1H ($899)
So there you have it… now you just have to hunt down an iPhone 5.
BlackBerry introduced “BBM Channels” during their BlackBerry Live developer conference in May. This is an extension of their popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service and is a “a new social engagement platform” that allows the 60 million BBM users to connect to the things of interest by creating different “channels,” plus allows you to “follow” and receive latest updates (similar to Twitter).
BBM Channels is currently in beta, but it seems BlackBerry has a bigger game in mind. They recently posted an open position for a Director Media Sales for BBM Channels in the UK that “will assume responsibility for revenue generation.” Specifics of how one would generate revenue within BBM Channels was lacking, however a survey to those in the BlackBerry Beta Zone suggests we’ll possibly see the likes of a ‘sponsored invite’ flood our feed, similar to Twitter ‘sponsored Tweets,” and Facebook ads.
The survey noted that “Channel owners will be allowed to advertise their Channels by sending invites to BBM users within the channel owner’s target demographic. Users will receive the invite, and be able to preview the Channel, then choose to subscribe or decline the invitation to subscribe. This will be a limited ad unit, with users never receiving more than 3 sponsored invites in a single month.”
This was simply a survey and not confirmed, but is one way BlackBerry might eventually monetize BBM. No indication if the BBM Channel owner (publisher) will receive a percentage of ad revenue. This move would certainly help increase adoption and interest.
Microsoft opened their first retail store in Toronto last November and it looks like the onslaught is upon us. A partnership between Best Buy, Future Shop and Microsoft will see 100 “Windows Stores” open nationwide this year.
This store-within-a-store concept will have a similar experience to the retail location, but give “just another great opportunity to reach customers in more places and give them choice in their technology-buying experience.” Bottom line is that Microsoft will have a dedicated section within Best Buy and Future Shop stores – between 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet – that highlights everything Microsoft: Windows tablets, PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox and accessories.
The 100 Canadian locations will join 500 Windows Stores launching in the United States. The good news is that this partnership will add a total of 1,200 more staff. No word on how many will be employed in Canada.