Latest News

Fitbit launches Windows Phone app just in time for WP8.1

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As Windows Phone 8.1 slowly trickles down to devices through carrier channels, app developers are readying their services to take advantage of the OS’s new features. Specifically, Windows Phone 8.1, like Android 4.3 before it, normalizes the integration of Bluetooth 4.0 LE, allowing devices with compatible hardware to reap the benefits of wearables like fitness bracelets.

Fitbit is the first company out of the gate with support for Windows Phone 8.1. The app works with all of the company’s trackers, including the Zip, One, Flex and Force, though Bluetooth 4.0. Fitbit worked with Microsoft to optimize the app, adding platform-specific advantages like an always-updating Live Tile and background syncing. (more…)

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TD Canada Trust for iPhone and Android can now transfer funds with ‘up-to-the-minute foreign exchange rates’

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TD Canada Trust has updated its iPhone and Android app with the handy ability to transfer funds between your TD Canada Trust Canadian and U.S. Dollar accounts “using up-to-the-minute foreign exchange rates.” The iPhone app is now at version 6.0 and optimized for iOS 6 or higher, while the Android app has been bumped to minimum version 4.0.3 for an full optimized experience.

Other features of the app remain the same, such as locating branches and ATMs, check account balances, transfer funds, look up your investments, and place stock trades. And, on select Android and BlackBerry users, users can make payments using NFC and a secure SIM card. (more…)

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Hilton working to make smartphone hotel room unlocking a reality by 2016

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Millions of flyers already use their smartphones to pay for tickets, check in and choose seats. But once they reach the hotel, the check-in and verification process is still, for the most part, a manual experience.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, owner of 4,200 hotels and resorts globally, will begin integrating smartphones into the check-in and even room unlocking process, according to The Wall Street Journal. Pilot projects will begin by early next year, and a full rollout is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. As customers are becoming more comfortable booking, transacting and even paying for things on a smartphone, the expectation is that the ubiquitous devices will, like other cards in one’s wallet, replace the magnetic key used to open rooms and access guarded-off areas of the hotel. (more…)

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NPR One offers personalized public radio streaming on iOS and Android

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National Public Radio, or NPR, has released a version of its mobile app for iOS and Android aimed at curating the best listening experience across a variety of categories.

Like Pandora does for music, NPR One offers a default set of listening topics, from news to entertainment to politics, and over time learns what a user enjoys or doesn’t enjoy listening to. Using a listener’s ZIP code as a basis for public stream, the app intertwines local with on-demand content to ensure variety.

Much of NPR’s on-demand content can be heard using traditional podcast apps, and the organization already offers iOS and Android apps that stream live feeds as well as popular shows like All Songs Considered and Fresh Air, but like Stitcher, NPR One combines the programming into one feed.

(more…)

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Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra now receiving Android 4.4.4 update across Rogers, Bell and TELUS

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Quick update for those Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra users in Canada. We’ve been receiving a number of tips that Android OS 4.4.4 KitKat has arrived on the popular Sony devices. The build number is 14.4.A.0.108 and can now be downloaded on the Xperia Z1, Z2 and Z Ultra on Rogers, Bell and TELUS, and Bell respectively. Check your Xperia Applications >> Settings >> About Phone >> Software update to get the ball rolling.

This marks the first device outside of Google’s own Nexus products to receive Android 4.4.4, which combines a number of minor security improves with a much-larger Android 4.4.3 update. (more…)

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Google and Motorola reportedly working on a 5.9-inch Nexus phone

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Smartphones and tablets are quickly becoming the same product along a continuum. While Google hasn’t yet updated its Nexus 7 to address the growing demand for inexpensive slates, the company has reportedly been working with Motorola on a new 5.9-inch smartphone codenamed ‘Shamu’.

According to documents received by Android Police, the Nexus program, once considered on death’s door in favour of Android Silver, is still going ahead as planned. ‘Shamu’, another in the line of piscine-coded hardware, will reportedly feature a massive 5.9-inch display, but nothing else on the hardware spec sheet has been made public at this time. It’s likely that, as with other Nexus devices, Shamu will launch with the latest version of Android, and be offered at a very competitive price.

Google has reportedly been working on a tablet, dubbed the Nexus 8, in collaboration with HTC, and could debut both devices in the fall. The Nexus 5, coming up on its 10-month birthday, has aged fairly well, but since then quite a few devices have been released with superior cameras, improved battery life and slimmer bodies. Earlier this year, LG denied involvement in any upcoming Nexus products.

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Update: Apple acquiring personalized talk radio startup Swell for $30 million

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Apple has been on an acquisition streak lately. CEO Tim Cook announced during Apple’s Q2 results that 30 company acquisitions have been made over the the last nine months, including $3 billion spent for Beats Electronics. Cook also declared that they Apple is “on the prowl” for additional companies and it was recently revealed that book recommendation service BookLamp, dubbed the Pandora for books, was folded into the Apple ecosystem.

The newest report to surface is that Apple will be honing in on the broadcasting space and acquiring personalized talk-radio app Swell for $30 million. According to Re/code, Swell, which is backed by investors such as DFJ, Google Ventures and InterWest Partners, will completely shut down later this week.

Swell allows you to stream talk shows/podcasts on the go, then learns your listening habits and curates content based on your preferences. Some of the bigger media partners include, ESPN, NPR, FOX, ABC, BBC and TED, and podcasters can also import their podcast to iTunes. Swell currently has an iOS app, but is (was) also beta testing an Android app.

Apple declined to comment on the report.


Update: Looks like the rumours of Swell being acquired is true as its website and app has been updated with the following message:

“Thank you for using Swell over the past year. We wanted to let you know that the Swell service is no longer available. We’ve been inspired by the opportunity to create quality products that positively impact users’ lives, and we are grateful to all our listeners. Thank you everyone for your support”


Source: Re/Code

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Bell to allow Manitoban customers to roam within province at no extra cost (Update)

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It’s safe to say that Bell doesn’t have a widely-available network in Manitoba. Along with TELUS, its cross-Canada network partner, the company covers the greater Winnipeg area, stretching to Brandon in the west and Selkirk in the southeast. That’s a good chunk of the population, but certainly nowhere near as comprehensive as MTS and Rogers, which entered into network sharing agreements in 2009 and 2013 to build out HSPA+ and LTE in the province respectively.

According to an internal document we received, Bell will soon allow its Manitoban customers to roam on Rogers’ network at no extra charge. In what appears to be an attempt to get ahead of government regulation on domestic roaming, Bell has reached an agreement with Rogers and/or MTS to allow occasional and fair use access to areas outside its own network for calls, texts, MMS and internet use. Long distance service will be possible, but only if the customer already has a bundle for it in their local service area. And, like all other long distance plans, once a user enters a new service area a call made to a number within it is local, while calling home becomes long distance. All incoming calls accepted within a roaming area count as long distance, too. (more…)

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Nokia uses potatoes and apples to charge a Lumia 930

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Nokia’s Lumia 930 is currently enjoying its European launch and its manufacturer is hoping to drum up publicity for the phone in the weirdest way possible.
As a follow on from last year’s lightning experiment, Nokia set out to create the world’s largest battery using apples and potatoes.

Inspired by the classic potato battery experiment, Nokia wondered how many potatoes (and apples, I guess) it would take to power its new Lumia 930 smartphone. The answer is 800. It takes 800 apples and potatoes to organically charge the Lumia 930. (more…)

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Contest: Win a Moto E!

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The Motorola Moto E is one of the most affordable smartphones on the market. This entry-level beauty has a 4.3-inch display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 1980 mAh battery, a 5MP camera and runs Android 4.4 Kit Kat — you can check our review here.

Thanks to our friends at Motorola Canada we have one Moto E to giveaway! To enter this contest all you have to do is either follow us and re-tweet this contest on Twitter (@mobilesyrup), “Like Us” on Facebook (Facebook.com/MobileSyrup), or join us on Google+.

The contest is on until July 31st and we’ll select a winner shortly after.
Good luck to all who enter!

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