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Deezer goes free for mobile users, adds Flow personalized radio

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Deezer, the French-based streaming music service that launched in Canada last year, has expanded its mobile reach by allowing users on Android and iOS to listen to an unlimited amount of music for free. Echoing the ad-based listening model that debuted last year on the web, Deezer believes it can effectively turn these users into paid subscribers by adding value to their experience.

“A majority of our listening is happening on mobile,” Justin Erdman, Managing Director of Deezer Canada, tells me. “We’ve had a growth factor of four since June 2013,” he says, hinting at the paid base in this country is approaching a million users. (more…)

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IDC Canada survey says ‘smartphones are increasingly affecting the way Canadians shop’

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Canadians are finding new ways to find lower prices by “showrooming.” The official definition of showrooming “is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item.”

A new report by IDC Canada was released and surveyed a small number of Canadians — 582 smartphone users between March 17th and March 23rd — that states “smartphones are increasingly affecting the way Canadians shop.” This has been a trend over the past couple years and the specific stats revealed:

  • 73% have called, texted or IM’ed someone to make sure they are buying the right thing.
  • 66% have taken a picture of an item and sent it to someone.
  • 61% have used their smartphone to find a store location or hours of operation.
  • 54% have typed a shopping list into the smartphone and checked it.
  • 46% have compared prices with another retailer while in a store.
  • 35% have found information on an item instead of asking a store employee.
  • 28% have scanned a QR code in a store.

IDC notes that people are downloading shopping apps to help them with their purchase decisions, but doesn’t mention the name of the apps. 69% of Canadian smartphone owners have downloaded at least one shopping app, with 34% having downloaded 3 or more shopping apps.

IDC’s Leslie Hand said “The mobile phone has become an essential component of the shopping experience. Collecting and sharing information to improve the efficiency and the ‘fun’ of shopping is just the tip of the iceberg. Consumers will soon be able to tailor their own level of interaction with retailers that accounts for what they are shopping for in context.”

From a Canadian carrier retail perspective, Rogers is leading the charge as they recently announced plans to jump deeper into the retail arena with the M2M Mobile Shopper program. This is an opt-in customer initiative that aims to ‘breathe new life into the Canadian retail experience’ by giving store owners/operators insight into buying habits, the ability to send mobile offers while shopping in-store, and the option to accept payments via their smartphone.

Shopping habits are certainly changing.

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BlackBerry’s CEO says ‘we will be in the handset business, but it’s a matter of what level of integration’

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The past several years has brought forward the occasional conversation of Waterloo-based BlackBerry splitting off its business into several parts. Investors pointed toward separate divisions that focused on network, device and patents. This topic somewhat faded away when BlackBerry took itself off the market and decided to continue down the restructuring path, but during an interview with Reuters, BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen says selling off the handset business could eventually be reality.

It’s all about the bringing value and servicing the enterprise customer. Chen noted, “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business… I am hoping that between now and next year we will make money in the handset business… If we really couldn’t find a way to make the handset profitable then maybe we’ll have somebody else build more handsets and I make less and less handsets… There has got to be a way to make handsets [profitable] because our operating system and our software technology are so strong… If I just license software technology I would do well. We will be in the handset business, but it’s a matter of what level of integration.”

BlackBerry recently signed a 5-year contract with Foxconn to assist in designing and manufacturing future handsets.

Chen added that he believes the “company is very undervalued,” but also declared that acquisitions are on their radar, specifically seeking companies specializing in security, productivity and communication.

For the immediate future, BlackBerry will launching three “high-end smartphones” within the next 18 months. One will be the BlackBerry Q20 and the other two are unknown (possibly the leaked Windermere). In addition, BlackBerry will restart production of the Bold 9900.

Source: Reuters

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iOS technician dishes the goods on saving your iPhone’s battery life

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We don’t often post about mobile tips ands tricks, but sometimes the opportunity is too good to pass up. A former Apple Genius and iOS technician has compiled the results of years of research and anecdotal evidence after making it their “mission to discover the specific reasons for iOS battery drainage.”

The article goes beyond the standard “shut off all features” fare to provide a few new insights. For example, contrary to common wisdom, closing unused apps can do more harm to your iPhone’s battery life than good. Facebook is also noted as being very bad for battery life. You can see all eight recommendations below and at the source link:

Step 1: Disable Location and Background App Refresh for Facebook
Step 2: Disable Background App Refresh for Apps You Don’t Care About
Step 3: Stop Quitting Your Apps in Multitasking
Step 4: Disable Push Email Temporarily
Step 5: Disable Push Notifications for Apps That Annoy You
Step 6: Turn Off Battery Percentage
Step 7: Go to an Apple Retail Store
Step 8: Enable Airplane Mode in Areas of Poor Cellular Service

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Facebook forcing Android and iOS users onto Messenger, ready to take the pushback

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Facebook is forcing users to download its standalone Messenger app for iOS and Android if they want to continue chatting with a smartphone. The company, which recently purchased WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion, is trying to register higher adoption in North America, and is using any means at its disposal — including potentially pissing off a large contingent of its user base — to achieve it.

Like Dropbox, Facebook is intent on building an ecosystem of separate mobile apps destined for specific functions as it moves away from being “merely” a social network. Messenger has become a core tenet of its business, as the company sells stickers through its own store, and furthers the brand without inundating users with ads. (more…)

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Rogers to exclusively release the Amber Gold HTC One M8 in ‘mid-May’

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The HTC One M8 is a beautifully designed smartphone that is well built. We recently reviewed the newest flagship and many Canadians have already purchased it through carriers’ pre-sale offer. The M8 is available through Rogers, Bell, Telus, Wind Mobile and SaskTel in Gunmetal Gray and Glacial Silver, but for those holding out for something a bit more unique might prefer the luscious colour of Amber Gold.

We’ve been informed that Rogers will be the exclusive carrier of the HTC One (M8) in Amber Gold with it’s scheduled to arrive at retail locations sometime in ‘mid-May.’ No word on pricing, but there is also a slight chance that the device will see a price drop within the next month. The HTC One M8 is priced at $229.99 on a 2-year term or $699 on a month-to-month plan.

(more…)

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Office for iPad team does Reddit AMA, says Ballmer greenlit release

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Riding high on the news that the Office for iPad suite of apps has already surpassed 12 million downloads in its first week of availability, the Microsoft development team responsible participated in a Reddit AMA yesterday.

After promising that print functionality was coming “in due course,” the team shed some light on the development of the apps. One revelation: while the Office for iPad suite features a custom UI and iPad-specific features, the code base is actually shared with Office for Mac (the Office for iPad team is in fact also the Office for Mac team). Also of note was the admission that, despite how well Office for iPad fits Satya Nadella’s “a cloud for everyone on every device” strategy, it was former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who approved plans to ship the suite of apps for iPad.

The whole AMA is worth a read and can be found at the source link below.

SourceReddit

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Jony Ive now completely owns Apple’s software design group, Greg Christie reportedly out

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9to5Mac is reporting that Apple Human Interface VP, Greg Christie, is out at Apple following a dust up with design luminary and Senior VP, Jony Ive. Citing sources familiar with the matter, word is Ive will completely subsume Apple’s software design group by taking over Christie’s responsibilities as head of Human Interface Design. Ive has been providing direction to the team since 2012, but Christie had reported directly to Software Engineering Senior VP Craig Federighi. With Christie’s departure, all software designers will now work under Ive with the rest of the industrial design team rather than within Federighi’s engineering group.

Ive had reportedly clashed previously over the design direction of iOS7, after which Ive was said to have circumvented Christie’s leadership. Christie’s departure comes a few months before the release of iOS 8 this fall, and just a few weeks after Apple trotted him out to press as part of the company’s most recent lawsuit with Samsung. Christie is notable for his longtime service at Apple, and role in the development of the Newtown and the original iPhone.

Christie’s departure, following Scott Forstall’s recent exit and the death of Steve Jobs, makes it clear that Apple’s design identity now completely rests in Ive’s hands.

Source9to5Mac
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Toronto’s Green P parking to test smartphone payment option this summer

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Toronto Parking Authority and its 130 Green P parking locations across the city will soon be making it easier for customers to pay.

Green P currently accepts coins or credit cards, but coming this summer is a test that will introduce smartphone payment. Certainly not revolutionary, but definitely useful and convenient.

Many cities have already gone live with this option. The Calgary Parking Authority launched their “Text to Park” option back in 2012 and Montreal’s P$ Mobile Service app went live last year and saw an immediate uptake in usage and payments within the first few months ($1.8 million payment transactions and 200,000 registered users). The Green P will operate in a similar manner as users will be able to purchase time and top up via their device. Apparently the app, which will probably be an extension of their iPhone and Android app, is still in development and will warn you top up when your time is about to expire.

TPA’s vice-president Ian Maher said users will have to sign up via their website and register their licence plate and credit card number to use the service. As for stats, The Toronto Parking Authority is estimating about 5 million transaction in the first year and initial testing will begin sometime this summer, with a full rollout planned for the fall.

If this all goes smoothly the goal is to eventually expand to all street parking spaces.

Source: The Toronto Star

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Dropbox for Business now available, Microsoft Office collaboration features coming soon

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Dropbox quickly became a staple for small businesses looking for a cheap (i.e. free) way to easily share files between coworkers, despite predominantly being more of a prosumer application than a true enterprise app. With the flurry of announcements today, Dropbox is hoping to establish the service’s enterprise bonafides as it surpasses 275 million global users.

First up is the public release of DropBox for Business, a product that the company has been testing in private beta for awhile now. Users can now connect their personal Dropbox accounts to a Dropbox for Business account and access both from any device, saving the need to log in and out when jumping between business and personal data. Dropbox for Business also provides IT admins more control over corporate data, allowing for remote data wipes, account transfers, and sharing audit logs to track data access.

(more…)

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