If you’re into saving a few bucks and want a ‘lightly loved’ – also known as slightly used and refurbished – then WIND Mobile might be your next stop. The wireless carrier has organized a huge sale on devices that have been returned. For example, the Galaxy Nexus is $169, LG Optimus 4X HD is $199, Galaxy S III is $299, HTC Amaze is $229, and the Galaxy Note II is $349.
WIND notes that “Our Lightly Loved phones have been returned within 2 weeks of purchase, 30 minutes of talk or have been refurbished by the experts… All Lightly Loved devices are final sale and non-returnable to WIND. Offer only available while quantities/supplies last. Cannot be combined with WINDtab.”
Certainly something to think about.
A thinner Nexus 7 with an HD display has been rumoured for months now. This news was first unearthed by DigiTimes in January, then Reuters jumped on board with the same claims, noting that Google and ASUS will launch a “higher screen resolution, a thinner bezel design and adopt Qualcomm’s chip in place of Nvidia Corp’s Tegra 3.”
Now days before Google I/O, another overseas analyst is backing the same rumours. Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities has compiled a list of specs that new Nexus 7 will encompass, namely 7-inch 1920 x 1200 high-res display, 1.5Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 5MP camera on the back, plus run Android OS 4.3 Jelly Bean. Here’s some more notable specs, but no indication if the second-gen Nexus is thinner
Facebook has given journalists a glimpse into its intentions for Facebook Home, and they’re a step in the right direction.
The company has listened to the feedback from its one million downloaders and thousands of daily users, and will strike a compromise between its fairly restrictive Android launcher and a more neutral style launcher like Nova or Apex.
To that end, it will add back a custom icon dock to the bottom of a user’s screen, but will hide it by default, much like it does with the notification shade at the top. Facebook will also create a Dash Bar, whereby you’ll be able to more quickly strike out messages to friends through Chat Heads.
Chat Heads will also be given some improvements through the Messenger app, and the core Facebook app will get an update today with performance improvements and bug fixes. The aforementioned usability improvements will come in a future update, along with a more thorough tutorial for new users.
Though there have been one million downloads since its launch, Facebook Home hasn’t maintained the momentum it promised, likely due to its restrictive nature. Initial users were dissatisfied with having to give up many of the customizability options and widgets that they were used to from their OEM or stock launcher. While only a small number of these changes will appease the average user who have already sworn off Facebook Home, it’s good news overall.
Google has updated its annual Google I/O companion, bringing a host of new features and some impressive design changes to what many will see as a throw-away app.
Meant for reigning in the often-confusing mess of attendee schedules, conference maps and various extracurricular programs, the companion app adds support for a lockscreen widget this year (Android 4.2+) and vector-based maps for more accurate renderings of indoor spaces.
The Moscone Center in San Francisco will be the stage for Google I/O this year, but those at home will be able to stream all three days of the conference to their phones, tablets or PCs. The app even allows HDMI output for those eager to hook into a monitor or television.
Attendees can scan their badges via NFC this year, too, which will help save on paper, and because of the new Google+ Sign-in, schedule changes are synchronized between devices (though don’t expect an iOS app).
Google I/O 2013 takes places May 15-17 in San Francisco, and we’ll be there covering all the ins and outs, so stay tuned for a good week!
Download Google I/O 2013 for Android.
Via: Android Central
Netflix for iOS got an update today that brings some functionality from its desktop and set-top box clients: auto-progression for TV shows. This comes after the company improved its TV show selector interface and added more rows to the iPad app in an effort to show as much content to subscribers.
Today’s update to version 4.1 also adds three movie suggestions after a film has ended, another effort to keep subscribers within the app. Netflix for iOS can also be more effectively utilized as a second-screen remote for the PS3 version of the app. These updates only apply to the iPad for now, but should come to iPhone eventually.
Download Netflix for iOS.
Amazon has been rumoured to jump into the smartphone arena for some time. Chatter started back in November of 2011 and various analysts predicted the Seattle-based company to release a smarptphone last November – clearly that didn’t happen. Today, according to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is “developing a wide-ranging lineup of gadgets” that include a couple smartphones, one of which is a “high-end smartphone with the 3-D screen.”
As for the 3D smartphone, unlike the LG Optimus 3D that was released a couple years ago, the report indicated that the device can be viewed without 3D glasses and the images will “float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles.” In addition, similar to Samsung’s S Scroll feature, the Amazon smartphone will reportedly give users the option to view content by simply “using just their eyes.”
The “people familiar with the company’s plans” declined to give any further details and stated that the products could be shelved because of performance, financial or other concerns.
Faced with the prospect that an official Instagram client will never come, Windows Phone developers have resorted to the potentially untenable path of creating unofficial apps for the platform. While Instagram doesn’t currently have a write API, meaning that while third party apps can access photos already posted to the service, they cannot add new content.
This is a big deal: it means that unlike Twitter, Rdio, Dropbox, Evernote and a number of other applications with detailed and extensive Write API privileges, Instagram is only available on two platforms, Android and iPhone.
But that is all about to change, or it already has, depending on how you look at it. Two apps, one already available to Windows Phone users and one currently in closed beta, promise to allow the growing user base an opportunity not only to read, but to write to Instagram. In other words, these apps let Windows Phoners use Instagram.
How do they do this? The app currently available, Instagraph, uses a server hosted by the company to queue and insert photos to Instagram’s host. While it won’t share the secret sauce, it’s clearly using a workaround to access the company’s closed write APIs, and is limited to what it can accomplish. For instance, it only allows five photos a day per user, and these uploads are not instant — they have to follow a queue. Instagraph also doesn’t use Instagram’s native filters, something that will come as a disappointment to the average buyer. It does, however, use Aviary’s excellent photo editing SDK to enable crops, touch-ups and, yes, filters, though they don’t compare to the real deal.
Last month, Flipboard updated its iOS app to allow users to curate and create magazines from existing content around the web. It was a way to empower its millions of users to take advantage of the creative potential of Flipboard as a creation platform, not just something that pushes content.
The company promised it would bring the popular feature — over 500,000 magazines have been created since the launch, and half of Flipboard’s users engage with the feature — to Android as soon as possible, and while they were able to read magazines, now they can create them.
Flipboard is also publishing a web-based Magazine Editor that can be used to rearrange and update content more easily. The company has also launched an agreement to carry Financial Times content, much like New York Times subscribers can read the paper on the go. FT content is limited to blogs and videos unless you’re a paid subscriber, but Flipboard knows its demographic, and it’s a win-win for both companies.
J.D. Power have released their annual Canadian Wireless Total Ownership Experience Study. This ranks our Canadian carriers on customer service, retail experience and what smartphones are being used.
Based on feedback from 13,300 Canadians, between September 2012 and March 2013, J.D. Power states that Koodo Mobile takes top spot overall as the carrier with the highest customer service satisfaction (765 out of a 1,000-point scale), followed by Virgin Mobile (744 points), WIND Mobile (729 points), Public Mobile (726 points). Regional carrier SaskTel claimed the best in the “full-service” segment against larger wireless players with (712 points). J.D. Power notes that there’s a “sizable shift in behaviour” in the market this year, specifically that customers are finding more satisfaction with using online self-service than calling a call centre or visiting a carriers store.
There are thousands of regular road warriors and air travellers that head south to the States each month. Earlier this year, Rogers announced it would introduce a $7.99 per day, 50MB data roaming package to accommodate those who needed a bit more legroom when using their smartphones.
That number is, Rogers claims, “nearly twice the data a Rogers wireless customer would typically use per day while in Canada,” and the company says it has done research to show that 50MB is more than enough for the vast majority of travellers.
The rate is applied by default when assenting to a data package, obviating the need to purchase a roaming plan in advance of one’s trip. Users can text “usage” to 3330 to check how much data is left on their allotment, without penalty.
Rogers has a leg up on the competition with this plan, as Bell and TELUS don’t offer competitive daily data plans for travel to the U.S.
TELUS, for example, offers a $20/25MB or $40/100MB plan that applies for 30 days; overages cost $1/MB and the plans don’t appear to be renewable between cycles.
Bell offers a renewable $40/100MB plan with a more agreeable $0.40/MB overage.
WIND Mobile offers a permanent $1/MB fee for travel to the States, but doesn’t appear to have any bulk packages. Mobilicity charges $1.50/MB when travelling to the U.S. as well.
For users with unlocked devices, T-Mobile offers a $3/200MB plan that can be renewed every day, which is more competitive than the Rogers plan, but users must have a compatible device and purchase a SIM card with a minimum of $15 service, which can put you out close to $30.
Update: To be fair, there are other places to get deals on roaming. We’ve written about Roam Mobility before and they offer USA roaming plans for $3.95/day that include 100MB of data and unlimited talk and text. -IH