Latest News

Vancouver’s Faraday cage cafe closes tomorrow

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.29.19 PM

Most smartphone owners would argue that while the devices make our lives far more convenient, it comes with a certain level of sacrifice. Every where you turn, people are staring into those tiny screens with no care or caution for the people around them. Understandable, then, that some people have the urge to disconnect completely.

Earlier this month, Vancouver got its very own cellphone-free cafe in the form of the Faraday Cafe. The cafe is a space free of cell phone service or any kind of digital connection. By enclosing the entire cafe in a mesh that shields electromagnetic fields, social artists Julien Thomas and Hughes Condon Marler Architects have created a place where people can go to get away from the buzz of their electronics. And it sounds like the people of Vancouver have embraced the idea.


Tory Burch launches fashionable but expensive line of Fitbit Flex accessories


At last month’s We Are Wearables event in Toronto, IDC Canada identified fashion as one of the main barriers for wearables when it came to mainstream adoption. Krista Napier commented that consumers needed to be able to walk into their favourite store, be it Michael Kors or Hugo Boss, and buy wearable devices that fit their style and taste. While we might not be quite there yet, things are moving in that direction. Tory Burch and Fitbit today announced that their new line of accessories for the Fitbit fitness tracker is available for pre-order now. (more…)


Google secures partner for glucose-tracking smart contact lens

Hand holding

Google’s been dabbling in wearable tech for the last couple of years, with the most public-facing examples of its progress being Google Glass and Android Wear. However, Google is also quietly pursuing some other, arguably more significant wearable technologies.

Back in January, the company announced plans for a smart contact lens that would monitor a user’s glucose levels via the tears in his or her eye. The Google[x] team created a contact lens material with embedded chips and sensors that takes a glucose reading once per second. At the time, Google said it was testing the lens, had completed multiple clinical research studies, and was in talks with the FDA. Now it looks like Google has secured a partner to develop the lens. (more…)


Symantec study reveals 93% of people access data on lost smartphones


For most of us, the prospect of losing our smartphone is pretty daunting. Your phone probably knows more of your secrets than any one person in your life. Private emails, entire galleries of images from friends and family, access to all of your online accounts (including social media, professional sites like LinkedIn, and maybe even your financial institution’s online banking service), it’s all there.

Thinking about that kind of information falling into the wrong hands is scary for a lot of people. But if you lost your phone, what’s the most likely scenario? Would it be returned? Would the person keep your phone but wipe all of your information? Would they post your Snapchat screen grabs for all to see?

Symantec Canada recently ran something of a sting operation to figure out what people generally do when they come across a homeless smartphone. First, the company “lost” 60 smartphones in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottowa, Montreal and Halifax. Then it monitored the phones to see what people did with the them once they picked them up.



Minuum teases its keyboard on an Android Wear smartwatch

Screenshot 2014-07-15 09.57.29

Minuum, the one-dimensional keyboard with an eye towards wearables, has announced an early version of the input software for Android Wear smartwatches. After launching on Samsung’s Gear series and Omate’s TrueSmart watch, the company has dedicated some time to demoing the keyboard on Google’s new wearable platforms. (more…)


Two more HTC executives depart the company


HTC’s executive shuffle continues. According to a report in Bloomberg, President of Engineering and Operations Fred Liu and Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho are both departing the company. Liu was with HTC for the last 16 years, has held several leadership positions and is leaving because he’s retiring. Ho just joined the company in January 2013 and will stay with the company until the end of the year. (more…)


Nokia begins rolling out Lumia Cyan Windows Phone 8.1 updates, coming soon to Canada

Windows Phone

Nokia has unveiled the rollout schedule for its Windows Phone 8.1-based Lumia Cyan update, which will eventually come to all Canadian-sold Lumia devices running WP8.

The update folds in Microsoft’s general Windows Phone 8.1 improvements with some Lumia-specific functionality, such as improved Nokia Camera, Creative Studio, Storyteller, as well as a new Device Hub, which tracks accessories attached to the device.



Nest, Samsung, ARM and others team up for Thread, a new wireless protocol meant to improve the Internet of Things

Nest Protect

Nest, Samsung, ARM and a series of other big names in semiconductors and research have teamed up to create a new wireless standard for the Internet of Things, that umbrella term for any gadget with a wireless chip that talks to other chip-filled wireless accessories.

While there are already many disparate “standards” powering these devices, with names like Zigby, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, WiFi Direct and others, Thread is intended to fix all of the functional inefficiencies within each one.

Thread Group, the team behind the Thread protocol, said in a press release, “[It] takes existing technologies and combines the best parts of each to provide a better way to connect products in the home.”



BNN Go for iOS and Android brings stock news, tips and on-demand shows


Another Bell media outfit has received the on-demand mobile app treatment.

Business News Network, the company’s 24/7 financial reporting portal, has been miniaturized to the mobile screen in a clean, well-designed app. While it lacks the live viewing capabilities of CTV Go, it makes up for that omission by offering full on-demand shows hours after they air, as well as daily news, tips, and the ability to follow stocks.

Doubling as both a stock and fund tracker, BNN Go aims to be more than just a portal for the channel’s shows but an app one would open to follow his or her entire portfolio. It also offers many of the show anchors’ blogs.

While the app is not entirely new — it arrived in late June — it’s well worth looking out for. Those who want the live BNN feed will have to subscribe to Bell TV, the company’s streaming television solution.


Microsoft now selling the best camera phone ever for $549 outright


We’ve heard rumblings that the Nokia Lumia 1020, the best camera phone ever, is about to put on Microsoft’s End of Life list as the company makes way for its successor.

But the 41MP Windows Phone 8-sporting monster is still a great way to showcase all of Nokia’s incredible imaging capabilities, especially now that it has been put on sale for $549 outright at the Microsoft Store.

A new listing popped up this week for an unlocked version of the device, which was sold through TELUS and Rogers when it debuted last year. It has since been removed from TELUS’s shelves, but is still available for $49.99 from Rogers.

The Lumia 1020 will be updated to Windows Phone 8.1 later this summer, and the unlocked version appears to be AWS-compatible over HSPA+ and incumbent-compatible over LTE. While the dual-core Snapdragon processor is not going to win any performance awards these days, the Lumia 1020 is still the best alternative to a point and shoot one can find in compact smartphone form.

(Thanks Joel!)