BlackBerry PlayBook sales exceed Best Buy expectations

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Apr 302011
 

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

While the launch of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook last week may have appeared to be a sedate affair, at least one retailer has indicated that sales to date are exceeding its expectations. In a statement to PCMag.com, Best Buy said:

“Best Buy has had great success selling BlackBerry smart phones in North America, so our sales expectations for the BlackBerry PlayBook were very high. To date, we have far exceeded those expectations and we’re finding that customers are even more interested in purchasing once they’ve tested the PlayBook in the store.”

Best Buy does not provide sales figures to provide a context around its expectations.

Estimates by RBC Capital Markets suggest RIM may have sold about 50,000 PlayBooks (including pre-orders) on its first day. It also appears to have had a stronger debut than both the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola XOOM tablets.

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BlackBerry Bold Touch appears on BlackBerry.com ahead of announcement

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Apr 292011
 

RIM appears to have accidentally revealed the upcoming BlackBerry Bold Touch just ahead of its BlackBerry World conference next week. The yet-to-be-announced device appeared briefly on its BlackBerry.com site earlier today.

RIM BlackBerry Bold Touch revealed?

Specifications were leaked earlier this month and the BlackBerry Bold Touch could be RIM’s first dual-core smartphone and its first with the BlackBerry 7 OS.

According to BGR.com, it could also be the only device RIM announces at the conference despite having a number of devices in the works for upcoming release.

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Mobilicity raises CA$215 million of new financing

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Apr 292011
 

Mobilicity

Mobilicity today announced that it has raised CA$215 million through a debt offering. It provides the carrier with “growth capital to further strengthen its customer experience across Canada.”

“Mobilicity has a compelling business model and the best value proposition for consumers and we are excited about getting additional support from Canada’s financial community,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Dobbin.

“Today’s news, made just two weeks shy of the first anniversary of our Toronto launch and on the heels of our successful launch in Calgary yesterday, confirms Mobilicity’s place as the leading, innovative new entrant in Canada’s wireless industry,” Dobbin added. “We are very well positioned for future growth and opportunities.”

Mobilicity, a privately held company, did not provide information on its subscriber numbers. The one time it did reveal these numbers was in December 2010 when it confirmed it had over 50,000 subscribers. RBC more recently estimated that it had about 94,000 subscribers.

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RIM confirms next BlackBerry OS to be version 7

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Apr 292011
 

Research In Motion

Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie has confirmed the rumours that the next version of the BlackBerry operating system will be version 7. The confirmation came during the company’s latest investor call:

“We’re now calling BlackBerry 6.1 BlackBerry 7. It’s such a big update from 6.”

It remains to be seen what new feature made BlackBerry 7 such a big update over version 6. It will also be interesting to see what upgrade plans RIM has in store for current devices.

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HTC Kingdom and Rider revealed in blurry pictures

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Apr 292011
 

Two new HTC smartphones, the HTC Rider (on the left) and HTC Kingdom (on the right), have been revealed by blurry pictures. There is little information to go with the pictures though.

Rumoured HTC Kingdom and HTC Rider

It appears that both will come with 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) displays.

Let’s hope there is more to come soon…

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HTC Wildfire S headed to Bell and SaskTel?

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Apr 292011
 

HTC Wildfire

MobileSyrup.com sources have revealed that the HTC Wildfire S is headed to both Bell Mobility and SaskTel fairly soon. Bell appears set to launch it on June 17th while SaskTel’s launch is set for a less specific ‘June’ time frame.

The HTC Wildfire S was first announced at MWC 2011:

  • Processor: 600MHz Qualcomm
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.3.3 with HTC Sense
  • Connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE / dual-band HSPA
  • Other connectivity: GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen
  • Memory: 512MB RAM and 512MB ROM
  • Storage: microSD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP with auto-focus and flash
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB 2.0
  • Sensors: Ambient light, G-sensor, digital compass, proximity
  • Battery: 1230mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 101.3 by 59.4 by 12.4 millimeters / 105 grams

There are no pricing details yet.

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Apr 292011
 

Google Android

Google announced yesterday via Twitter that it will soon release Android 2.3.4:

Android 2.3.4 OTA rolling out over the next few weeks! Has bug fixes for Nexus One, video chat for Nexus S. But a surprise is still to come!

Video Chat will work with compatible Android tablets or phones as well as Google Talk on PCs. Calls will be possible both over 3G/4G (assuming the carrier supports it) or over Wi-Fi.

Note: You will need to be running Android 2.3.1, 2.3.2, or 2.3.3 to get the latest update.

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Windows Phone 7 updates for AT&T HTC Surround one step closer

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Apr 282011
 

Microsoft today announced that both its February and March updates for the HTC Surround on AT&T are now in the process of being scheduled for release. According to its release schedule, the ‘Scheduling’ phase lasts “10 business days or less,” suggesting that we will soon see another update to confirm that the updates are finally being pushed out to customers.

Updates for the Samsung Focus and LG Quantum on AT&T began to be pushed out earlier this month.

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RIM to rename QNX-less BlackBerry 6.1 to BlackBerry 7?

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Apr 282011
 

Research In Motion

CrackBerry.com has learned that Research In Motion will unveil the next version of its BlackBerry OS as BlackBerry 7 at next week’s BlackBerry World. A number of leaks (including specs for the BlackBerry Torch 2 and BlackBerry Touch) over the past few months had suggested that it would be called BlackBerry 6.1 but RIM has apparently had a change of heart.

What triggered the decision (assuming it’s true) is unclear. CrackBerry.com suggests that it could be that BlackBerry 7 will not be backwards compatible and that a full new version number makes that a bit clearer. There is also the possibility that references to a “lite” version of BlackBerry 6.1 will be dropped and that this version will be known solely as BlackBerry 6.1 (and offered as an upgrade to current BlackBerry 6 devices).

In the past, BlackBerry 7 had been rumoured to be the OS that merged the traditional BlackBerry OS with QNX for both PlayBooks and BlackBerry smartphones. That honour could now fall to BlackBerry 8 instead.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia arc and Xperia PLAY now available from Rogers

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Apr 282011
 

Sony Ericsson

As expected, Rogers Wireless today launched the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc and Xperia PLAY Android 2.3 smartphones. The Xperia arc is a very thin (8.4mm at its thinnest) smartphone with a display powered by the Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine and a 8.1MP camera with a Sony Exmor R for mobile sensor. The Xperia PLAY is the first PlayStation Certified smartphone and featuring game controls that will be familiar to PlayStation players.

Rogers is offering both for CA$99.99 with a three-year contract, CA$449.99 with a two-year contract, CA$499.99 with a one-year contract, or CA$549.99 with no contract.

Rogers to launch LTE in 4 Canadian cities in 2011

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Apr 272011
 

Rogers Communications Inc.

Rogers announced today that it will launch its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver later this year.

LTE is the gold standard of wireless technology and the future of mobile experience. Rogers LTE will fundamentally change our concept of entertainment, communications and productivity, delivering a true high-speed Internet experience through handsets, tablets and Rocket Sticks:

  • Stream movies instantly on a tablet with virtually no delays or buffering
  • Experience a revolution in wireless multiplayer real-time online gaming
  • Conduct wireless group video conferences in real-time, with virtually no lag time
  • Access data-intensive business applications while on the go

Rogers has yet to disclose what specific LTE devices will offer.

As part of the announcement, Rogers is running a contest where its customers can win a trip to Toronto in July for an exclusive Future of Fast experience, including passes to the 2011 Honda Toronto Indy and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to get behind the wheel of a professional race car.

Rogers will deploy LTE to an additional 21 markets by the end of 2012.

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Apple confirms white iPhone 4 to launch April 28th

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Apr 272011
 

Apple iPhone 4

There is good news today for all those who patiently waited for the white iPhone 4: The delays are finally at an end. Apple today confirmed that the white iPhone 4 will launch on April 28th.

“The white iPhone 4 has finally arrived and it’s beautiful,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We appreciate everyone who has waited patiently while we’ve worked to get every detail right.”

Aside from the new coat, the white iPhone 4 has the same specifications as the black one that was launched last June.

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RIM acquires Tungle.me calendar scheduling service

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Apr 272011
 

Research In Motion

Research In Motion today announced that it had acquired Tungle, a provider of cloud-based calendar and scheduling services. According to RIM’s Tom Goguen, VP, Collaboration and Social Networking:

BlackBerry is a fantastic solution for connecting users to the people and information that matter most throughout their day. By working with Tungle to add cloud-based, cross-platform calendar capabilities to the BlackBerry platform we can further enrich our customers’ experience with BlackBerry and continue to help them get things done.

Tungle works with Outlook (with or without Exchange), Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Entourage for Mac, Lotus Notes, BlackBerry Yahoo!, Windows Live, Facebook, TripIt and Plancast.

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Rogers Wireless tops 9 million subscribers

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Apr 272011
 

Rogers Communications Inc.

Rogers Communications yesterday announced its first quarter 2011 financial results. Overall revenues topped CA$2.9 billion with wireless contributing over CA$1.7 billion.

“The first quarter results represent a healthy start to 2011 for Rogers,” said Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rogers Communications Inc. “We’ve maintained solid top line growth rates as a result of continued investments in our customer relationships, networks and products supported by a sharp focus on wireless data and subscriber retention initiatives. While at the same time, our successful focus on managing costs has enabled continued strong margins and the generation of substantial free cash flow.”

Rogers topped the 9 million subscriber mark for the first time with the net addition of about 35,000 new subscribers. The loss of about 10,000 prepaid customers was offset by the gain of 45,000 postpaid customers. It also activated and upgraded approximately 534,000 smartphones (predominately iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices) in the quarter.

This resulted in subscribers with smartphones representing 45% of the overall postpaid subscriber base as at March 31, 2011, compared to 33% as at March 31, 2010. These subscribers generally commit to new multi-year-term contracts, and typically generate ARPU nearly twice that of voice only subscribers. This is the largest number of new smartphone customer additions that Wireless has ever reported in a quarter.

ARPU (Average monthly revenue per user) dropped slightly to CA$59.91. Rogers attributes the decrease to “the creation of voice and data roaming value plans for frequent travelers over the past year and general competitive intensity.”

Dual-core QWERTY HTC Doubleshot headed to T-Mobile?

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Apr 262011
 

HTC

Another forthcoming HTC device appears to have been outed thanks to a user agent profile discovered by Pocketnow.com. Revealing a few additional details are a leaked set of benchmark results. Both refer to a device called the HTC Doubleshot.

The HTC Doubleshot could be powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8260 processor (like the HTC Sensation) and Android 2.3. It would come with a WVGA display, a physical QWERTY keyboard, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and a 6+MP (perhaps an 8MP) camera.

The HTC Doubleshot could be headed to T-Mobile USA with support for HSPA+. A launch as early as the end of July in a choice of colours appears to be in the cards.

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