Sep 302011

WIND MobileCanada’s next wireless auction is set to take place in late 2012. Consultations on how to conduct the next auction have been underway for some time with carriers arguing for or against setting aside spectrum for new players (as was done in 2008). At least one carrier, WIND Mobile, is already securing funds in preparation for the auction.

“Provided the conditions are right, [Wind] is prepared to participate and participate substantially,” said Tony Lacavera, Globalive’s chairman and chief executive.

VimpelCom, the company that last year acquired Orascom Telecom which provided much of WIND Mobile’s debt financing, is prepared to extend more than CA$500 million to the carrier. The funding is dependent on Industry Canada only allowing new carriers to bid on certain portions of the spectrum to be auctioned.

The report also indicates that WIND Mobile is now nearing the 400,000 subscriber mark, up from 317,000 early this summer.

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Amazon looking to buy webOS?

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Sep 302011

AmazonRumours have already suggested that HTC and Samsung could buy HP’s webOS. You can now add Amazon to the list of potential suitors according to a report. A “well-placed source” is indicating that HP wants to get rid of webOS as quickly as possible and that Amazon is “the closest to finalizing the deal.” The report adds that there are other (unnamed) contenders as well.

Amazon would likely use webOS in future Kindle devices. Owning its own operating system would allow Amazon more flexibility in customizing it to its specific needs. The just announced Kindle Fire uses a heavily modified version of Google Android.

HP bought Palm for US$1.2 billion in 2010 and launched its HP TouchPad earlier this year. After only months on the market, HP made the surprising decision to get out of the webOS hardware business in late August. Since then, webOS’s future has been unclear.

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Microsoft Canada accidentally reveals Samsung and Nokia Windows Phone 7.5 device names

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Sep 302011

Microsoft Canada appears to have accidentally revealed the names (or more likely codenames) of a number of upcoming Windows Phone 7.5 devices. Buried in the Terms and Conditions (now updated) of the “Mango-app Challenge” were the names of four devices: Samsung Yukon, Samsung Wembley, NOKIA Searay and NOKIA Sabre.

The two Samsung devices are unknown but could well be codenames for the Samsung Omnia W and Focus S or Focus Flash. The Nokia SeaRay is well known thanks to a number of leaks and the Sabre could be a smaller device with a 3.7-inch display also already spotted in leaks.

Nokia could unveil its two devices at next month’s Nokia World. They have already confirmed that the initial launch will focus on Europe so we may not see these devices in Canada until 2012.

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Samsung announces GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus tablet

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Sep 302011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 PlusSamsung today announced the launch of the GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus, a successor to the original GALAXY Tab.

“Samsung pioneered the seven-inch tablet market with the launch of the GALAXY Tab, marking an innovation milestone in the mobile industry. Building on the success of the GALAXY Tab, we’re now delighted to introduce the GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus reloaded with enhanced portability, productivity and a richer multimedia experience” said JK Shin, President and Head of Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business. He added “GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus is for those who want to stay productive and in touch with work, friends and content anytime, anywhere.”

Samsung GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus specifications:

  • Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 3.2 with Samsung TouchWiz
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSPA+ (HSDPA 21Mbps/HSUPA5.76Mbps)
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (including Wi-Fi Direct), Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 7-inch WSVGA PLS LCD
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16 or 32GB internal and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 3MP AF with LED flash and 720p video recording
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 193.65 x 122.37 x 9.96 millimeters / 345 grams

The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus will be available starting in late October in Indonesia and Austria. It will gradually be rolled out globally and the US (and presumably Canada) is included in the deployment. No pricing information was disclosed.

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Kobo to launch Vox tablet on October 17th?

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Sep 292011

Kobo VoxWe first caught wind of the Kobo Vox tablet through an FCC filing only days ago. Little was revealed but there were a few hints that Kobo was getting ready to launch its first tablet device. A prematurely launched product page on the Future Shop website today essentially confirmed this before being pulled down again. Fortunately, it was available long enough for to snap a screenshot and glean a few details about the Vox.

Kobo Vox at Future Shop

The Kobo Vox will be a 7-inch tablet with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels. Assuming the specifications listed are accurate (there is some doubt), it will come with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 512MB RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, a speaker, and access to the Android Market. This indicates that it will be powered by Android but it remains to be seen how much customization Kobo has done to the operating system. It will weigh about 400 grams.

Future Shop listed an availability date of October 17th and a price of CA$249.99.

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ASUS releases Eee Pad Transformer v8.6.5.13 update

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Sep 292011

ASUS Eee Pad TransformerASUS today announced a new update for the Eee Pad Transformer. Software version is a fairly minor update but does upgrade Android Honeycomb to version 3.2.1. Among the other changes are:

  • A new feature called SuperNote
  • A Polaris office and ASUS WebStorage update
  • Browser with Adobe Flash improvement; ex: YouTube
  • Browser force-close improvement
  • Improved Wi-Fi stability

The update is done OTA so keep an eye out if you have not already received your update notification.

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Zune Music Marketplace comes to Canada on October 3rd

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Sep 292011

Microsoft ZuneMicrosoft today announced that the Zune Music Marketplace and Zune Music Pass will launch in Canada on October 3rd with some 14 million songs to choose from.

The Zune Music Pass will cost CA$9.99 per month or CA$99.90 annually and will work with the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Windows PC, Zune devices and It will also include the ability to stream thousands of music videos through the Zune PC software (Xbox 360 support coming later in the fall).

Microsoft will also offer the new Zune Pass in the US (same cost). Unlike the current Zune Music Pass offering, it will not include 10 MP3s to keep each month. But subscribers will be able to download songs and synchronize them on up to a total of four devices (1 PC + any combination of PC, Zune device and Windows Phone). The older US$14.99 Zune Pass will be retired (existing subscribers will be able to keep it active).

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Full Samsung Stratosphere specifications revealed?

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Sep 292011

A leaked document obtained by has revealed the specifications of the upcoming Samsung Stratosphere, a QWERTY slider. Early rumours had suggested it might be Verizon’s version of the Samsung Galaxy S II but the new details suggest it will compete more against devices such as the Samsung Epic 4G offered through Sprint.

Rumoured Samsung Stratosphere specifications:

  • Processor: 1GHz single-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.3 with Samsung TouchWiz
  • Cellular connectivity: CDMA/EVDO/LTE
  • Other connectivity: GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Display: 4-inch Super AMOLED WVGA
  • Input: Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 4GB internal / microSD cards up to 32GB (4GB card pre-installed)
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP with dual-LED and 480p video recording
  • Front-facing camera: 1.3MP

Confirming earlier rumours, Verizon bills the Samsung Stratosphere as a “mid”-tier device suggesting it might come in around the US$149.99 price point.

There is still no word on when Verizon will officially launch the Samsung Stratosphere.

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MTS to launch LTE in 2012

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Sep 292011

MTSMTS today announced that it will begin to deploy its LTE (Long Term Evolution) network in 2012. Planning and infrastructure development have already begun.

“With the deployment of LTE technology, MTS expects to continue to offer the best overall wireless data experience in the most locations within Manitoba,” said Kelvin Shepherd, President, MTS. “LTE will further improve our customers’ wireless service experience by providing increased data speeds, access to exciting new wireless devices and by increasing their ability to access converged multi-media services across MTS high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, and mobile wireless networks.”

Where LTE will not be available, MTS customers with LTE devices will be able to use MTS’ HSPA+ network.

MTS’s LTE network will use the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum that the carrier purchased in Canada’s 2008 wireless spectrum auction.

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Research In Motion to exit tablet market? (Updated)

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Sep 292011

RIM BlackBerry PlayBookCiting anonymous sources at RIM’s manufacturing partner Quanta, Collins Stewart analyst John Vinh is indicating that Research In Motion may be considering exiting the tablet market after halting BlackBerry PlayBook production. In a research note, he writes:

“While Quanta last week acknowledged that it had laid off a significant number of production workers from a factory focused on producing the PlayBook, our research indicates that the ODM has essentially halted production of the tablet. Additionally, our due diligence indicates that RIMM has canceled development of additional tablet projects.”

After shipping some 500,000 PlayBooks in its debut quarter, RIM only shipped an additional 200,000 units in the second quarter that it has been available.

RIM has not responded to the report.

Update: RIM has now responded, calling the report “pure fiction.” It also added that it “remains highly committed to the tablet market.”

Read more about this story: Original story and RIM’s response

Sep 292011

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900Mobilicity today announced via Twitter that the BlackBerry Bold is now available:

#TeamMobilicity today is the day you’ve been waiting for, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is now available @Mobilicity. ^TD

As I write this, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 has not yet made it onto Mobilicity’s website.

Update: Mobilicity has now announced pricing and confirmed that the Bold 9900 is now available at Mobilicity stores across Canada and at

Mobilicity is also offering a special promotion giving three free months of BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) to any customer buying a BlackBerry Bold 9900 and activating on a monthly rate plan of CA$35 or higher.

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HTC announces entry-level HTC Explorer

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Sep 292011

HTC ExplorerHTC today announced the HTC Explorer, its most affordable smartphone to date.

“HTC Explorer is an easy-to-use smartphone that puts the customer in control, providing quick access to their most important content and information,” said Jason Mackenzie, president of global sales and marketing, HTC Corporation. “HTC Explorer is simply a smarter phone for anyone and it represents another clear demonstration of HTC’s global commitment to expanding the market for advanced smartphones.”

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Google to join Samsung at Unpacked CTIA event

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Sep 292011

Google AndroidThose rumours that Samsung will announce the Google Nexus Prime at CTIA on October 11th just got more credible. Press invitations describe the event as the “Google Episode” and will offer “a look at what’s new from Android.”

October 2011 Samsung Unpacked event

The invitation suggests that Google will unveil the latest version of its Android operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) and likely its latest Nexus device, rumoured to be the Nexus Prime which coincidentally is manufactured by Samsung.

Recent rumours suggest that the Nexus Prime will be headed to all major US carriers but that Verizon will have first dibs on the device (perhaps as the DROID Prime).

Microsoft and Samsung cross-license patent portfolios

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Sep 282011

SamsungMicrosoft and Samsung today announced a new agreement that will see the two companies cross-license their patent portfolios. Microsoft seems to have the upper hand in the deal though as the agreement also sees Samsung paying it royalties for smartphones and tablets running Google Android. Samsung also agreed to cooperate in the development and marketing of Windows Phone.

“Microsoft and Samsung see the opportunity for dramatic growth in Windows Phone and we’re investing to make that a reality,” said Andy Lees, president, Windows Phone Division, Microsoft. “Microsoft believes in a model where all our partners can grow and profit based on our platform.”

“Through the cross-licensing of our respective patent portfolios, Samsung and Microsoft can continue to bring the latest innovations to the mobile industry,” said Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, executive vice president of global product strategy at Samsung’s mobile communication division. “We are pleased to build upon our long history of working together to open a new chapter of collaboration beginning with our Windows Phone ‘Mango’ launch this fall.”

Some rumours have suggested that Samsung will pay royalties up to US $15 per Android phone.

Needless to say, Google is not too impressed with the move, going as far as calling it extortion in a statement:

“This is the same tactic we’ve seen time and again from Microsoft. Failing to succeed in the smartphone market, they are resorting to legal measures to extort profit from others’ achievements and hinder the pace of innovation. We remain focused on building new technology and supporting Android partners.”

I’m guessing that this one is far from over…

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