Smartphone adoption rate in Canada reaches 40%

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Nov 302011

According to the latest Comscore report, more and more Canadians are using smartphones. In September 2011, some 20.1 million Canadians ages 13 and older used mobile devices. Of those, 8 million owned smartphones, representing 40 percent of the mobile market in Canada and a 7% gain in the last six months alone.

The top smartphone platform in Canada was RIM with a 35.8% share of the smartphone market. It was followed by Apple at 30.1% and Google at 25% (double its share six months ago). Symbian ranked fourth with a 4.2% market share and Microsoft held down fifth spot with a 3.2% share.

In terms of mobile device (not just smartphones) manufacturers, Samsung held top spot with a 25.2% market share. It was followed by LG (20%), RIM (14.3%), Apple (12%) and Nokia (10.1%).

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RIM BlackBerry PlayBook jailbroken

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Nov 302011

RIM BlackBerry PlayBookResearch In Motion’s string of bad luck seems neverending. Its BlackBerry PlayBook has now been jailbroken by a trio of hackers who identify themselves as xpvqs, neuralic and Chris Wade. A statement by the company today confirmed it is looking into the exploit:

Research In Motion (RIM) is aware of a claim made on Twitter by security researchers working together that suggests the ability to “jailbreak” a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The term “jailbreaking” is commonly used to describe altering the software on a smartphone or tablet in order to obtain access to systems or applications not officially authorized or distributed by the manufacturer. BlackBerry smartphone users are not affected. RIM is currently investigating this claim and has been in contact with one of the security researchers to discuss it.

RIM is currently not aware of a jailbreak being leveraged by anyone other than the researchers, who claim to have performed a jailbreak on their own BlackBerry PlayBook tablets only. If it is determined that the claim is accurate, RIM will follow its standard response process to develop and release a software update that is designed to minimize adverse impact to our customers or carrier partners. RIM is aware that the security researchers have stated they intend to release a tool to jailbreak the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. If such a tool is released, RIM will investigate it.

The security of mobile devices and major networked systems is tested by third-party security researchers every day. RIM also continually tests the security of its own products, and volunteers its products to recognized industry experts for security testing and certification to help identify possible issues. RIM is committed to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and to working with researchers to continue to protect our customers."

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LCBO goes mobile with iPhone and BlackBerry apps

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Nov 302011

The LCBO today announced the launch of its LCBO On The Go mobile app for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and BlackBerry devices. It provides both store and product information.

“This new app enables our customers to quickly and conveniently search out products they are seeking and find the stores that offer them,” said Ewan McNeill, Director, Interactive Customer Experience, LCBO. “This app will be especially appealing as we enter the busy holiday season where we predict customers will more frequently be turning to mobile devices for assistance in selecting and locating gifts with confidence.”

Using the app, customers will be able to browse the LCBO’s product portfolio and get information such as availability at stores, serving suggestions and tasting notes. The store locator feature will also help customers find the closest location by GPS or postal code and save favorite stores for quick access.

LCBO On The Go

LCBO On The Go is available for free from the Apple App Store and through the BlackBerry App World.

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BlackBerry Bold 9790 now available from Koodo Mobile

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Nov 302011

BlackBerry Bold 9790Koodo Mobile is the latest Canadian carrier to announce the availability of the BlackBerry Bold 9790, its second BlackBerry 7.0 device.

Koodo is offering the BlackBerry Bold 9790 contract-free for CA$250 with its Tab and CA$400 without.

Interestingly, TELUS (Koodo’s parent company) has yet to launch the BlackBerry Bold 9790 (it is coming soon though).

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Source: Mobile Syrup

HP webOS decision now expected within two weeks

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Nov 302011

Hewlett-PackardIn an interview with French-language Le Figaro, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman indicated that HP will make its decision on the fate of webOS “in the next two weeks.” She added, “This is not an easy decision, because we have a team of 600 people which is in limbo.”

Whitman also made an interesting if somewhat cryptic comment that may shed some light on which way HP is leaning. She said, “We need to have another operating system,” when speaking in reference to the decision. Could webOS be about to stage a comeback?

Recent reports have suggested that HP has been looking to sell off webOS with the condition that it could license it back at a low price for use in printers. Prospective buyers include Intel, Qualcomm and Amazon.

Whitman also acknowledged that HP could be dethroned by Apple as the largest PC manufacturer in 2012 if tablet sales are included. She also promised that HP would fight back in 2013 to return to the top spot.

Read more (in French) [Google translation]

Source: AllThingsD

Samsung unveils Exynos 5250 SoC with dual 2GHz Cortex-A15 processors

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Nov 302011

Samsung today announced its latest System-on-chip (SoC), the Exynos 5250. It is the first to incorporate ARM’s new dual-core Cortex-A15 processor which promises to double the performance of the 1.5GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 SoC.

The Exynos 5250 SoC also features improved graphics performance (as much as 4 times better) and support for stereoscopic 3D displays and resolutions up to WQXGA (2560×1600).

The Exynos 5250 SoC will be used in next-generation tablet devices. Currently being sampled, it is expected to start shipping in quantity in Q2 2012.

Read more (in Korean) [Google translation]

Source: The Verge

Galaxy Nexus volume bug fix coming ‘in the coming week’

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Nov 292011

Galaxy NexusThe volume bug plaguing some current Galaxy Nexus users could soon be a thing of the past. The Verge has learned that Google is set to begin pushing out a software fix for the issue. According to their source,

We’re currently rolling out a fix for the volume issue which will reach everyone in the coming week.

It’s likely that the update will be pushed out to a small number of users first and gradually ramp up should no additional issues be reported.

The Galaxy Nexus is set to launch in Canada on December 8th. Rumours also suggest it will launch the same day with Verizon.

Google Maps 6.0 for Android now works with indoor maps

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Nov 292011

Google today announced a new version of Google Maps for Android. The main new feature in version 6.0 is the new support for indoor maps.

When you’re inside an airport, shopping mall or retail store, a common way to figure out where you are is to look for a freestanding map directory or ask an employee for help. Starting today, with the release of Google Maps 6.0 for Android, that directory is brought to the palm of your hands, helping you determine where you are, what floor you’re on, and where to go indoors.

Indoor maps are currently only supported for a small number of retailers, airports and transit stations in the US and Japan. Among these are Chicago O’Hare (ORD), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Narita International (NRT), Mall of America, IKEA, and The Home Depot. Google is also promising to add new indoor maps to public buildings across the world in the near future.

Google Maps 6.0 for Android also comes a new way to switch between features in the toolbar and a new Places home screen.

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Still no Canadian decision on telecom foreign ownership and 700Mhz auction

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Nov 292011

Speaking today at the International Institute of Communications (IIC) Canada Conference in Ottawa, Industry Minister Christian Paradis revealed little new information about possible changes to foreign ownership rules in the telecom sector and rules for the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction. He outlined one government expectation: That Canadian carriers will be expected to offer rural Canadians the same services as to their urban customers. “Our government believes that Canadians should receive the same services wherever they live,” said Paradis.

It is unlikely that any changes to foreign ownership rules will now be announced until sometime in 2012. “Given the importance and the serious impact this will have on the lives of Canadians for years to come, this is not a decision that I nor this government will be taking lightly,” Paradis added.

One proposal being considered would allow 100 percent foreign ownership of any telecom firm with less than a 10 percent market share. Needless to say, it has both its supporters and detractors.

For the auction, the government is considering not setting aside any spectrum for new players (as it did in the 2008 auction) but is looking instead at capping the amount of spectrum that a company could buy (for example, no more than 10MHz).

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SPB Software House acquired by Yandex

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Nov 292011

SPB Software HouseIf you ever played with Windows Mobile devices, the name SPB Software House should be familiar to you. It announced yesterday that it was being acquired by Yandex, a Russian search engine company.

“Mobile is a vital part of our growth strategy. The acquisition of SPB Software creates new market potential for us and a plethora of possibilities for innovative solutions for our partners”, said Yandex’s CEO Arkady Volozh. “SPB Shell 3D is an ideal foundation on which to build up our mobile opportunity.”

Yandex’s cloud services and technologies will be integrated into SPB Shell 3D, a 3D user interface overlay available for Android and Symbian.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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BlackBerry Bold 9790 and Curve 9380 available at SaskTel this week

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Nov 292011

SaskTelSaskTel confirmed via Twitter that both the BlackBerry Bold 9790 and the BlackBerry Curve 9380 will be available later this week. The specific day has not been given though (they still show as ‘coming soon’ on SaskTel’s website as I write this).

SaskTel is offering the BlackBerry Bold for CA$129.99 with a three-year contract, CA$399.99 with a two-year contract, CA$439.99 with a one-year contract, and CA$469.99 with no contract. The BlackBerry Curve 9380 will cost CA$49.99 with a three-year contract, CA$299.99 with a two-year contract, CA$339.99 with a one-year contract, and CA$379.99 with no contract.

Read more: BlackBerry Bold 9790 and BlackBerry Curve 9380

Rumour: Nokia Lumia 900 to debut in US in early 2012

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Nov 292011

NokiaBGR has learned that Nokia will introduce a new flagship Windows Phone device as part of its upcoming North American launch. Very similar to the Lumia 800, the Lumia 900 will feature a larger display and some other enhancements.

The Lumia 900 will apparently come with a 1.4GHz processor, a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display and an 8-megapixel camera. It appears to be none other than the rumoured Nokia Ace. One new detail: It is supposed to sport Windows Phone “Tango.”

The launch will be accompanied by a big marketing campaign in January and February. This suggests that Nokia could announce the Lumia 900 at CES 2012 and launch it shortly after. Windows Phone Tango has also been rumoured to launch at CES.

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Rumour: Samsung Galaxy Note coming to Canada in Q1 2012

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Nov 292011

Samsung Galaxy NoteMobileSyrup has learned that the Samsung Galaxy Note is coming to Canada in early 2012. Described by Samsung as a “new category of product,” it is supposed to bring together all the benefits of various mobile devices while maintaining smartphone portability and “create a whole new user experience.”

Samsung Galaxy Note specifications:

  • Processor: 1.4GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE and HSPA+ 21Mbps models
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 5.3-inch WXGA (1280×800) Super AMOLED
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen, S Pen digital pen
  • Storage: 16/32GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP with LED flash
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Battery: 2500mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65 millimeters

While no final decision has been made on carriers, it appears at this point that it will end up being an exclusive device. With its LTE connectivity, could it be headed to Bell or Rogers as one of their latest LTE devices?

Pricing and specific availability details have yet to be revealed.

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Quad-core tablets coming from Acer and Lenovo in Q1 2012

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Nov 292011

It should come as no surprise that the quad-core ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime is going to get some competition soon. HTC is already rumoured to unveil its quad-core tablet, the HTC Quattro, at MWC. Digitimes is now reporting that both Acer and Lenovo will also announce quad-core tablets in Q1 2012. Both will feature NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor and Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Much like we have seen with current Android tablets, Digitimes expects that there will be little differentiation among these competitors. That would play into the hands of Apple and fast-rising Amazon, allowing them to continue to dominate the tablet market.

The sources pointed out that the competition over the quad-core tablet PCs will be difficult as these quad-core devices will only see improvements over their performance and design, but will still feature the same concept as their dual-core predecessors.

Prices for Acer’s and Lenovo’s tablets are expected to fall in the US$459 to US$599 range.

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Rumour: 4-inch iPhone 5 displays begin to ship

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Nov 282011

AppleMore rumours have surfaced that the next iPhone (the oft-rumoured iPhone 5) will sport a larger 4-inch display. Citing an “Asian source,” Japanese site Macotakara is reporting that Hitachi and Sony have started to ship the larger display for a “4-inch device.”

The report also hints at a new display for the iPad, reinforcing earlier rumours that the next iPad could use Apple’s Retina Display technology and offer much higher resolution than the current model.

If displays are already shipping, could both a new iPhone and new iPad be announced earlier than next summer?

Read more (in Japanese) [Google translation]

Source: PC Mag