Entry-level ASUS ME172V tablet gets benchmarked?

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Nov 302012

What appears to be an entry-level ASUS tablet has been spotted on the GLBenchmark website. Identified as the ME172V, only a few details about the device are revealed. It looks to be powered by a 1GHz processor with a Mali-400 MP GPU and Android 4.1.1. It will come with a display (likely 7-inch) with a resolution of 1024×600 pixels. To that AndroidCommunity adds that it will come with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard storage and a 4,270mAh battery.

Benchmarks for ASUS ME172V

Could it be the oft-rumoured entry-level Google Nexus tablet? Given that ASUS manufactures the Google Nexus 7 [product information], it is a possibility. At the same time, nowhere do the results specifically identify the tablet as a Google Nexus model. Some older rumours have also suggested that Google’s US$99 tablet could come from Quanta Computer (and without Nexus branding) instead. Perhaps ASUS is going at it alone this time. Perhaps it is a revised version of the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO ME171 that ASUS first announced back at CES 2012.

What do you think, Google tablet or an ASUS-branded one?

Read more: GLBenchmarks (Source: AndroidCommunity)

Video: A closer look at the BlackBerry 10 camera

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Nov 302012

Research In Motion today released a short video giving us a glimpse into how the upcoming BlackBerry 10 camera will work. Not only will it take “great” pictures and HD video but it also promises to “solve some of the problems that you encounter every day when you use a camera.”

One exciting new feature is called Tim Shift. As explained by Arun Kumar, Senior Product Manager, Multimedia at BlackBerry, it allows you to make adjustments to a photo by moving forward and back in time to select the most appropriate photo portion. For example, you can use it to select the moment when your subject’s eyes are open.

BlackBerry 10 will also allow users to personalize photos and share their “life stories with others.”

RIM will unveil BlackBerry 10 and its first two BlackBerry 10 smartphones on January 30th, 2013.

Read more: Inside BlackBerry

Koodo launches Samsung Galaxy S III

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Nov 302012

Samsung Galaxy S IIIKoodo made good on its promise today and became the latest Canadian carrier to offer the Samsung Galaxy S III [product information]. It is already available at Koodo Shops and will be available “soon” at other retail partners.

Koodo is also offering a free $100 bonus gift when you buy the Samsung Galaxy S III with a new activation on the Tab at participating Koodo Shops locations. The offer will be available while quantities last.

Koodo is offering the Samsung Galaxy S III for CA$400 on the Koodo Tab or CA$550 outright.

Read more: Koodo Mobile

Canadian Apple stores now selling unlocked iPhone 5

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Nov 302012

Apple iPhone 5Since the Apple iPhone 5 went on sale on September 21st, Canadians have only been able to buy it unlocked through the Apple online store. As of today, there is another option. Apple retail stores in Canada are now started unlocked versions as well as locked ones.

Apple does have a few rules:

  • Before 4PM you are allowed to purchase up to 2 unlocked units per person in-store.
  • After 4PM, you will have to reserve online via Apple.ca for in-store pick up the next day. Note below iPhone reservations are accepted between 7AM and 1PM daily

Much as they do online, prices start at CA$699 for the 16GB iPhone 5 and run up to CA$899 for the 64GB version.

There is good news for those south fo the border as well. The previously unavailable unlocked iPhone 5 is now available in the U.S. starting at US$649 through the U.S. Apple online store. It is not yet available in Apple stores though.

Read more: iPhoneInCanada

Vidéotron launches Sony Xperia T

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Nov 302012

Sony Xperia TThe Sony Xperia T [product information], the smartphone used by none other than James Bond in his latest adventure, is now available from Vidéotron.

You can enjoy state-of-the-art technology with the new Sony Xperia T – the Bond phone. With its 13 MP HD camera, 1080p HD recording capability, and the fact that it can go from sleep to snap in just over a second, the Xperia T captures it all in stunning detail. And with its 4.6-inch HD Mobile BRAVIA® Engine screen, it captures videos and pictures that are crisp in every detail. In short, you won’t believe your eyes!

Vidéotron is currently offering the Sony Xperia T starting at CA$89.95 on a “reduced price” plan and up to CA$549.95 with no contract.

Read more: Vidéotron

Microsoft Surface RT supply chain orders cut by half?

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Nov 292012

Microsoft SurfaceFollowing rumours that Surface RT sales were not meeting Microsoft’s own sales forecasts comes word that supply chain orders for Microsoft’s tablet have been cut in half. Citing its usual “sources from the upstream supply chain,” Digitimes indicates that Microsoft has reduced its 2012 orders from 4 million to 2 million units. Prospects for the upcoming quarter may not be any better.

And there is more bad news for Microsoft. Lower than expected Windows RT tablet sales do not apppear to be limited to Microsoft. The report adds that Asustek Computer, Samsung Electronics and Dell are also seeing weak demand.

The report closes by suggesting that Microsoft may bump up the launch of its Surface with Windows 8 Pro or reduce its price. That seems unlikely given Microsoft’s announcement earlier today.

Read more: Digitimes

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro gets priced (Updated)

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Nov 292012

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 ProMicrosoft today announced availability and pricing details for its upcoming Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablet [product information]. Unlike the Microsoft Surface RT [product information], this version will be powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 8 Pro.

The Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro will be available starting in January 2013 in either 64GB or 128GB configurations. The 64GB will sell for US$899 and the 128GB one for US$999. Both versions will come with a Surface pen with Palm Block technology. Accessories including the Touch Cover and Type Cover will be sold separately. In comparison, the Windows RT version starts at US$499 and comes with an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and 32GB of storage.

Unlike the Surface RT, the Surface with Windows 8 Pro will run current Windows 7 desktop applications.

Microsoft will announce more specific availability dates in the coming weeks.

Update: According to Microsoft’s @Surface Twitter account, the Surface Pro will have “approximately half” the battery life of the Surface RT. Despite having a larger battery, it will have a more powerful processor and a higher resolution display, both of which will consume more power. With the Surface RT battery life coming in at about 8 hours, we can expect that of the Surface with Windows 8 Pro to come in at about 4 hours.

Read more: The Official Microsoft Blog and @Surface [via Twitter]

Canadian launch for Samsung ATIV S delayed to mid-December

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Nov 292012

Samsung ATIV SThe Samsung ATIV S [product information] was to have launched in Canada sometime in November. According to a statement from Samsung Canada received by MobileSyrup, the launch has slipped a little bit:

“We are committed to launch the ATIV S nationally, on Rogers, Bell and TELUS, as well as Sasktel. We are planning to ship to carriers in early December, and should have supply at stores by mid month.”

Pricing for the Samsung ATIV S is expected to start around CA$149.99 with a three-year contract.

Read more: MobileSyrup

RIM announces BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C with QWERTY keyboard

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Nov 292012

Research In MotionResearch In Motion today announced that it will offer a third BlackBerry 10 developer smartphone model. Unlike the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha A and Alpha B, the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C will come with a physical QWERTY keyboard.

As you know, there are BlackBerry 10 smartphones coming in Q1 2013 – an all-touch model similar to the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, and a BlackBerry 10 smartphone with our industry-defining BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard.

Today we announced the next phase of the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha program – the BlackBerry Dev Alpha C. It is a testing device for developers so that you can adjust, debug, and test your BlackBerry 10 applications to get ready for the launch of the BlackBerry 10 QWERTY device next year.

Only a limited number of BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C devices will be produced. Developers wishing to get their hands on one will need to apply for it with RIM prioritizing access based on a point system:

  • Two or more applications submitted
  • 50 points for ported Android™ applications
  • 250 points for all other applications (Native, BlackBerry® WebWorks™, Adobe® AIR®)
  • 1500 points for Built For BlackBerry certified application
  • BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha A/B recipients start with 200 points
  • BlackBerry Elite Members start with 200 points

The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C offer will run from December 1, 2012 through February 5, 2013.

RIM will launch BlackBerry 10 on January 30th with two new BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

Read more: Research In Motion

Google Nexus 4 shipment times slide into 2013

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Nov 292012

The Google Nexus 4 [product information] will continue to prove elusive for many as 2012 wraps up. First, it sold out in mere minutes when it went on sale back on November 13th. Hope returned when Google announced that it would resume sales in the U.S. a couple of days ago. While the Google Play site once again suffered from overwhelming demand, the Nexus 4 has remained on sale since then. So far, so good.

Now the bad news. Shipping times have slipped quite a bit. The 16GB version now shows that a shipping ETA of 4 to 5 weeks. It’s even worse for the 8GB model: 8 to 9 weeks. If you order the 16GB model, you might get it by year’s end but early 2013 appears more likely.

Google Nexus 4 U.S. shipping ETA
Click for a larger version

On a more positive note, Google appears to be learning from the rocky Nexus 4 launch. Until this week, Google had simply put up a ‘Sold out’ sign and did not take any orders. Interested buyers would come back to the site at least once a day to see if they could place their order. Now, they can get their order in and wait (im)patiently for it to show up at their door.

Unfortunately, the Canadian situation is a little different. The Nexus 4 has been unavailable since November 13th. Some rumours suggest we could see sales resume around December 7th. For now, we remain unable to place an order even if we want to wait for it to show in 2013.

Read more: Google Play

Microsoft Windows Phone 7.8 update coming in “early 2013”

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Nov 282012

Windows PhoneWhile Microsoft has been focused on the launch of Windows Phone 8 and new devices, there has been little news about its Windows Phone 7.8 update for existing Windows Phone 7 devices. That changed today with a blog post that shed some light on when we will see it. It is currently working with its hardware partners and hopes to start rolling it out in early 2013.

Aside from its new Start screen with resizable Live Tiles, Windows Phone 7.8 will also come with 20 theme and accent colors “so you can make your phone even more personal,” new lock screen features: the option to automatically display the Bing Picture of the Day plus the ‘A1B2C3’ PIN/password challenge to prevent accidental device wipes on phones connected to Exchange accounts. There will also be new apps including Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars.

Microsoft also announced that new models running Windows Phone 7.8 should be hitting the street in the near future.

These devices will typically be sold at a range of lower price points, meaning there will now be Windows Phones for everyone’s budget and need. This is incredibly important for broadening the reach of Windows Phone across the globe and ensuring we have the right product for every market.

With Windows 7.8, it will also be possible to buy apps through the Xbox service in 95 countries, 30% more than before.

Read more: Microsoft

BlackBerry 10 L-Series in lineup with Samsung Galaxy Note, Nokia Lumia 820 and Apple iPhone 5

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Nov 282012

We’ve seen RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 L-Series all-touch smartphone next to the Apple iPhone 5 and then next to the Nokia Lumia 820. In the latest picture, it shows up next to both these as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Like the previous pictures, it gives us a good sense of the size of the device:

RIM BlackBerry 10 L-Series in device lineup

The BlackBerry 10 L-Series is rumoured to come with a 4.2-inch display with an HD (1280×768) resolution.

RIM will formally unveil its BlackBerry 10 devices on January 30th, 2013.

Read more: BBin.in (Source: CrackBerry)

HTC appoints new Chief Marketing Officer

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Nov 282012

HTCHTC today announced the appointment of a new Chief Marketing Officer as it looks to turn its fortunes around in 2013. Benjamin Ho will take over as Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for worldwide marketing and branding, in January 2013.

“We welcome Benjamin to HTC and look forward to integrating the global marketing capabilities he brings to the company, said Peter Chou, CEO HTC. “Our growing brand, centered around our world-class innovation and design capabilities, will provide a global platform not just for HTC, but for Taiwan culture and innovation.”

Ho already has his first assignment. A project internally called Marketing 2.0 will see Ho look to refocus “HTC’s efforts around holistic marketing and mass-market brand outreach.”

Benjamin Ho replaces the departing John Wang.

Read more: HTC

Apple to switch to TSMC from Samsung for chip supply in 2013?

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Nov 282012

AppleIn the latest sign that their nasty legal battle is straining their business relationship, a report suggests that Apple is looking to drop Samsung as a chip supplier in 2013. First came rumours that Apple would shift iPad and MacBook battery production from Samsung to Amperex Technology and Tianjin Lishen Battery. Now comes word from Digitimes that Apple is also looking to drop Samsung as its custom ARM-based chip supplier in favour of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacture Company (TSMC) in 2013.

Company chairman and CEO Morris Chang recently hinted that TSMC could dedicate one or even two whole fabs to a single customer, leading to speculation that this would be none other than Apple. With Apple needing some 200 million processors for its iPads and iPhones, TSMC would need at least 200,000 12-inch wafers just to meet that demand.

The report is also causing concern among TSMC’s current customers which include Altera, Qualcomm and Nvidia. For example, TSMC struggled with supply issues for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 chipset in 2012. It remains to be seen if TSMC could manage the additional orders without impacting other customers any further.

Read more: Digitimes

RIM loses WLAN patent battle to Nokia

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Nov 282012

Research In MotionAfter some recent good news, Research In Motion today was dealt yet another setback. A dispute with Nokia over WLAN patents has gone in Nokia’s favour. In a U.S. court filing seeking to enforce the ruling, Nokia indicates that RIM was found to be “in breach of contract and is not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia.” Similar cases have been filed in Britain and Canada.

Unless RIM can come to terms with Nokia, likely additional royalties, it could face a sales ban on its BlackBerry devices. The ban would also extend to RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices.

Nokia and RIM first entered into a cross-license agreement covering standards-essential cellular patents back in 2003. The agreement was amended in 2008. In March 2011, RIM sought to have the license extended to cover WLAN patents. The decision, finally reached on November 6th, went in Nokia’s favour, prompting the court cases.

Read more: Reuters