Google extends Exchange ActiveSync support to July 31, 2013

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Jan 312013

Today was to have been the day that Google’s Sync service would stop being available to new Windows Phone devices. Fortunately, Microsoft yesterday announced that Google was extending their support for new Windows Phone connections to July 31st, 2013. The extension will allow Microsoft to build into their software support for CalDAV and CardDAV, the protocols to be used to connect to Google’s Calendar and Contacts services.

At the same time, the Windows Phone team is building support into our software for the new sync protocols Google is using for calendar and contacts—CalDAV and CardDAV. These new protocols, combined with our existing support for the IMAP protocol for email, will enable Windows Phone users to continue to connect to Google services after July 31, 2013.

It’s likely that Microsoft will push out a new update before July 31st to add the necessary functionality to Windows Phone devices. While devices now using the service will find that the Google Sync service will continue to work past the deadline, it’s unclear how much longer Google will support it. An update would future-proof devices against a future shutdown of the service.

Read more: Windows Phone Blog

BlackBerry CEO confirms PlayBook BlackBerry 10 upgrades

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Jan 312013

RIM BlackBerry PlayBookResearch In Motion (now known as BlackBerry) confirmed back last May that PlayBook tablets would be upgraded to BlackBerry 10 shortly after the launch of its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone. No mention was made of this at yesterday’s launch though. Fortunately for those looking for an update, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins yesterday reconfirmed this in an interview with CNBC.

We will provide BlackBerry 10 software updates for all of the PlayBooks that are out there. So, the wifi and the 4G versions, they will all be upgraded to BlackBerry 10.

No timelines for when the upgrade will roll out were provided (nor were they asked for during the interview).

If you want to see more of what Thorsten had to say, here is the video:

Asked about their plans for the tablet market, Heins described it as one that has “special rules” and RIM would look at it from a “profitability perspective” but will “continue to be in it.”

Read more: CNBC

Rogers begins taking BlackBerry Q10 reservations

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Jan 312013

As promised yesterday, Rogers today began to take reservations for the BlackBerry Q10, the first BlackBerry 10 device with a physical keyboard. There is one caveat: Reservations are only open to current Rogers customers.

Rogers BlackBerry Q10 reservation screen

More good news: The usual CA$40 reservation fee has been waived.

Specific BlackBerry Q10 launch and pricing details have not been announced. It could launch in Canada this spring.

Read more: Rogers

Samsung announces mid-range LTE Samsung Galaxy Express

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Jan 312013

Samsung Galaxy ExpressSamsung this week announced a new mid-range addition to its Galaxy line of smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy Express is billed as a “value-driven 4G LTE smartphone.” Essentially, Samsung is pushing former flagship smartphone characteristics like larger displays and LTE connectivity down to cheaper models.

Samsung GALAXY Express specifications:

  • Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Samsung TouchWiz
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE/HSPA+/EDGE
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS/GLONASS, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
  • Display: 4.5-inch WVGA (800×480) AMOLED Plus
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP AF with LED flash
  • Front-facing camera: 1.3MP
  • Connectors: 3.5mm audio jack
  • Battery: 2,000mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 132.2 × 69.1 × 9.3 millimeters / 139.1 grams
  • Colours: White

Specific availability and pricing details were not announced.

Read more: Samsung

BlackBerry Q10 to launch in Canada “this spring”

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Jan 302013

BlackBerry Q10While most of the attention today was on the BlackBerry Z10 as it will be launching first, many keyboard fans are waiting for the BlackBerry Q10. Billed as “the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone with a physical keyboard,” it will launch a bit later than the BlackBerry Z10 but the exact date has yet to be announced. Fortunately, MobileSyrup was able to get BlackBerry to narrow the launch window to sometime “this spring.”

Past rumours had suggested a launch in February or about four to six week after that of the Z10. If so, we could see the Q10 sometime in early to mid-March (around the same time as the Z10 will launch in the U.S.?).

BlackBerry did not announce the full specifications of the BlackBerry Q10. It will come with a 3.1-inch AMOLED display offering a resolution of 720 by 720 pixels, the largest battery ever found in a BlackBerry smartphone, and LTE connectivity. It uses a “unique glass-weave material” that promises to be thinner and lighter, but stronger than plastic.

Pricing details not announced either.

Read more: MobileSyrup and Inside BlackBerry

SaskTel launches LTE network

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Jan 302013

SaskTel was not kidding when it said that it would launch its LTE network in “early February 2013.” The carrier today announced that its LTE network would go live on January 31th, 2013 with service available in Regina, Saskatoon, Clavet, Dundurn, Langham, Lumsden, Martensville, Osler, Pense, Vanscoy, Warman, and White City. It adds that its network will have twice as many towers and up to 33% more speed than any other provider in Saskatchewan at launch.

“As the pace of technological change continues to accelerate and shape our future, it is important that as a province we embrace the new technology and the changes that it brings so that we can continue to grow our economy,” said Don McMorris, Minister Responsible for SaskTel. “This significant capital investment will allow SaskTel to deploy powerful new next generation technologies to better serve the people of Saskatchewan.”

SaskTel will spend an additional CA$5.2 million for Long Term Evolution expansion in 2013. Through the year, the network will be extended to include Dalmeny, Balgonie, Estevan, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton.

SaskTel has been offering its customers LTE devices for a while now in preparation for today’s launch. Among them are the Apple iPhone 5, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, and the upcoming BlackBerry Z10.

Read more: SaskTel

Nokia begins Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade rollout

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Jan 302013

Nokia today announced that it is beginning to roll out its Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade to Lumia smartphones currently running Windows Phone 7.5 as these will not be upgraded to Windows Phone 8. The Nokia Lumia 510, 610, 710, 800 and 900 will all receive upgrade notifications during February.

With Windows Phone 7.8 installed, your Nokia Lumia gets even better.

The Start screen experience is completely refreshed with the ability to re-size your tiles: small, medium and large.

In addition, there are also new options available on your lock screen, such as having a daily background image from Bing; plus there’s improved pocket and child lock screen security.

Plus, there is increased language support, meaning even more people get to enjoy Nokia Lumia.

These new benefits, together with the new look Start screen, will make your Lumia feel like a brand new smartphone.

Once you receive your notification, you will need to connect your device to your computer via Zune for PC, or the Windows Phone app for Mac.

As usual, carriers will need to approve the update before they push it out to their users.

To make sure you don’t miss the update when it is released here, check that notifications are enabled by selecting Settings > Phone Update > “Notify me when new updates are found”.

Read more: Nokia

BlackBerry Z10 to launch in Canada on February 5th

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Jan 302013

BlackBerry Z10Canada will be among the first (but not the first) to launch the new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. Following the device’s unveiling this morning, carrier availability and pricing announcements are coming in fast and furious. The launches will begin on February 5th with the following carriers already on board:

Pricing starts at CA$149.99 for most carriers with a three-year contract. Rogers is offering it for CA$139.99 for a limited time. Contract-free pricing will fall in the CA$550 to CA$650 range.

Rogers customers will also be able to pre-register for the upcoming BlackBerry Q10 starting on January 31st.

Research In Motion is now called BlackBerry

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Jan 302013
RIM BlackBerry

As part of the BlackBerry 10 launch, Research In Motion today announced that it has renamed the company to reflect its brand. As of today, the company will officially be known as BlackBerry. As Thorsten Heins announced today: “From this point forward — we are BlackBerry. One brand. One promise. Our customers use a BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry.”

BlackBerry’s CMO, Frank Boulben, explains the move in a bit more detail in the video below:

BlackBerry will trade under the symbols $BB (TSX) and $BBRY (Nasdaq).

Read more: Inside BlackBerry

Recap of BlackBerry 10 Experience Launch event

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Jan 302013

Research In MotionThe buildup is over. President and CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage today for the BlackBerry 10 Experience Launch event. Here is a summary of today’s event:

  • Introduction:
  • The most challenging but also most exhilarating year in his life
  • Recognition for the RIM team for their hard work to get to this point
  • Today is not the finish line but the starting line: BlackBerry 10 will keep people moving.
  • Today is a new day in RIM’s history. Two years ago, RIM decided to go it alone with its own mobile operating system (based on QNX).
  • Company rebrands: “From this point forward, RIM becomes BlackBerry.” / “One brand, one promise”
  • Devices and BlackBerry 10:
  • BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 (with physical keyboard) announced
  • Irrespective of which one you choose, it will be the “best keyboard experience”
  • BlackBerry 10: Demonstration of “BlackBerry Hub” multitasking along with “BlackBerry Peek” and “BlackBerry Flow”.
  • BlackBerry 10: Demonstration of “BlackBerry Keyboard” – One thumb to do all your typing
  • Multi-language predictive ability. Able to deal with typos like missed spaces
  • BlackBerry 10: Demonstration of “BlackBerry Balance” to help separate work and personal work but applications coexist to facilitate switch back and forth
  • New features in BBM include BBM Video and BBM Screenshare which lets you share your screen
  • BlackBerry Remember demonstration
  • BlackBerry Camera demonstration with TimeShift
  • Picture Editor demonstration
  • BlackBerry Story Maker: Video creation
  • BlackBerry World: Over 70,000 applications available at launch including Skype, Amazon Kindle, WhatsApp, SAP, Angry Birds Star Wars
  • BlackBerry World: All major record labels, TV and movie studios onboard
  • Availability:
  • US: BlackBerry Z10 coming in March from major carriers
  • Canada: BlackBerry Z10 will be available starting February 5th. Pricing will start at CA$149.99 with a three-year contract.
  • UK: BlackBerry Z10 to launch on January 30th
  • BlackBerry Q10 expected to launch in April in U.S.
  • In closing, Heins announced that Alicia Keys has been hired as BlackBerry Global Creative Director.

And that’s a wrap. Specific details about devices and availability to follow shortly.

Google Nexus 4 now available at Videotron

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Jan 302013

Google Nexus 4Right on schedule, Videotron has launched the Google Nexus 4. It is offering the 16GB model.

Nexus 4 is the new smartphone from Google. With cutting edge hardware, the latest version of Android, and the latest Google apps – Nexus 4 from LG puts the best of Google in the palm of your hand.

Videotron is offering the Google Nexus 4 for CA$149.95 on their “reduced price” plan and up to CA$499.95 with no contract.

It appears that Google and LG have resolved their supply issues. The Google Nexus 4 went back on sale yesterday on Google Play (and remains available to order today). Other Canadian carriers, including Fido, are also expected to launch the Nexus 4 in the coming days and weeks.

Read more: Videotron

White Google Nexus 4 spotted on leaked photo (Updated)

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Jan 292013

Along with the news that the Google Nexus 4 is on sale again today (and remains available several hours later), a leaked picture suggests that a white variant may also be on the way. The image received by PhoneArena comes from an anonymous source. The white Google Nexus 4 looks identical to the black model except for the white speckled pattern and silver trim around the camera.

Rumoured Google Nexus 4 in white

The 13MP photo was taken with an LG Optimus G sometime last week if the EXIF data is to be believed. The full-size image is available from PhoneArena if you want to do some sleuthing to see if it was photoshopped.

There is no word on when the white version could be released. Will you now wait for the white version or jump on the black one?

Update: A whole gallery of pictures of the Google Nexus 4 in white have surfaced via Vietnamese website Tinhte. Here is one of them:

White Google Nexus 4

It appears that the white will only extend to the back and sides with the front keeping its black bezel.

Read more: PhoneArena and Tinhte (in Vietnamese) [Google translation]

HTC schedules press event for February 19th

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Jan 292013

HTC today sent out invitations to a press conference that will take place on February 19th in New York City. A similar event will take place in London as well. No details were given about what HTC would announce.

HTC February 19, 2013 invitation

With earlier rumours having suggested that HTC will unveil its next flagship, the HTC M7, at an event prior to MWC 2013, it looks like we know what’s on tap for the event. Then again, HTC could also surprise us with something else entirely.

The HTC M7 is expected to come with a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, Google Android Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 5.0, a 4.7-inch Full HD (1920×1080) display, and a 13MP camera (possibly with a Sony IMX135 Exmor RS sensor). The fact that the event will be held in the U.S. supports rumours that the HTC M7 be headed to at least three major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.

Read more: BGR

Jan 292013

Google Nexus 4Good news for those here in Canada still waiting to get their hands on a Google Nexus 4 or a bumper for it. Both the 8GB and 16GB versions of the latest Nexus smartphone are listed with shipping set to “1 – 2 weeks.” The bumper (avaialble only in black) is also available for order with the same shipping ETA.

Prices have not changed: CA$309 for the 8GB model and CA$359 for the 16GB one. Bumpers are available for CA$19.99.

Read more: Google Nexus 4 and Google Nexus 4 bumper

BlackBerry Z10 retail packaging revealed?

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Jan 292013

We’ve seen plenty of pictures of the all-touch BlackBerry Z10 that RIM is expected to unveil tomorrow (along with the BlackBerry X10 with QWERTY keyboard). Now comes a picture of the retail box you can expect that BlackBerry device to come in:

RIM BlackBerry Z10 retail packaging

The contents of the box were not revealed. Aside from the smartphone itself, it will likely contain the battery, a charger and USB cable, earbuds and the usual manuals (quick start guide and warranty).

All will be revealed very soon now. There is now less than 24 hours before RIM takes to the stage to unveil its new BlackBerry 10 devices.

Read more: CrackBerry