Canadian Samsung Galaxy Note II Jelly Bean upgrade rollout begins Wednesday

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Feb 042013

There was good news from Samsung Canada yesterday among all the tweets about the Super Bowl and The Next Big Thing. The Canadian arm of the manufacturer announced that the Jelly Bean upgrade for the Galaxy Note II would begin rolling out on Wednesday, February 6th:

As you can see from the tweet, it will include Samsung’s Multi Window function as well as Chinese language support.

While Samsung did not provide additional details, the rollout will likely be staggered by carrier (as we have seen in the past). With the Note II carried by Bell, Mobilicity, Rogers, SaskTel, TELUS, Videotron, and WIND Mobile, it may be a few more days at least before everyone sees it on their device. As usual, you will be able to check manually to see if the upgrade is available yet: Settings -> About phone -> System Updates -> Check now.

Read more: Samsung Canada [via Twitter]

Video: The BlackBerry Z10 Super Bowl ad

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Feb 032013

Just before a power outage halted the Super Bowl just as the second half was getting underway, BlackBerry’s BlackBerry Z10 ad aired. The 30 second ad focused on a few things that BlackBerry 10 cannot do, explaining those colourful puffs of smoke and bouncing yellow rubber ducks:

The ad was a one-time deal and will not feature in BlackBerry’s upcoming Keep Moving ad campaign which gets underway February 4th.

Was the ad everything you expected and more? Or the opposite?

Read more: BlackBerry [via Twitter]

Carbon for Twitter app now available for Android

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Feb 032013

It has been a while in coming but Dots & Lines have at last launched their Carbon for Twitter Android app. It features a timeline design that aims to put everything on one screen to cut down on having to switch between views to get all your information.

The idea behind the design in Carbon has always been giving our users access to all of their Twitter content in one screen without the need to drill down to different screens to get them. Timeline, Mentions, Messages on the home screen, an extended Lists, Favorites, Trends as an extended screen to the main screen. All there.

Carbon for Twitter

Despite being an initial release, it appears to be full-featured already. It supports a number of features including threaded direct messages, support for multiple accounts, filters for hashtags, users, and keywords, and more. For now, there is one limitation that may keep you from installing this first version on some of your devices: There is no tablet support yet. It looks like Dots & Lines will develop a tablet-specific app but there is no ETA yet.

Future updates will add more customisable options and settings and non-Twitter options. Best of all and as promised, Carbon for Twitter is available for free. That includes no ads, this is the full version of the app.

Here’s hoping that Carbon for Twitter puts an end to the revolving door of Twitter apps on Gadgetorama’s smartphones.

Read more: Google Play

Video: Samsung Super Bowl ad

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Feb 032013

BlackBerry is not the only hardware manufacturer with an ad set for today’s Super Bowl. Samsung has Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen making a pitch to Bob Odenkirk for “The Next Big Thing.” As you would expect from such a cast, hilarity ensues.

Unlike many of Samsung’s past Next Big Thing ads, this one focuses on the company’s entire Galaxy lineup of smartphones and tablets (when not playing second fiddle to Rudd and Rogen) and does not poke fun at Apple.

As if there was not enough star power behind ad, it is reportedly directed by Jon Favreau who wrote and starred in Swingers and directed the first two Iron Man movies (among others).

I found the trailer, called El Plato Supreme, for the ad funnier so I include it here for your entertainment:

What do you think of the ad?

Read more: Samsung [via YouTube]

Samsung to unveil Galaxy S IV at dedicated event after MWC 2013?

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Feb 032013

This one should not come as a surprise. Despite some rumours that Samsung will unveil the Samsung Galaxy S IV at MWC 2013, most have suggested instead that Samsung would use a dedicated Unpacked event much as it did last year with the Galaxy S III. You can now add CNET to the list for the latter hypothesis. According to “a person familiar with its launch plans,” Samsung will not make any major announcements at MWC 2013 and will instead hold a separate event for its latest flagship smartphone. This would certainly explain some of its recent announcements such as the Galaxy Express and Galaxy Xcover 2.

Most recently, Samsung used dedicated events to unveil the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II (among others). It’s a growing trend among manufacturers who use such events to give their products as much attention as possible both from the media as well as consumers. BlackBerry did so this week for the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 and HTC is holding an event on February 19th just days ahead of Mobile World Congress.

Most rumours expect that Samsung’s Galaxy S IV event will take place sometime between March and April.

Read more: CNET

Another BlackBerry 10 Super Bowl ad teaser

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Feb 022013

With BlackBerry 10 having officially launched this week alongside the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10, the BlackBerry marketing machine is in high gear to get the word out. Part of its marketing blitz includes a 30 second ad that will air during tomorrow’s Super Bowl. Yesterday, it teased us with an image from the ad and it’s doing it again today with a new one:

BlackBerry 10 Super Bowl ad teaser

Clouds of smoke, bouncing balls, whatever BlackBerry has in mind, it promises to be colourful. Hopefully it will also be clever and catchy! Fortunately, with the game only a day away, we will not have to wait too long to see the ad revealed in its entirety.

Read more: BlackBerry [via Twitter]

Rumour: ASUS to announce Padfone 3 at MWC 2013

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Feb 022013

ASUS Padfone 2The ASUS Padfone 2 is less than six months old but Digitimes reports that ASUS will unveil the next generation of its smartphone-tablet hybrid device at MWC 2013 later this month. No details about the Padfone 3 (assuming that will be its name) were provided.

If the overall dimensions of the smartphone itself do not change, it could work with the current ASUS Padfone 2 Station, allowing ASUS to offer an alternative configuration to customers.

As for its predecessor, the Padfone 2 appears to be doing relatively well for ASUS. It is reportedly nearing global sales of 1 million units. With shipments ongoing, it should be able to surpass the million mark in the near future. Perhaps ASUS will expand availability to include North America with the next model.

The report adds that ASUS will announce the Padfone 3 alongside new smartphone models with large displays. An 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet, the VivoTab TF810, will also be announced sometime this month (perhaps at MWC as well?).

There is little to go on here so take this with a healthy dose of skepticism for now. Let’s see if some corroborating evidence surfaces in the coming days.

Read more: Digitimes

Huawei to unveil Ascend P2 Mini along with Ascend P2 at MWC 2013?

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Feb 022013

Huawei could announce more than two devices at its upcoming MWC 2013 press conference. Rumours so far suggest that the Chinese manufacturer will announce the Ascend P2, possibly the world’s thinnest smartphone, along with the Ascend W2, the thinnest Windows Phone 8 device. Now comes word of a third device, the Huawei Ascend P2 Mini.

As the name suggests, the Ascend P2 Mini appears to be a smaller sibling to the Ascend P2 both in terms of size and specifications. According to leaked details, it will sport a 4-inch HD (1280×720) display, 1GB of RAM, and an 8MP camera.

As for the Huawei Ascend P2, the report suggests that it will come with a 1.8GHz quad-core HiSilicon K3V2 processor, a 4.7-inch Full HD (1920×1080) display (we’ve heard rumours of a 4.5- and 5-inch display in the past), a 13MP camera, and a 2,200mAh battery. It adds that it retain physical buttons and will be about 8.5 millimeters thick. If so, it can give up on its claim of world’s thinnest phone. It would also be offered in a variety of colours.

There is no word on availability and pricing. All we know is that the Ascend P2 Mini will sell for less than the Ascend P2.

Read more: MyDrivers (in Chinese) [Google translation] (Source: Techkiddy)

Motorola X Phone specifications begin to leak?

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Feb 012013
Motorola Mobility

While rumours so far have hinted to Motorola working on a new flagship smartphone, the Motorola X Phone, that could be unveiled at Google I/O 2013, there has been little information about the specifications of the device. Fortunately, it looks like those details are now starting to emerge.

According to a PhoneArena source, Motorola is focusing on two key areas: Durability and battery life. The first will be addressed with a Kevlar chassis similar to what we have seen on other recent Motorola smartphones (like the Motorola ATRIX HD). For the latter, the Motorola X Phone could pack a battery with a capacity “in the realm of Moto’s MAXX line of handsets.” That would suggest battery with a capacity around 3,300mAh. Other specifications include a quad-core processor, a stock version of Android (Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie perhaps?), a 4.8-inch display (slightly smaller than earlier rumours suggested), a microSD card slot and online storage option that could go all the way up to 128GB. Without providing details, the camera is described as a “much better camera” and possibly with a Sony Exmor sensor.

Earlier rumours have indicated that the Motorola X Phone could go on sale on July 8th in the U.S. Verizon could offer it for US$299 with contract, a price that hopefully is for the 128GB model with cheaper options with less capacity.

If Motorola can deliver on the promise of these rumours, this could be quite the smartphone…

Read more: PhoneArena

Bell launches Windows Phone 8S by HTC

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Feb 012013

Windows Phone 8S by HTCBell’s Windows Phone 8 device lineup got a little bit bigger today with the launch of the Windows Phone 8S by HTC. It joins the already available Samsung ATIV S and the Windows Phone 8X by HTC.

This affordable superphone comes equipped with a 1 GHz dual-core processor and runs on the new Windows Phone 8 operating system. Live Tiles allow you to fully customize your Start screen – and they let you see everything that’s happening in your life in a single glance. Plus, the HTC 8S comes equipped with Beats Audio™, delivering the most authentic audio experience available.

Bell is offering the Windows Phone 8S by HTC for free on a three-year contract or CA$279.95 contract-free.

Read more: Bell

BlackBerry 10 Super Bowl ad teaser

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Feb 012013

BlackBerry will be among the companies putting down millions of dollars to have their BlackBerry 10 ad run during the Super Bowl on Sunday February 3rd. It took to Twitter today to post a teaser of what the ad will be about:

2013 Super Bowl BlackBerry ad teaser

Any thoughts on what the 30-second ad will be about? It promises to be colourful if nothing else. And an appearance by the new BlackBerry Z10 (and perhaps even a Q10) should not be ruled out.

Here’s hoping that BlackBerry has come up with a clever and catchy ad!

Read more: BlackBerry

Rumour: HTC to follow up M7 with HTC M4 and HTC G2

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Feb 012013

HTC’s next flagship device, the HTC M7, has received a fair amount of attention ahead of its expected announcement on February 19th. It is unlikely to be the only device HTC launches in early 2013 though. Little has been heard about other HTC devices until today though. The usually reliable @evleaks now reports that HTC has two additional devices in the works. Codenamed the HTC M4 and HTC G2 (not to be confused with the earlier T-Mobile G2), they will round out HTC’s product lineup for early 2013.

With the HTC M7 being the next flagship device, the HTC M4 will hold down the mid-tier level with the HTC G2 being the new entry level model. Here is what we know so far about the HTC M4:

  • Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon
  • Operating system: Google Android Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 5.0
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE where supported
  • Display: 4.3-inch HD (1280×720)
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 13MP with f/2.0 and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: 1.6MP FF
  • Battery: 1,700mAh

As for the HTC G2, its specifications clearly indicate an entry-level device:

  • Processor: 1.0GHz ARM Cortex
  • Operating system: Google Android Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Display: 3.5-inch HVGA (320×480)
  • Memory: 512MB
  • Storage: 4GB onboard and microSD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Battery: 1,400mAh

While the HTC M7 could launch within weeks of its expected announcement (perhaps as early as late February), the HTC M4 and HTC G2 are not expected to launch until the spring. They could be announced at MWC 2013 or even a bit later.

Read more: UnwiredView

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