CRTC rules data caps can't be used to give an unfair advantage to carriers' own services
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a decision on Thursday, acting on a complaint regarding data caps and preferred traffic. Wireless carriers Bell Mobility and Videotron both have their own subscription mobile television services, neither of which count towards the data caps written into subscribers' contracts, while competitor's services -- such as Netflix -- do, providing the carriers with incentive to sell larger data plans or favor their own offerings. With today's ruling, that practice must end.
Carriers may have been discouraged from selling rival phones
More details have emerged on the Canadian Competition Bureau's investigation into Apple's carrier deals, Reuters reports. Most important may be the Bureau's specific goals, which are to learn if Apple has been discouraging carriers from offering discounts or other incentives for competing phones, or even offering those phones at all. "The contractual obligations [with the carriers] may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services," reads an affidavit from Vincent Millette, the head of the Bureau's probe.
Complaints say contracts may have been anti-competitive
The Canadian government's Competition Bureau is investigating complaints that Apple used anti-competitive clauses in the contracts it signed with phone carriers, Reuters reports. Although the Bureau stresses that it has yet to uncover any wrongdoing, it has only this week asked for a court order that would force Apple to turn over necessary documents. The organization hasn't said if it's pursuing similar orders for the carriers, which include Bell, Rogers, and Telus.
Sony's latest waterproof smartphone to be available in May through Bell
Sony and Bell announced today the exclusive availability of Xperia Z2 waterproof smartphone in the Canadian market. The Xperia Z2 has a 5.2-inch screen, is 8.2mm (0.33-inch) thick, offers 4K video recording, and can utilize new Xperia camera apps. Sony's Xperia Z2 will be available in black, white and purple across Canada from Bell Mobility in May 2014.
Purpose likely related to potential smartphone lawsuits
Apple has agreed to pay 1 billion yen, roughly $10 million US, to license patents originally devised by Palm and Palm OS creator PalmSource, among other companies, according to Macotakara. The patents are now owned by a Japanese company called Access. Beyond the Palm properties, Apple has also licensed concepts belonging to Geoworks and Bell Communications Research.
Pebble firmware update fixes showstopping bug
Kickstarter-funded smartwatch Pebble has received an update to fix a showstopping bug. The new 1.9.1 firmware came into being following reports received by Engadget of users finding their timepieces stopped working after shutting down, and is said to fix the issue. Customers with watches on older firmware that do not switch back on can request for a replacement through e-mail or the companion Pebble app.
Leak places Samsung ATIV S for mid-December launch
A tipster has handed Mobile Syrup a screenshot from what appears to be a Bell Canada inventory showing that the Samsung ATIV S could be set for sale on December 14. The long-awaited Windows Phone 8 flagship handset is expected retail for $80 on a three-year plan or off-contract for $600. The ATIV S was the first major Windows Phone 8 handset to be unveiled earlier this year, however it has been subject to delay with speculation surrounding the short supply of its 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display.
Xperia T coming to Bell, Rogers, and other Canadian carriers this November
Sony's Xperia T, which is also being called the Bond phone on account of its upcoming cameo in the Skyfall blockbuster flick, will arrive this November at various Canadian wireless providers, Sony announced on Wednesday. While a specific date hasn't been nailed down, Bell, Mobilicity, MTS, Rogers, and Videotron will begin carrying the phone in November. Pricing hasn't been revealed, but the associated contracts, as applicable will no doubt last three years and require data plans.
Bell to launch free Wi-Fi hotspots in 90 percent of Tim Hortons by September
Fast food restaurant Tim Hortons and Bell on Thursday announced they have began rolling out free Wi-Fi access at Tim Hortons locations throughout Canada. By September, the two hope to offer such access to 90 percent of the locations, or more than 2,000 locations. The announcement comes after six months of testing of the hotspots using the services of various providers.
Bell now offeirn HTC One V for $0 on a three-year term
The HTC One V smartphone is now available in Canada at provider Bell. On a three-year contract, the phone won't require any up-front payment, though the required voice and data plan is at least $50 CAD ($50.30). Contract-free, the phone is priced at $300 CAD (about $302).
MOTOLUXE reaching Canada in spring
Motorola brought one of its 2012 international phones to North America for the first time on Monday. The MOTOLUXE should be reaching Canada through one or more carriers sometime in the spring. Which carriers, and other launch details, were left out for the Android phone.
LG Optimus True HD LTE expands reach
LG on Friday grew the reach of the Optimus True HD LTE to more countries than just Germany. The 4G phone is now launching in Portugal and Sweden in a slightly larger European release as well as the headlining Asian cities of Hong Kong and Singapore. The device is an international edition of the Optimus LTE already on sale in Canada as the Optimus 4G LTE at Bell and the US as the Nitro HD at AT&T.
Bell launches PTT service on three handsets
Canadian provider Bell on Tuesday introduced its Push-to-Talk service, based on the provider's 4G-branded service that offers HSPA+ download speeds of up to 21Mbps. It also launched a new rugged handset that can take advantage of it with the Sonim XP5520 Bolt. Bell's Samsung Galaxy S II 4G and BlackBerry Curve 9360 can also take advantage of the network and PTT service.
Dual-core phone launch to be Bell exclusive
Samsung's Galaxy S II HD LTE is coming to Canada, and Bell Canada will be the exclusive carrier for the "superphone" at launch. The Samsung-Bell partnership marks the North American debut for the Galaxy S II HD LTE, which launched in Korea last year.
RIM may be close to BBM Android and PlayBook 4G
RIM could be getting close to releasing a pair of major projects based on a pair of tentative rumors in mid-week. One possible sighting emerging from TechnoBuffalo had BlackBerry Messenger being run on an Android device for testing purposes. The lone shot had few extra details, but conspicuously showed an "iPhone test" contact entry, suggesting RIM was developing for both platforms.
Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note first on list
Canadian wireless carrier Bell appears to have established an Android 4.0 update timetable for several of its handsets. A alleged internal memo posted by Mobilesyrup suggests the carrier has set June as a target for Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.9 and HTC's Sensation and Raider smartphones.
HTC One V may up ante for budget phones
The HTC One V may be coming to Virgin Mobile's US branch. Tips to PocketNow early this week had the aluminum unibody Android 4.0 phone coming to the carrier in late spring. It would cost under $200 off-contract on Virgin, making it not just Virgin's most advanced smartphone but also one of its more affordable models.
iPad 2012 gets our thorough look
Once having the tablet arena almost entirely to itself, Apple is now in the middle of a full-scale battle: everyone who could have a tablet does, and even Amazon's Kindle Fire is in the fray at a very low price. The new iPad, then, faces the challenge of not just being the best but of giving buyers a reason to spend more than $199. A record-setting display, new graphics and 4G go a long way, but we'll learn in our review of the new 2012 iPad to see if it's enough to keep the crown.
Allows foreign ownership, sets auction rules
The Canadian government has issued several long awaited decisions that will alter that country's telecommunications landscape. It has announced that it will open up greater ownership of Canadian telecom providers by foreign investors. It will also set aside 25 percent of an upcoming auction of prime spectrum for smaller carriers.
FCC tests HSPA+, LTE PlayBook tablets
The promised LTE version of the PlayBook tablet has now been spotted at the FCC. An HSPA+ version is also undergoing testing at the government agency. Both are expected to get NFC and a dual-core, 1.5GHz processor.
Upgraded with Retina Display, quad-core A5X chip
Apple today announced the third-generation iPad at an event in San Francisco. The device's main feature is a 2048x1536 Retina Display, twice the resolution of the iPad 2, rated at 264 pixels per inch; existing apps will be upscaled automatically. Color saturation is said to be 44 percent higher. The tablet also makes the switch to a new dual-core but quad graphics processor, the A5X, which Apple says is built with the Retina Display in mind. Interface-wise the tablet has been improved with features like voice dictation.
HTC One X near confirmed through tips
The HTC One X has had virtually all its details slip through the scoop of numerous official PR files. Greece's FullGSM got both more images of the quad-core phone itself as well as its spec sheet. Images show a slim design braced by the 4.7-inch, 720p Super LCD 2 display and reinforce that it should be using Android 4.0 with the slightly improved Sense 4.0 layer on top.
ZTE PF200 and N910 with LTE show ahead of MWC
(Update: pictures) ZTE early Monday gave a sneak peek at two phones it plans to launch at Mobile World Congress next week. Both the PF200 and N910 will have LTE-based 4G and run Android 4.0. At the top, the PF200 will have a 4.3-inch, 540x960 (qHD) display, a 1.5GHz processor (likely a Snapdragon), an eight-megapixel back camera, and rarities of both a 1080p front camera and NFC wireless.
Samsung Galaxy Note mega phone gets our review
Samsung made much ado of the Galaxy Note during the Super Bowl: the massive 5.3-inch screen and pen were tickets to "freedom" from the comparatively tiny iPhone. But are size and handwriting giving smartphone owners real choice, or is it an attempt to shoehorn the phone/tablet crossover into a market that doesn't want it? Our review of the Galaxy Note will find out if it's rethinking smartphones or just rewinding back to 2006-era PDAs.
HTC vows Verizon, Rogers, Bell phone upgrades
HTC has expanded on its Android 4.0 upgrade plans to include more of its North American lineup, most of all Verizon's hardware. It had already included the Rezound in its plans, but it now intended as of Friday to include the Droid Incredible 2, Rhyme, and Thunderbolt among the upgrades. The exact timetable wasn't outlined.
iPad 3 should get multi-carrier launch
Fresh details leaked Monday have an LTE iPad 3 shipping for at least two US carriers. AT&T and Verizon would both sell the tablet at 4G speeds, the Wall Street Journal said. Whether or not Sprint's upcoming LTE network wasn't mentioned, but the hardware would have the expected fallback to 3G in areas where LTE wasn't available.
ISPs don't control content court ruled
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Internet access providers are not broadcasters. The ruling means that Canadian Internet providers such as Bell, Rogers, and Telus can't be forced to carry Canadian content on streams or downloads. It also means that they don't have to make payments into funds that subsidize the creation of local Canadian content.
Telus becomes 3rd Canadian carrier with LTE
Telus became the third Canadian carrier with an LTE-based 4G network on Thursday. Starting on February 10 in Halifax, the carrier will have the same 75Mbps peak download speeds and 12-25Mbps averages as the existing networks from rivals Bell and Rogers. It plans to kick off the network with the Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE, LG's Optimus LTE smartphone, and Novatel's Ovation MC679 modem; the Galaxy Note with LTE will be available on February 14.
Tentative claim has Apple TV set tested in Canada
Unusual rumors on Monday had Apple negotiating for fabled TV set with Canadian telecom providers Bell and Rogers. The respective satellite and cable TV providers were said by the Globe and Mail to be Apple targets as they had "wireless and broadband capabilities" that could be used for launch partners. The two allegedly even had prototypes in their labs.
Galaxy Note orders begin early
Both Americans and Canadians alike got the opportunity to preorder the Samsung Galaxy Note on Sunday. An AT&T listing lets Americans pick the 4G device and a matching plan ahead of the February 19 release. Contract-free purchases aren't available ahead of time on the $300 Android phone, although both the very dark carbon blue and ceramic white colors are options.
Samsung Galaxy Note LTE may hit Canada first
AT&T's launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note might be preempted by a very wide Canadian release. Bell, Rogers, and Telus have all committed early this week to carrying the LTE version of the 5.3-inch phone and tablet crossover. Although Bell and Telus have only listed it as "coming soon," Rogers has officially committed to a mid-February launch, making it probable that all three will launch at or near the same time.
Motorola MOTOLUXE and Defy Mini up cheap Android
Motorola sought to raise the baseline on Android smartphones Thursday with a pair of new world models. The MOTOLUXE runs on a modest 800MHz processor but has a four-inch, 480x854 screen, eight-megapixel back and VGA front cameras, and a fairly healthy 1,400mAh battery good for 6.5 hours of talk. Borrowing a slight cue from the HTC Rhyme, the lanyard slot lights up for missed calls, mail, and text.
Android needs to live up to its ambitions
There's a moment at the end of the movie 1900 (one of Robert De Niro's great early roles) where the peasants think they've finally won the revolution as Italy's fascists are overthrown. We're free, our harsh rulers are dead or gone! Then, however, the "revolutionary committee" comes and says they must give up their guns. After they do, they realize that they have just as little power as they did before; they just handed the power to another master, and now they don't have the righteous energy to fight back.
Bell backs off traffic limits after CRTC decision
Bell Canada has backed off of plans to throttle peer-to-peer traffic on its network following a CRTC decision that could make it illegal. As of March 1, neither Bell itself nor wholesalers on its network will see connections slow down when BitTorrent or similar traffic goes through. The Internet provider spun the decision as a reflection of a "diminishing" ratio of peer-to-peer traffic in favor streaming and other means of getting the same content.
Globalive said to be attempting to expand reach
Canadian wireless carrier Globalive, which is better known by its subsidiary brand Wind Mobile, is reportedly in talks to acquire competing carrier Mobilicity. An unnamed person familiar with the negotiations told Bloomberg that Globalive is attempting to build its presence in the Canadian market to compete with dominant carriers Bell, Rogers and Telus.
We review the smallest BlackBerry ever
RIM has usually tried to chase the high end of the smartphone market when it adds a touchscreen: the Storm, the Torch, and the newest Bold phones are all aimed at the same crowd as the iPhone and top Android hardware. With only a limited amount of success, then, it's taken a fresh strategy of bringing a touchscreen to the Curve line for the first time. We'll see in our review of the BlackBerry Curve 9380 if shrinking down and aiming for cost has given RIM a chance at carving out a lead in a young category.
We review the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4
The Galaxy Nexus is arguably the first official Google phone whose appeal isn't just confined to hardcore Android fans: even those who only know the iPhone by name are taking notice. With a massive 4.65-inch, 720p display, a near-instant camera, and most importantly Android 4.0, it promises not just to be a powerful phone but the most cohesive expression of what Android can be. But can it cross over into the mainstream in a way that previously only Apple could? Our Samsung Galaxy Nexus review settles that question.
Galaxy Nexus volume fix goes over the air
The previously leaked volume fix for the Galaxy Nexus is pushing out now, Google confirmed in a statement. Owners of the HSPA+ version, mostly in Europe, should be getting an over-the-air update starting now and should finish within a week. The CDMA version won't need the fix.
Galaxy W and BlackBerry Curve 9380 reach Canada
Canadian carriers on Thursday became the first in North America to get a pair of new smartphones. Bell now has the Galaxy W, Samsung's mid-tier Android 2.3 phone. It raises the bar for entry smartphones through a 1.4GHz single-core processor, a 3.7-inch LCD, 14.4Mbps 3G data (not 4G as claimed), and 4GB of internal space with a microSDHC card slot for more.
LG Nitro HD may get US arrival at new event
LG on Tuesday detailed a rare special event for itself that hinted at the possible launch of the Nitro HD. The New York City gathering on December 1 has few details other than its mobile focus and an "exclusive launch" for a mystery product. "All will be revealed," the company said.
Galaxy Nexus priced and dated in Canada first
Canada beat the US to getting a commitment for a ship date and pricing for the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung's Android 4.0 flagship will ship both to Bell and to Virgin on December 8, supporting rumors. Both carriers will sell it for $160 on a three-year plan or $650 contract-free.
Provides connectivity to cellular data networks
Samsung has submitted a cellular-enabled Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus to the FCC for regulatory approval. This new seven-inch tablet features support for the HSPA+ 3G cellular data standard, like the T-Mobile version, but on the 850MHz and 1,900MHz bands used by AT&T and major Canadian carriers. As such, it might be destined either for AT&T or for Bell, Rogers, or Telus.
We go hands on with the first Android 4.0 phone
We were given a brief first opportunity to play with Samsung's Canadian variant of the Galaxy Nexus on Monday afternoon. The reps on hand included Ken Price, Samsung Canada's Director of Marketing for the Mobile Communications Division and Vlastimir Lalovic, Director of Wireless Product Realization. They gave us a quick run-through of some of the handset's unique features, while dropping hints that a more official announcement is coming a little later in the week. Hopefully, this includes pricing, but thus far, they kept mum. They were willing to say in advance that the Canadian model only supports HSPA+ networks, while the US version will support the higher-speed LTE, with this being the major and perhaps only difference between the devices.
Galaxy Nexus arriving late on Rogers
Rogers on Monday afternoon revealed that it would be later than its peers to get the Galaxy Nexus. Where Bell and Virgin will get it in early December, Rogers will get Samsung's Android 4.0 flagship in January. It will show in the carrier's reservation system as of Tuesday.
AT&T to soon get Optimus LTE as the Nitro HD
The LG Optimus LTE smartphone has now arrived at Bell in Canada, and PocketNow is now reporting that it will soon arrive at AT&T in the US. It will be known as the Nitro HD, but otherwise share the same hardware. These include the dual-core, 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, the eight-megapixel camera and its namesake 4G network support.
Bell announces LG Optimus LTE as exclusive
Bell has confirmed that it will have an ‘exclusive’ on the LG Optimus LTE. Already released in South Korea, it will be the first foreign carrier to sell LG’s latest Android flagship phone. It centers on a large 4.5-inch 720p-capable IPS display and is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor matched with 1GB of RAM. The company has created a sign-up page for interested customers.
We check the Galaxy Tab 10.1 software update
We've had the opportunity to test the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in its 3G version just ahead of its release on T-Mobile. While it's superficially the same, we'll check both 3G performance and how well Samsung's TouchWiz interface layer works in practice. Read below for what's different and whether our view has changed relative to the iPad since the 'pure' Tab 10.1 first showed.
HTC Raider arrives in Canada ahead of the US
Preempting the US event for the Rezound next week, HTC on Thursday planned to bring its international equivalent, the Raider, to North America first through Canada. Both Bell and Rogers are getting the LTE-based 4G version of the phone and can stream HD videos or otherwise get online faster still than either carrier's regular HSPA+ network. Accordingly, either version can tap into HTC's Watch movie store or use the 4G for a hotspot, although low LTE bandwidth caps may discourage using either feature often.
Bell spoils LG plans by announcing the Eye
LG is keeping mum on the launch of its Optimus LTE smartphone in Canada, going as far as telling MobileSyrup that is has no information regarding this. A demonstration video from electronics retailer The Source indicates otherwise, however, with the handset due out at Bell, who owns The Source. It will be called the Eye, however, and due to arrive sometime in November.
We look at the all-touch BlackBerry Torch 9860
RIM's new BlackBerry Torch line is a reboot for the company. After the Storm and Storm2 failed to stem the tide of the iPhone and later Android, the new Torch shows signs RIM has learned its lesson: a faster processor, a touch interface, and the death of its infamous click-down screen. But is it enough? Our review of the Torch 9850 and 9860 will see if RIM is back in form or if its rivals are still moving faster.