Molly Wood Reveals Hidden iOS 8 Gems

January 16, 2015  by Allan Pulga

iOS 8 introduced a number of improvements for iPhone and iPad users, but a few remain buried in the OS for most users.

Luckily for them, NY Times tech columnist Molly Wood shared six of her favorite features in an article and a nifty two-and-a-half-minute video (Jan. 14).

Below are the highlights:

  • Know Your Battery: iOS 8 lets you view Battery Usage per app from the previous 24 hours or the past 7 days. Simply go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage.
  • Talk to Siri Hands-Free: In the Siri menu under general settings, you can turn on the "Hey Siri" option, Apple's answer to Android's "OK, Google" voice command.
  • Identify That Song: iOS 8 integrates with Shazam, so you can simply ask Siri "What's playing?"
  • Scan Credit Cards in Safari: When you're shopping in Safari on your iPhone/iPad, at checkout, just above the keyboard, you'll see a "Scan Credit Card" option. Simply hold your credit card up to the device's camera and it will read the card number and expiration date and enter both in the required fields. Unfortunately, you still have to enter your billing information manually, though.
  • Use a Different Keyboard: iOS 8 lets users use third-party keyboard apps like Swype ($1 on the App Store) or SwiftKey (free), which have been available on Android for years.
  • Take Better Photos: New camera features include: variable light exposure (controlled by the sun icon which appears when you tap the screen to focus); time-lapse videos (swipe all the way right), self-timer for group shots or selfies (small clock icon at the top of the screen when the camera is open).

 

Highlights from CES 2015

January 15, 2015  by Allan Pulga
international-ces-2015-las-vegas - source - europlasma.be

CES, the world's largest annual electronics expo, took place last week in Vegas and VentureBeat compiled a helpful list of top trends from the show.

  1. The Internet of Things is real, but expensive. "Every major tech company touted the Internet of Things (IoT)," wrote VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi. "We saw connected lightbulbs, smart pet feeders, teddy bears with health sensors, self-watering flowerpots, smart toothbrushes, and many more."
  2. The car is the new supercomputer. I personally felt the car was the most prominent device touted at CES this year, at least based on my Twitter feed. "Nvidia brought this point home as it introduced two new computers for the car, one for the information youíll see on your dashboard and another for the autopilot system in a self-driving car," Takahashi wrote.
  3. Smart appliances need ecosystems and standards. "The Internet of Things could become the biggest network of devices of all time by the year 2020, with 50 billion connected devices, according to Intel. But that wonít happen if the companies involved donít make interoperable standards."
  4. Virtual reality has its leaders - and its competitors. Takahashi says Oculus VR (along with its partner Samsung Gear VR) is the clear leader, but it is facing many new rivals: "Sulonís Cortex headset, Razerís Open Source Virtual Reality platform, and other VR vendors also made appearances at the show."
  5. 4K TV goes mainstream, but there's more to come. "UltraHD TVs were in every major booth, and they were the most talked-about product at the show. These TVs have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, or four times as detailed as the 1920 x 1080 pixels of high-definition TV." Takahashi said Samsung and Sharp are already hinting at higher-res TVs on the way, like 8K TV.
  6. Wearables are exploding, but you may not want to buy them yet. "VentureBeatís Harrison Weber gave a complete rundown of 56 wearables he tried at CES," Takahashi wrote. "We know that the Apple Watch is coming soon, and I didnít see or hear about any device that is going to be much better than that one."
  7. Tech is helping the lazy, the disabled, and the rich. This has always been true, but Takahashi notes eye-tracking control for people who can't use a mouse or a touchscreen, or - get this - an automated baby rocker for exhausted parents. Groan.
  8. Last year's tech has become real. Takahashi points to Intel's RealSense depth camera, 4K TVs, curved OLED screens and Ford's Sync 3 voice recognition system for cars as 2013 ideas that finally came into fruition.
  9. Asian companies are emerging as the strongest. "CES is now home to some huge Chinese tech companies, from smartphone provider Xiaomi to Changhong, which occupies the booth that Microsoft once had in the Las Vegas Convention Center."
  10. Drones and robots are multiplying. "There were hundreds of drones on display at CES," Takahashi wrote. "The market is still small, but the variety of drones is huge, with applications ranging from entertainment to selfies." He added that robots of all kinds, with better AI, are in the works.
  11. 3D printers will be a bonanza for creators. "The smell of burnt plastic was palpable in the 3D printing section of the Sands Expo," Takahashi wrote, with MakerBot and HP leading the charge. "Weíll see more digital content creation companies, toy makers, and small hardware companies emerge as a result."

 

BlackBerry Impresses with New Devices, But Not Revenue

December 19, 2014  by Allan Pulga

BlackBerry's new Classic and Passport devices were fairly well received by critics, but revenues announced today were disappointing.

On Monday (Dec. 15), I stumbled on a Forbes article whose author (an investigative attorney and physical security specialist) professes to prefer the BlackBerry Passport over his iPhone 6. He cited security (of course), larger/hi-res display, real keyboard (of course), heavy duty battery, solid construction, among a few OS and UX preferences.

BlackBerry unveiled its new Classic smartphone (pictured above) on Wednesday (Dec. 17). CNET reported that although AT&T still hasn't begun selling the Passport (which launched in September), it and Verizon will sell the Classic in the U.S. Bell, Rogers and Telus will sell the phone in Canada.

As for revenue, the Financial Post reported today that BlackBerry's "latest quarterly results showed positive cash flow ahead of schedule, better than the US5Ę loss per share forecast by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. However, revenue was far below the US$931-million expected by the market, as smartphone revenues were lower than what analysts forecast."

In BlackBerry's defence, the company was unable to generate much revenue from new devices this quarter because the Passport (which did not sell well) just launched and the Classic was yet to be announced.

"This quarter was focused on clearing out BlackBerryís old inventory of phones," wrote the FP's Armina Ligaya, "which brought down the average selling price (ASP) of each device sold, said (BlackBerry CEO John) Chen. But going forward, as sales of Passport and the newly-launched Classic ramp up, the ASP will start 'ticking up,' he said."

It's also worth noting that less than half of BlackBerry's revenue from the quarter was generated by hardware. The revenue breakdown was as follows: 46% for hardware, 46% for services and 8% for software and other revenue,

Best Canadian Smartphones & Plan Recommendations for the Holidays

December 18, 2014  by Andrew Cook
Looking to buy or upgrade to one of the best smartphones for the holidays with a plan to match? We've compared plans and pricing to save you both time and money.

Recommended Smartphones

We chose the Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Sony Xperia Z3 as they are available from most carriers across Canada. All are considered the current "flagship" smartphones for their respective manufacturer. You can compare these phones on our site by clicking here.

Best Canadian Smartphones for the 2014 Holidays

Monthly Plan Requirements

A plan had to have the following to make our recommended list:
  • Unlimited Canadawide Minutes (made an exception for MTS & SaskTel)
  • At least 3 GB of data
  • Unlimited Text & Picture Messaging
  • Voicemail, Call Display

Average cost of the Monthly Plans we picked

If you live in Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Quebec you pay 25% - 30% less per month than the rest of Canada for your smartphone. Average cost of the monthly plans we picked by Province:
  • $62.22 in Saskatchewan
  • $62.77 in Manitoba
  • $67.77 in Quebec
  • $88.75!! in BC, Alberta, Ontario and the Maritimes

Smartphone & Plan Pricing for BC, Alberta, Ontario and the Maritimes

There is no regional competition for most of Canada so we pay the most per month for our smartphones.
Carrier Best High End Voice & Data Plans for these Phones Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 64GB
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Image
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Sony Xperia Z3 Smartphone Image
Sony Xperia Z3
Samsung Galaxy S5 Smartphone Image
Samsung Galaxy S5

Bell

Personal Shareable + Plus device - $110/month
  • 4 GB data
$374.95
on 2 year contract
$199.95
on 2 year contract
$99.95
on 2 year contract
$99.95
on 2 year contract

Rogers

Share Everything Talk, Text & Data - $110/month
  • 4 GB data
$374.99
on 2 year contract
$199.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract

TELUS

TELUS Your Choice with Premium Smartphone - $105/month
  • 3 GB data
$375
on 2 year contract
$300
on 2 year contract
$100
on 2 year contract
$100
on 2 year contract

Virgin mobile

Platinum - $105/month
  • 3 GB data
$374.99
on 2 year contract
n/a n/a $99.99
on 2 year contract

Fido

Max - $105/month
  • 3 GB data
$355
on 2 year contract
n/a n/a $300
on 2 year contract

Koodo Mobile

Tab Large - $105/month
  • 3 GB data
$375
on 2 year contract
$650
on 2 year contract
n/a $225
on 2 year contract

WIND Mobile

$60 Plan + Premium data - $70/month ($60+$10)
  • Unlimited data (may be throttled after 10 GB)
  • Unlimited US calling
  • Unlimited US roaming
$859
through Apple
$299
on $400 WINDtab
$199
on $400 WINDtab
$179
on $400 WINDtab

All of the above plans come with Unlimited Canadawide Minutes, Unlimited Text and Picture Messaging plus Voicemail and Call Display.


Smartphone & Plan Pricing for Saskatchewan

With competition from SaskTel in Saskatchewan monthly plan pricing is significantly cheaper as well as the amount of data included.
Carrier Best High End Voice & Data Plans for these Phones Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 64GB
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Image
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Sony Xperia Z3 Smartphone Image
Sony Xperia Z3
Samsung Galaxy S5 Smartphone Image
Samsung Galaxy S5

SaskTel

Ultimate 70 plan - $70/month
  • 10 GB data
  • 150 long distance minutes
$374.99
on 2 year contract
$199.99
on 2 year contract
$0
on 2 year contract
$49.99
on 2 year contract

Bell

Personal Shareable + Plus device - $65/month
  • 5 GB data
$374.95
on 2 year contract
$199.95
on 2 year contract
$99.95
on 2 year contract
$99.95
on 2 year contract

Rogers

Share Everything Talk, Text & Data - $65/month
  • 5 GB data
$374.99
on 2 year contract
$199.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract

TELUS

TELUS Share Unlimited Nationwide Talk & Text 5GB - $65/month
  • 5 GB data
$375
on 2 year contract
$300
on 2 year contract
$100
on 2 year contract
$100
on 2 year contract

Virgin mobile

Platinum - $65/month
  • 5 GB data
$374.99
on 2 year contract
n/a n/a $99.99
on 2 year contract

Fido

Max - $105/month
  • 3 GB data
$355
on 2 year contract
n/a n/a $300
on 2 year contract

Koodo Mobile

"Heavyweight Canada-Wide with Tab Large - $55/month
  • 5 GB data
$375
on 2 year contract
$650
on 2 year contract
n/a $225
on 2 year contract

WIND Mobile

$60 Plan + Premium data - $70/month ($60+$10)
  • Unlimited data (may be throttled after 10 GB)
  • Unlimited US calling
  • Unlimited US roaming
$859
through Apple
$299
on $400 WINDtab
$199
on $400 WINDtab
$179
on $400 WINDtab

All of the above plans (except SaskTel) come with Unlimited Canadawide Minutes, Unlimited Text and Picture Messaging plus Voicemail and Call Display.


Smartphone & Plan Pricing for Manitoba

With competition from MTS in Manitoba monthly plan pricing is significantly cheaper as well as the amount of data included.
Carrier Best High End Voice & Data Plans for these Phones Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 64GB
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Image
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Sony Xperia Z3 Smartphone Image
Sony Xperia Z3
Samsung Galaxy S5 Smartphone Image
Samsung Galaxy S5

MTS

Talk & Surf Unlimited Voice & Data Plan - $75/month
  • Unlimited data
  • No long distance minutes
$294.99
on 2 year contract
$199.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract

Bell

Personal Shareable + Plus device - $65/month
  • 5 GB data
$374.95
on 2 year contract
$199.95
on 2 year contract
$99.95
on 2 year contract
$99.95
on 2 year contract

Rogers

Share Everything Talk, Text & Data - $65/month
  • 5 GB data
$374.99
on 2 year contract
$199.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract

TELUS

TELUS Share Unlimited Nationwide Talk & Text 5GB - $65/month
  • 5 GB data
$375
on 2 year contract
$300
on 2 year contract
$100
on 2 year contract
$100
on 2 year contract

Virgin mobile

Platinum - $65/month
  • 5 GB data
$374.99
on 2 year contract
n/a n/a $99.99
on 2 year contract

Fido

Max - $105/month
  • 3 GB data
$355
on 2 year contract
n/a n/a $300
on 2 year contract

Koodo Mobile

"Heavyweight Canada-Wide with Tab Large - $55/month
  • 5 GB data
$375
on 2 year contract
$650
on 2 year contract
n/a $225
on 2 year contract

WIND Mobile

$60 Plan + Premium data - $70/month ($60+$10)
  • Unlimited data (may be throttled after 10 GB)
  • Unlimited US calling
  • Unlimited US roaming
$859
through Apple
$299
on $400 WINDtab
$199
on $400 WINDtab
$179
on $400 WINDtab

All of the above plans (except MTS) come with Unlimited Canadawide Minutes, Unlimited Text and Picture Messaging plus Voicemail and Call Display.


Smartphone & Plan Pricing for Quebec

With competition from Videotron in Quebec monthly plan pricing is significantly cheaper as well as the amount of data included.
Carrier Best High End Voice & Data Plans for these Phones Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 64GB
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Image
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Sony Xperia Z3 Smartphone Image
Sony Xperia Z3
Samsung Galaxy S5 Smartphone Image
Samsung Galaxy S5

Videotron

Premium - $79.95/month
  • 6 GB data
$349.95
on 2 year contract
$199.95
on 2 year contract
n/a $49.95
on 2 year contract

Bell

Personal Shareable + Plus device - $80/month
  • 4 GB data
$374.95
on 2 year contract
$199.95
on 2 year contract
$99.95
on 2 year contract
$99.95
on 2 year contract

Rogers

Share Everything Talk, Text & Data - $80/month
  • 4 GB data
$374.99
on 2 year contract
$199.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract
$99.99
on 2 year contract

TELUS

TELUS SharePlus 4GB - $80/month
  • 4 GB data
$375
on 2 year contract
$300
on 2 year contract
$100
on 2 year contract
$100
on 2 year contract

Virgin mobile

Platinum - $75/month
  • 4 GB data
$374.99
on 2 year contract
n/a n/a $99.99
on 2 year contract

Fido

Max - $75/month
  • 4 GB data
$355
on 2 year contract
n/a n/a $300
on 2 year contract

Koodo Mobile

Tab Large - $70/month
  • 4 GB data
$375
on 2 year contract
$650
on 2 year contract
n/a $225
on 2 year contract

WIND Mobile

$60 Plan + Premium data - $70/month ($60+$10)
  • Unlimited data (may be throttled after 10 GB)
  • Unlimited US calling
  • Unlimited US roaming
$859
through Apple
$299
on $400 WINDtab
$199
on $400 WINDtab
$179
on $400 WINDtab

All of the above plans come with Unlimited Canadawide Minutes, Unlimited Text and Picture Messaging plus Voicemail and Call Display.


All of the above is subject to change without notice. Information was assembled on December 18, 2014.

Five Best Smartphones of 2014

December 12, 2014  by Andrew Cook
Five Best Smartphones of 2014
Continuing our wrap up of 2014 we've picked the five best Smartphones released this year. Of the 43 phones released in Canada this year we feel that these are the best of the bunch. Compare all five right now through our site by clicking here.
 

Apple iPhone 6

Apple improved on last year's iPhone 5s and delivered the best and most popular smartphone on the market today.
  • 4.7" Retina display
  • 8 MP iSight camera with HD video
  • Available from Rogers (+Fido), Bell (+Virgin mobile), TELUS (+Koodo Mobile), SaskTel, MTS, Videotron, WIND Mobile (unlocked retail) 
  • Released in September

Nexus 6

We picked the Nexus 6 over the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus because it is slightly cheaper and comes with the new Android 5.0 Lolipop operating system. 
  • 6" Quad HD AMOLED display
  • 13 MP camera with optical image stabalization
  • Available from Rogers, Bell, TELUS, Videotron, WIND Mobile
  • Released in November


LG G3

The LG G3 has been one of the best reviewed Smartphones of 2014. It is a fairly large 
  • 5.5" quad HD display
  • 13 MP OIS camera with dual LED flash
  • Available from Rogers, Bell, MTS, SaskTel, Videotron
  • Released in May


Moto X (2014)

The new Moto X is a fantastic high end Android smartphone that's available at a low cost from TELUS and WIND Mobile. 
  • 5.2" display with 1080 x 1920 pixels, 16M colours, AMOLED Full HD
  • 13.0 MP autofocus camera with HDR, dual LED flash and 4x digital zoom
  • Available from TELUS, WIND Mobile
  • Released in September


Sony Xperia Z3

Sony continues to improve their flagship Xperia Z smartphones with the new Z3. It features one of the best cameras on the market along with being botth wateproof and dustproof.
  • 5.2Ē display with 1920 x 1280 pixels, 16M colours, IPS TRILUMINOUS with X-Reality Engine
  • 20.7 MP camera with Sony Exmor RS sensor
  • Waterproof and dustproof (IP65/IP68)
  • Available from: Rogers, Bell, TELUS, WIND Mobile, MTS, SaskTel
  • Released in October
 


Gizmodo Australia Names LG G3 'Best Smartphone' of 2014

December 11, 2014  by Allan Pulga
lgg3phoneoftheyear - Source - Gizmodo AU

2014 was a big year for flagship smartphones, as all the major manufacturers launched brand-new models. But LG's G3 was the cream of the crop, according to Gizmodo Australia.

"Not only was it practically perfect in every way, it was also quite affordable, and remains to be great value for money in the second-half of 2014 against the Galaxy Notes and iPhone 6s of the phone world," wrote Gizmodo AU's Luke Hopewell (Dec. 8).

"Itís well specced with its quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, and LGís emphasis on quality when it came to both the hardware and the software was second to none. Most impressive of all was its new screen. Itís a 5.5-inch QHD panel, which means that itís a packing a resolution of 2560◊1440, and an insane 538 pixels per inch. Thatís almost unheard of in a phone these days. I didnít want to look away from the panel once I started playing high-res video."

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