Google I/O is underway and the search giant has announced new apps for Google Glass. The new software package will be known as “Glassware”. Read more at Google’s official blog.
The Canadian company formerly known as RIM has changed their name to BlackBerry and released the latest version of their mobile OS known as BlackBerry 10. I have to say I have been excited for a few reasons:
1. BlackBerry is a Canadian company.
2. They signed content deals with ALL of the major holders, meaning users can get TV shows the day after they air, movies the day after they release on DVD and music galore.
3. Blackberry 10 will be able to run Android apps.
4. This is BlackBerry’s first actual touch based OS. Yes you can still get phones with a keyboard, but for the ones that don’t or for the tablets this new OS bring a lot to the table.
The first BlackBerry 10 phone is available now for pre-order. It’s called the Z10. It has a 4.2″ screen, and 8MP camera, 16GB of internal storage, it’s 4G ready and it has no keyboard. More info here.
For the keyboard lovers, the Q10 is coming soon.
For photos of BB10 go here: http://activecomputing.ca/blog/100-screenshots-of-rims-bb10-os/
In an effort to attract entrepreneurs from other countries and convince them to create their startups here, the government of Canada has introduced a new incentive program that will offer permanent residency and access to business partners who are experienced in starting company’s. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said in a statement: “Our new Start-Up Visa will help make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest to launch their companies. Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy. Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity remain priorities for the Government of Canada, and this new Start-Up Visa Program underscores our commitment to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the Canadian labour market.”
Entrepreneurs will have to already have Canadian angel investors or venture capital before they can apply for the program. Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) will assist in weeding out applications that are scams.
Photo by Wizzer
The 3G enabled Paperwhite sells for $199, the wifi only sells for $139 and the low end Kindle sells for $89. Canadian customers will now be able to access the Amazon store right from their devices.
From the press release:
“Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Now Available on Amazon.ca
Kindle Paperwhite, the most advanced e-reader ever constructed with higher resolution, 62% more pixels, 25% higher-contrast, patented built-in front light, 8 weeks of battery life and an even slimmer and sleeker design-only CAD$139
Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G-the top-of-the-line Kindle with free 3G wireless-only CAD$199
Latest generation Kindle-small, light and even faster-only CAD$89
Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite also available at over a thousand retail locations, including Staples, The Source and Shoppers Drug Mart
Canada Kindle Store on Amazon.ca offers the largest selection of the most popular books, including the most best sellers from the Globe and Mail and Le Devoir best seller lists, winners of the Giller prize, and over 50,000 French-language titles
In addition, Canadian customers can now access the Canada Kindle Store directly from their Kindle. The Kindle Store offers the largest selection of the most popular books, including the most best sellers from the Globe and Mail and Le Devoir best seller lists, winners of the Giller prize, and a broad selection of works from leading Canadian publishers and authors, including Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and Yann Martel. The Canada Kindle Store has over 1.5 million Kindle books, including over 250,000 exclusive books customers won’t find anywhere else, over 35,000 free books, and over 50,000 French-language titles. Visit www.amazon.ca/kindlebooks for more information. All Kindle books are “Buy Once, Read Everywhere”-customers can read their Kindle books on Kindle devices and on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android and Windows phones and Android tablets using the free Kindle apps.”
It was expected in January, but Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet will be available on February 9th in Canada and the US. The Surface Pro is the version of the tablet that has the full version of Windows 8. The Surface RT that has been available until now only allowed you to install the new metro style apps, with the Surface Pro you can install any Windows program.
The 64GB version will be $899 and the 128GB version will be $999. Those prices will NOT include the detachable keyboard which is an extra $120-$130 depending on which one you get. You will however get the pressure sensitive stylus included.
BGR has released an exclusive 100 photo’s of the soon to be released Blackberry OS v10. I have to admit it looks VERY intriguing and has a lot of features. Can RIM make a comeback? Photo’s are here: http://bgr.com/gallery/blackberry-10-os-walkthrough/blackberry-10-photos-1/
MediaFire recently recently released their Android app. The app is free and MedieFire offers 50GB of Storage for free. You can view your documents from within the app and store pictures from your camera directly to MedieFire.
• Keep all your important files at your fingertips.
• View docs, spreadsheets, presentations, video, and listen to audio.
• Take and upload pictures and videos directly in the MediaFire app.
• Upload Android gallery images.
• Create and manage folders of files.
• Share files on the go via email, SMS, through other Android apps, and with copy and paste links.
• Quickly search all your MediaFire files and folders.
Keep your pictures, reading material, work docs, spreadsheets, presentations, and even your homework in your pocket, ready for you to view or share anytime. All your files will always be safe in your MediaFire account and accessible through the MediaFire.com website.”
Facebook held an Apple style press conference this week to announce their new Graph Search feature. A social search that can filter results based on natural language search. Users can search for things like: “TV Shows my friends like” or “Restaurants my friends have been to” or “Which of my friends like Jay-Z?”. In the event that you search for something that Graph Search can’t find and answer to, it will default to a Bing search.
Graph Search focuses on 4 areas. People, Places, Photos and Interests. Search results will only be derived from information that is available to the searcher. Facebook says that Graph Search is “Privacy Aware”.
Graph Search started a private beta on Tuesday. Currently there is a waiting list to join. Facebook says it may take more than a year before the feature is available to everyone.
More information can be found at Facebook’s official blog: http://newsroom.fb.com/News/562/Introducing-Graph-Search-Beta
Canadian based technology company Research In Motion has signed a deal with Visa for a new mobile payment system. The payment platform will work with NFC and will work at any merchant that already has an NFC terminal (Paywave). RIM’s stock rose almost 6% following the news.
RIM also has a deal in place with the 3 major Canadian carriers to us it’s Secure Element Manager technology, or SEM. The carriers have already begun rolling out the payment system.
Frank Maduri, a RIM senior director responsible for mobile payment services, had the following to say:
“The approval from Visa of RIM’s SEM solution is an important step in that it will enable carriers to support Visa issuing banks and financial institutions,” said .
“We now offer carriers a robust solution with around-the-clock global support that works on any NFC-capable device, and meets the stringent technology and usability guidelines for Visa.”
Since you’ve made the switch to an Android device, chances are you have a lot more information stored on that device. Things such as apps, photos, music, videos, calendar events, SMS and email messages not to mention your system preferences widgets and short cuts. We spend a lot of time customizing our devices and before we drop it in a toilet, it would be a good idea to back everything up!
Google does a good job at backing up a lot of these things already. Just by attaching your Gmail account, Google will automatically backup your email, contacts, calendar and a list of purchased apps, but what about your system preferences or app settings? For this we’ll need an app.
Root or No Root.. That’s the question. If your phone is rooted there’s a simple and free way to back up everything. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, there’s an app for you too, you’ll just have to be willing to part with $3.96.
If you have a rooted device, look no further than Titanium Backup. This app is completely free and will backup everything on your device. When you restore, you choose what you want to restore. Only certain apps, system setting, short cuts etc. Titanium Backup even backs up app settings. When you restore your favourite game, your completed levels and high score will still be there. Even my grocery list was there when I restored OI Shopping List. Titanium Backup even allows you to force uninstall bloatware and applications that were installed by your carrier. Not back for a free app.
If you haven’t rooted your device, you can still backup all of your apps and setting with My Backup Pro. It costs $3.96 (at the time of writing), but has a huge feature list. “Backup (with schedule option) to our online secure servers, or SD card, your Applications, Photos, Music, Videos, Contacts, Call log, Browser Bookmarks, SMS (text messages), MMS (message attachments), Calendar, System Settings, Home Screens (including shortcut positions), Alarms, Dictionary, Music Playlists, APNs, and more…” There are more features if you have a rooted device, but if you do, I would suggest looking at Titanium Backup for free.
Easily create a system snapshot with RecImg Manager that will restore your system files and applications within minutes while leaving your personal files in tact.
“RecImg Manager provides unlimited operating system and application imaging – including all system files and installed software – in a matter of minutes with no document loss and a tiny image footprint.
Only the Windows 8 operating system and applications are imaged and refreshed: files such as video, music, & personal documents remain intact. No personal documents are erased during restore and recovery.”
1. Open RecImg and choose Backup.
2. Choose a destination drive, type a description and click Start Backup.
3. In the options, sure “Automatically delete old snapshots” is checked.
4. When and how often to backup.
1. Open RecImg, click on the backup and click Restore.
2. Choose what to recover and click Recover Now.
In what just might be a first, Canada is getting a technology product before anyone else! Nintendo confirmed the Wii Mini will launch in Canada on December 7th for $99. The cheaper console won’t have internet or Game Cube compatibility, but will play all of the Wii games. So far this new console will be exclusive to Canada and there’s been no word on if or when it will launch in other countries. Learn more here.
Starting on December 3rd, 2012, governments of the world will be holding secret meetings to discuss the regulation of the internet. These meetings will be held behind closed doors and will be closed to the public. This meeting of the International Telecommunication Union or #ITU will take place in Dubai. Some governments want to use this meeting in Dubai to increase censorship and regulate the Internet.
Google has always been a champion of a free and open internet. They’ve launched a website to gain signatures in hopes of keeping the governments hands off of the open web.
Sergey Brin had this to say. “The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation,”
Make your voice heard and sign the petition here: http://www.google.com/intl/en/takeaction/
I told you about the new Nexus devices here. Well, the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10 went on sale in the Play Store and sold out in a matter of minutes. Customers are greeted by the message: “We are out of inventory. Please check back soon.” I guess demand for the vanilla Android experience was higher than Google thought!
If you’ve upgraded to Windows 8, one of the biggest changes you will notice is the lack of a start menu. Microsoft replaced the classic start menu with the new start screen. While I do like the new start screen, I also miss having the regular start menu. If you feel the same way, follow the instructions below to add the classic start menu.
1. Download Classic Shell.
2. Run the setup.
3. For everything except Classic Start Menu choose “Entire feature will be unavailable.”
4. Finish the install and you will see a new button in the lower left corner.
5. If you’re like me and you still want the new start screen to appear when you press the windows key, right click on the start button and choose settings. Click on the controls tab and under “Windows Key opens”, choose Windows Start Screen.
Finished! Now you have easy access to all your applications and the shut down button, but can still access the new start screen.
Last week Google announced three new Nexus devices. We now have pricing and a release date.
The Nexus 4 is the latest Nexus phone. This time it’s being manufactured by LG. It will have a 4.7″ IPS screen with a 1280X768 resolution (320 PPI), a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Quad-core CPU running at 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM, 8GB internal storge, Wireless N, NFC and HDMI out. Mysteriously missing is LTE. It’s running Android version 4.2 (Jellybean) and it will sell for $309.00.
The Nexus 10 is a new 10″ tablet. It is being manufactured by Samsung. It will have 10.1″ enhanced IPS screen with a resolution of 2560X1600 (300 PPI), a Cortex Dual-core A15 CPU running at 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM, 16 or 32GB of internal storage, Wireless N, NFC and HDMI out. This tablet has the highest resolution on the market and a higher PPI than the new new iPad. It will run Android version 4.2 (Jellybean), the 16GB model will sell for $409.00 and the 32GB model will sell for $509.00.
The last announcement was a 32GB version of the Nexus 7 as well as the addition of a 3G model. The 16GB model had it’s priced reduced to $209.00, the 32GB wifi only version will sell for $259.00 and the 32GB 3G model will sell for $309.00.
* All prices are in CDN
Windows 8 was released to the public today. Users that already have Windows XP, Vista or 7 can upgrade to Windows 8 Professional for $39.99 until January 31st, 2013. After that, the Home edition will go for $99.99 and the Professional edition will be $139.99.
Windows Media Center doesn’t come included with Windows 8, but you can get it for free until January 31st, 2013. You can request a product key here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/feature-packs. After that, you press Windows Key+W. Select “Add features to Windows 8.” Choose “I already have a product key” and enter your key. Finally, choose add features.
Windows 8 is available for purchase here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-CA/windows/buy
Steve Jobs said that Apple would never make a 7″ tablet, so they made a 7.85″ one instead. Today Apple announced the iPad Mini. It features a less than impressive 1024 X 769 screen resolution, the same dual core A5 processor that the iPad 2 used and 512MB of memory. It will come in 16, 32 and 64GB models and will go up for presale on Friday. Pricing starts at $329 USD.
The “new iPad” was unveiled today. It features a Retina display, a faster dual-core A6X with quad-core graphics, Bluetooth 4.0, a Lightning connector, a 1.2 Megapixel front-facing HD camera and an 8 Megapixel rear-facing camera. Pricing will be the same as “the old new iPad?” I’m not sure why they abandoned the numbers, it’s just plain confusing!
Apple also annouced super thin iMacs, a 13″ Macbook Pro with a Retina display and faster Mac Mini’s.
You can get an overview of the iPad Mini here: http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/overview/
The Samsung Chromebook was available for purchase starting today. It was only available for a few hours before being sold out. The Chromebook features ChromeOS, an 11.6″ LED screen, a Samsung Exynos 5 dual core CPU running at 1.7 GHz, 2GB of DDR3 memory, 16GB of internal storage, an SD card slot for external storage, 5 USB ports and HDMI out. The wifi only version will sell for $249 and the 3G version for $329. You can add your name to the waiting list at the link below.
You may remember that I wrote a blog post (for a different blog) back when Android was still cupcake and IOS was on version 3. I presented 5 reasons that I then thought Android was better than IOS. It’s been a couple years and a few revisions of each OS, but I sill believe that Android has the edge. As a matter of fact, I think the gap has increased. Here are my 5 reasons that Android is STILL better than IOS
The biggest difference for me is still customization. Android is more like a PC. I can install Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or any other version of the OS on my phone quite easily. I can also install any program or application I like. The same is true of Android. I can run a custom ROM that is the version of Android that I prefer or even a mix of different versions.
Even more significant, I can replace any native application with the application I choose. I prefer Chrome over the built in browser so I made that my default. When I click any link it will open in Chrome. With IOS, you can install a different browser, but you can’t make it your default, when you tap on a link, it will open in Safari. The same goes with any other system app. I replaced the default keyboard app with Swiftkey, SMS with Chomp, audio player with Songbird, video player with MX Player. I even changed my launcher with Apex Launcher. I didn’t like the native theme that came with my ROM and wanted more of a Jelly Bean theme. I should also mention that every one of those apps is free.
Integration with Google Apps
As you likely expected, I run my life inside the Google universe. Android has seamless integration with Google’s Gmail, Voice, Drive, Maps, Music, Youtube, Google+, Reader, Calendar and Search apps. This is all included without ever visiting the Play store.
While they may have copied some (notification pulldown, Facebook integration, panarama photos, turn by turn navigation), Apple’s latest version of IOS still lacks some of the best features that Android has. Widgets, NFC support, upgradable storage, replaceable batteries, built in sharing just to name a few.
Never Having To Use iTunes
With Android installing apps is easy. You can simply visit the Play store on your device or for an even better experience visit play.google.com on your computer. There you can browse the hundreds of thousands of apps and with on click wirelessly install one on your device. You can also browse and purchase books and movies.
Choice of Devices
Do you want a 5″ phone or a 3.5″? A 7″ tablet or a 10″? Do you need a hardware keyboard? Do you need LTE, NFC, a quad core processor or just a basic smartphone? Apple likes to call this fragmentation, I call it consumer choice. No matter if you want the lastest and greatest hardware or a smartphone that provides most of the same features, but at a much lower cost, Android has a device for you.
Have you ever gotten a phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft or Dell? They tell you that your computer has viruses and that if you grant them control, they can fix the problem.. for a fee. These calls of course are a scam and the FTC has finally stepped up and laid charges against 14 different firms and 17 individuals.
The firms named in the suits are Pecon Software Ltd., Pecon Infotech Ltd., Pecon Software UK Ltd., PCCare247 Inc., PCCare247 Solutions Pvt Ltd., Connexxions Infotech Inc., Connexxions IT Services Pvt Ltd., Zeal IT Solutions Pvt Ltd., Lakshmi Infosoul Services Pvt Ltd., Finmaestros LLC, New World Services Inc., MegaBites Solutions LLC, Greybytes Cybertech P. Ltd. and Shine Solutions Private Ltd.
The newest Samsung tablet is now available for pre-order at retailers across Canada. Pricing starts at $499 for the 32GB wifi only model. It features the S-Pen and comes with 50GB of online storage with Dropbox. The full hardware specs are availible in the press relase below.
“SAMSUNG INTRODUCES A WHOLE NEW LEVEL OF INNOVATION TO THE CANADIAN MARKETPLACE
The Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 Inspires a Culture of Active Content Creation, Productivity, and Learning
MISSISSAUGA, ON, September 21, 2012 – Samsung Canada, today announced that the highly anticipated GALAXY Note 10.1 is now available in the Canadian marketplace. The device is available for purchase at authorized retail partners across Canada.
The GALAXY Note 10.1 extends the GALAXY Note category, building on the success of last year’s worldwide hit smartphone – and delivering the functionality and precision of a pen and paper by combining the S Pen with a 10.1-inch large display. Featuring an advanced S Pen with 1,024 levels of sensitivity, GALAXY Note 10.1 is designed for natural and intuitive content creation.
“The Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 enables users to create content anytime, anywhere with the value added S-Pen,” said Paul Brannen, Vice President, Enterprise Business Solutions, Samsung Canada. “The S Pen offers active content creation and productivity, while the Note 10.1 is the ideal screen size to consume multimedia – whether watching videos or looking at files on-the-go. This truly provides Canadians with a unique and true multitasking experience.”
True Multitasking with Multiscreen Feature
With GALAXY Note 10.1’s Multiscreen feature, users can effortlessly utilize two different applications side-by-side simultaneously for true and easy multitasking. Users can view Web pages or videos, or launch other applications while writing or sketching ideas with the S Pen on the other half of the screen – no need to toggle back and forth between apps.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 features applications to meet the increasing needs of a growing mobile workforce, from interfacing with customers to creative sharing. Featured applications include: S Note, Internet Browser, Video Player, Email, Gallery and Polaris Office.
S Pen & S Note – Make it Personal
The S Note application is a unique tool that gives users the ability to combine notes and sketches with other digital content in ready-to-use templates. Shape Match converts hand-drawn shapes such a square and lines into clean and perfect versions – perfect for creating charts and formula Match can actually solve formulas hand-written with the S Pen.
The S Pen is embedded directly into a slot in the device and when removed, activates a taskbar with quick access to optimized S Pen apps such as S Note, Adobe® Photoshop® Touch and Polaris Office Alternatively, users can easily set their preferred application to be launched instantly.
S Note is also integrated with knowledge search engines so that users can search for content, obtain information, and easily drag and drop content onto S Notes without having to switch between screens.
Adobe Photoshop Touch – Edit Photos Like Never Before
Adobe® Photoshop® Touch, is preloaded on the GALAXY Note 10.1 and is optimized for S Pen, enabling users to control brush size and opacity by just adjusting the pressure of the pen on the screen.
Users can also use popular Photoshop features such as layers, selection tools, adjustments, and filters to create mind-blowing images, or use the high quality GALAXY Note 10.1 camera to fill an area on a layer with the unique camera fill feature. With Photoshop Touch, it’s also a snap to add or remove people or objects from a photo, or blend two photos together.
Photoshop Touch is integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud providing users free access to powerful file syncing and sharing features and 2GB of storage space. Files can be synched to the Creative Cloud and opened in Photoshop on the desktop or laptop for further refinement.
The Ultimate Experience
Samsung is adding even more value to the Note 10.1 through a range of partners with featured applications on the device:
To allow seamless collaboration with others, the GALAXY Note 10.1 offers a free two-year subscription to Dropbox, giving users 50 GB of storage space – a $100 value.**
Samsung Smart Remote, powered by Peel, utilizes the built-in IR emitter in the GALAXY Note 10.1 to transform the device into a sophisticated universal remote control that can control an entire home entertainment system and even recommend programs.
Finally, Polaris Office lets provides robust word processing, spreadsheet and presentation capabilities, while S Pen support makes it a snap to mark up and annotate documents.
Pricing and Availability
GALAXY Note 10.1 will be available for $499 MSRP at major Canadian retail partners beginning September 21st, 2012.
For additional information, please visit www.samsung.com.
Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 Product Specifications
Processor: 1.4 GHz quad-core processor with 2 GB RAM
Display: 255.8mm (10.1”) WXGA(1280×800) LCD + Digitizer
OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Camera: Main (Rear): 5 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash and Sub (Front): 1.9 Megapixel VT Camera
Video: Full HD(1080p) Playback & HD Recording
Audio: Music Player with SoundAlive and a 3.5mm Ear Jack
Memory: 32GB User Memory + MicroSD Expansion Slot (up to 32 GB)
Dimensions: 262 x 180 x 8.9, 597g
Battery: Standard battery, Li-ion 7,000mAh
＊ All functionality, features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation.
* *See www.dropbox.com/help/338 for terms and conditions of Dropbox offer.
Adobe and Photoshop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries”
Canadian mobile phone maker RIM just inked a deal with Microsoft that will allow them to use Microsoft’s new file system exFAT. RIM’s shares rose 2.4% after the announcement. RIM’s market share has steadily fallen over the last few years and now finds itself behind Android and Apple. The two giants make up 85% of the market while Blackberries are down to 4.8%. They were at 11.5% last year.
Samsung keeps making fun of Apple’s woefully underwhelming iPhone 5. This time they released a video that makes fun of iFanboys that stand in line for hours and points out that the GS3 has had all those features for months and has features that Apple hasn’t even stolen yet!
The province of Manitoba has introduced a new cellphone contract law that aims to force carriers to disclose all charges, fees and terms. Customers will be able to get out their contracts for a reasonable fee too. In most cases, the customer will only owe what’s left on their hardware subsidy. This sounds like a step in the right direction to me and I hope other provinces follow suit!
Galaxy Nexus users across Canada are reportedly receiving the Jelly Bean update today. Mobile Syrup says they’ve had confirmation from Rogers, Fido, Telus and Wind, still no word from Bell.
Google recently added a new “best of” feature and it’s simply amazing and easy to use. Just search for “best movies of all time” or “best action movies” and Google will provide you with some amazing results. As far as I can tell, this feature is not enabled on Google.ca yet, but if you go to Google.com it will work.
This app does what the title says it does. With a little configuration Cloud Print will print anything from your mobile device to the printer of your choice. Super convenient!
“Cloud print allows you to print files from your phone to your printer.
In order to do this it uses the new Google Cloud Print service you should configure your pc following this guide: http://www.google.com/landing/cloudprint/
NEW: if you have a Cloudprint ready printer (Epson, Kodak etc) or HP E-Print enabled printer you don’t need your pc to be on, for other printers your pc needs to be ON.
Now with internal file browser that allows you to print from the app and with support for: pdf,jpg,jpeg,docx,ods,xls,xlsx,ppt,odp,txt,doc,xps
- share printers with friends
- mail printing
- sms printing
- print job management
- internal file browser
- webpage printing
- printer managment ( Printer options )
- print from clipboard”
Do you need a task manager app? Look no further! Astrid Task is the king of task management. You can add tasks via the website or the app itself. Astrid will remind you when your task is due and when you’ve finished, just tap the task and Astrid will mark it as completed. You can even sync Astrid with Google Tasks.
“Perfect personal to-do list
Even better when shared with friends
As millions of users have discovered, Astrid is more than just the perfect to-do list — it’s the personal assistant you’ve always wanted. Get your life organized and never miss a deadline with fun reminders, subtasks, lists, and widgets. Then access your tasks anywhere with automatic syncing across your phone, tablet, and Astrid.com.
We can also all use a little help to be extra productive — use Astrid to collaborate on projects with your friends and loved ones. Divide up tasks for that trip you’re trying to plan with your best friends… Astrid reminds them so you don’t have to. And when your sweetheart picks up the dry cleaning, Astrid notifies you!
Ready to rock? Join over 3 million others who have already downloaded Astrid!
★ What others are saying ★
• “Our favorite productivity app on Android” —Gizmodo
• “Best of Android” -Lifehacker
• “The most popular to-do list for Android” -FoxNews.com
• “Best of Android” -Engadget
• “The best list maker and task manager there is for Android” -PCMag
★ Power Up ★
Power Pack: Want to add tasks using voice? Want widgets in more sizes? What about even more functionality to your widgets? Download the Astrid Power Pack to supercharge your productivity! Get it here: http://bit.ly/wkorMS
Locale Add-on: Imagine getting a reminder to buy sugar when you walk by the grocery store. Then when you arrive at home, your phone tells you that you have to pick up that package that arrived earlier in the day. With Astrid Locale, you can have Astrid give you reminders based on where you are! Get it here: http://bit.ly/yptw4r
★ Permissions ★
Internet Access: allows sync with Google Tasks or Astrid.com
Modify/delete SD card contents: For backup to sdcard
GPS/Location: Only used when you specify location for tasks through TaskRabbit
Phone State: Add to-dos when you miss a call
Record Audio: For Premium Users making voice notes”
Hungry, but don’t know where to eat? Yelp is here to help. Just type in a search category IE: Chinese, Italian etc. and Yelp will show you restaurants nearby. With a quick glance you can see the restaurants Yelp rating, price level and user reviews.
“Find and read reviews about great local businesses near you.Looking for a burrito joint open now? An Irish pub nearby? A gas station you can drive to before your tank hits empty? Yelp for Android is here to help. Use us to search for places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play then read reviews from an active community of locals in the know.
★ Search for businesses near you
★ Tap quick links to find nearby bars, restaurants, cafes and more
★ Narrow your searches by ‘hood, distance, price, and what’s open now
★ Browse reviews to read what’s great (and not so great) in your city
★ Find great Deals offered by your favorite local businesses
★ Add Quick Tips, photos, and draft reviews for your favorite businesses
★ Check-in and share on Facebook and Twitter
★ Make reservations on OpenTable without leaving the Yelp app
★ Look up addresses and phone numbers for thousands of businesses, then call or map them from your phone
★ Yelp does augmented reality with Monocle. Overlay business information onto the world around you.”
Flixster is the only app you need when you want to go out to a movie. You can browse by movies in theatres or by a specific theatre and because it uses your GPS it will show you which theatre is closest. You can watch trailers of the movies and then purchase tickets right within the app.
“Movies by Flixster. The #1 app for movie reviews, trailers, and showtimes.
★ Editors’ Choice app – Google Play
★ One of the 40 Best Free Android apps for 2011, 4.5/5 stars – PCMag.com
★ “A terrific app for learning about what movies are playing.” – PCWorld.com
Movies by Flixster. The #1 app for movie reviews, trailers, and showtimes.
✓ Stream and download full-length movies. First movie is on us! (Gift movie offer is valid for US residents only.)
✓ Browse the top box office movies and movies opening soon
✓ Look up showtimes at your favorite theater and buy tickets (from participating theaters)
✓ Get critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
✓ Watch high quality trailers
✓ Create your own “Want to See” list, rate & review movies
✓ View and manage your Netflix queue
✓ Flixster is completely FREE to use and lets you invite your friends (using Facebook and/or SMS) to get additional gift movies”
Photoshop Express is a photo editing app for your mobile device. You can make quick edits and then share with your friends.
“Edit and share photos virtually anywhere. Access them all on Photoshop.com
Edit and share photos virtually anywhere. Touch to crop, rotate, adjust color, and add artistic effects. Access all your photos and videos directly from your free Photoshop.com account. Quickly share with family and friends. Requires SD card.”
Microsoft recently upgraded their Hotmail email service and give it a shiny new domain. The look and feel of the new site resembles the Office 2013 apps minimalistic look and feel. Hotmail users have been automatically transitioned to the new site while new users can get an @outlook.com email address. I logged in to my old Hotmail account and was presented with the following:
The video can be seen below and gives a nice introduction to the new service.
It you have a Netflix subscription, the Netflix Android app is a must have. You can instantly stream any of the thousands of TV shows and movies Netflix has to offer.
“• Netflix membership gives you access to unlimited TV shows and movies for one low monthly price.
• With the Netflix app you can instantly watch as many TV episodes & movies as you want, as often as you want, anytime you want.
• You can Browse a growing selection of thousands of titles, and new episodes that are added regularly.
• Search for titles and watch immediately on your phone or on an ever expanding list of supported devices.
• Rate your favorite shows and movies and tell us what you like so Netflix can help suggest the best titles for you.
• Start watching on one device, and resume watching on another. Check out netflix.com for all the TVs, game consoles, tablets, phones, Blu-ray players and set top boxes on which you can watch Netflix.”
MX Player is an app for playing video files on your Android Device. I can play just about any video you throw at it and supports hardware decoding for smooth playback.
“a) MULTI-CORE DECODING – MX Player is the first Android video player that performs multi-core decoding. According to the test results on dual-core devices, it shows up to 70% performance improvement than single-core devices.
b) CPU OPTIMIZATION – Provides highly optimized codecs and Rendering Engines for the processors including ARM® NEON™ and NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2.
c) PINCH TO ZOOM – Easily zoom in and out by pinching and swiping across screen.
d) SUBTITLE SCROLL – Scroll on subtitle text and playback position will be adjusted to match previous or next subtitle timing.
e) KIDS LOCK – Keep your kids entertained without having to worry about making calls or touching other apps. (plugin required)
f) ANDROID 4.1 – Fully supports Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.”
Like Winamp, Songbird Music Player is a music player app for playing the music on your Android device, but with a social twist. You can learn about the artist while listening or discover new artists through recommendations from friends.
- A most elegant music player for your Android device
- Easy music collection browsing & playback
- Explore photo and video updates from your favorite artists
- Discover new music by browsing through your friends’ favorite artists
- Access album art and artist content feed from the unique “Now Playing” drawer
- 5 band Equalizer
- Set tracks as ringtones easily
- Matching widget with album art
- Lock screen widget
- Podcast support
- Headset support (wired and Bluetooth)
- Bluetooth car audio support
- Audioscrobbler support
- Full-featured search
- Super-simple music browse + playback control
- Localized in 26 languages
- Facebook ‘Like’ integration
- Playlist creation and editing”
“Slacker Radio is free, totally customizable radio with over 100 genre stations.
Listen to free personalized radio on your Android device. Listen to over 100 expert-programmed radio stations or create your own custom stations from millions of songs. With a Slacker Radio Plus or Slacker Premium Radio subscription, you can store your favorite Slacker stations on your Android smartphone and listen even when you don’t have a wireless or Wi-Fi connection!”
I’ve been beta testing Office 2013 for a couple weeks now and so far I like it. I has a very minimalistic look to it, with clean lines and a scaled down UI. When you launch any of the apps, you are presented with a template based screen to help get you started. By default, all of the apps want to save to Skydive, which I think is pretty smart. Users will be automatically backing up their documents to the cloud, even if they don’t realize it. Here’s some screen shots of the apps.
For playing the music that is already on your Android device, nothing beats Winamp. You can create playlists, browse by genre or by artist. It even has a free PC sync feature.
“The Ultimate Media Player for Android.
Play, manage and sync music from your Mac or PC to your Android device. Winamp for Android offers a complete music management solution (2.1 OS & above) featuring wireless desktop sync (latest Winamp Media Player required), iTunes library import, & access to thousands of internet radio stations with SHOUTcast.”
TuneIn Radio is one of the better streaming music apps I’ve found on Android. You can find local stations our browse be genre.
“TuneIn is a free way to listen to music, sports and news from every corner of the earth, with over 70,000 radio stations and 2 million on-demand programs.
“TuneIn Radio rises to the top among streaming music apps” – GigaOM
With TuneIn Radio, you can:
• Search for a song, artist or show to find radio stations around the world playing it live
• Add stations and songs to your presets
• Wake up with the alarm clock or fall asleep with the sleep timer
• Plays in the background while you use other apps”
As mentioned in our post about Canadian alternatives for Spotify and Pandora, Jango is a music streaming & recommendation service. You start by typing in an artist, song title or genre and Jango will play you a song, then Jango will play a song that it thinks is like the first. You can give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Thumbs up tells Jango to play this song and/or artist more. Thumbs down tells Jango not to play this song again. After a few days of babysitting Jango turns into a commercial free radio station that plays nothing but music that you love!
“Jango Radio Features:
- Free, unlimited listening on desktop and mobile
- Create custom radio stations with the artists you love
- Tune in to 100′s of expertly curated stations in dozens of genres, from dance and country to holiday music and hits by decade
- Fine-tune your stations by the artists or variety you want to hear
- Share stations with your friends on Facebook and Twitter
- Listen as much as you want at low, medium or high quality
- Save stations to listen again on your device or at www.jango.com
- Available for any device running Android 1.5 or newer”
BeyondPod is in my opinion the best podcatcher on Android. You can subscribe to RSS feeds manually or import feeds from Google Reader.
“Sophisticated podcast download engine gives you complete control of how many podcasts to download and how long to keep the old versions. Downloads new content in the background, so you spend more time enjoying you feeds, and less time waiting on them.
BeyondPod provides full control over what is being downloaded over your data connection. Update a single feed, feeds in a given category, or all feeds. Download a single podcast, the latest podcasts, or all podcasts for a given feed. Nothing happens without your knowledge. Podcast downloads can be scheduled to occur at a specific time, only when connected to WiFi, or only when the phone is charging. BeyondPod also offers an option to automatically (1) Turn WiFi on, (2) Update your feeds, (3) Turn WiFi back off.”
Windows 8 has been released to manufacturer and that means official release dates have been announced. Windows 8 will be available for $39.99 if you have a qualifying existing version on Windows (which is pretty much ANY version). Below is the schedule that Microsoft will be releasing the RTM version of Windows 8:
- August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via MSDN subscriptions.
- August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through TechNet subscriptions.
- August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
- August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
- August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
- September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
- October 26th: The general public will be able to purchase Windows 8.
According to the Staples website. The Nexus 7 tablet is set to launch in Canada on July 23rd, 2012. It will be the first device to feature the next version of Android codenamed Jelly Bean. You can pre-order now at Staples.ca for $259.00.
The tablet specs are:
|Operating System||Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)|
|Processor||1.2GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3|
|Display||7.0″ Multi-Touch Capacitive Screen|
|Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Internal Storage||16GB Flash|
|Webcam||1.2M Pixel Front Facing|
|Wireless LAN||802.11 b/g/n|
|Media Card Reader||N/A|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable 16W/h Polymer|
|Battery Life||Up to 9.5 hours|
|Dimensions||0.4″(H) x 7.7″(W) x 4.7″(D)|
|Weight||0.7 lb. (340g)|
Google Now is the voice search service that is built into the next version of Android, codenamed Jelly Bean. Watch as it effortlessly completes 47 voice commands. I would love to see a head to head with Apple’s voice search Siri.
The guys at Phandroid have created a video that shows off all the new features of the next version of Android codenamed Jelly Bean.
The tablet being shown is the recently announced Nexus 7. I want this now!
Telus Mobility just released the dates some of their devices will get OS upgrades. I wish all carriers were this transparent about their OS upgrade roadmap. The list is below:
HTC Desire HD – July 25th
LG Optimus LTE – Mid July
S.E Xperia Ray – June 20th
Samsung Galaxy Note – July 13th
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – Late July
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 – August
NO UPDATES CURRENTLY PLANNED
RIM OS 7.1
Bold 9790 – July 11th
Windows Phone MRC3
Nokia Lumia 800 – July 13th
LG Optimus 7 – June 20th
After the 2 biggest American carriers (Verizon and AT&T) both opted out of the 50GB free Dropbox offer, most thought Canadian carriers would follow suit. Surprisingly ALL of the Canadian carries are on board.
“New GS III users will receive a basic 2GB of free space with Dropbox (It is permanent). When they create their own Dropbox account or link their existing account to Samsung Apps, the user will receive 48GB more space through a promotional offer, for a total of 50GB. This is available for 2yrs.”
It`s nice to see Canadians getting something that our friends to the south haven`t already had for a year.
A federal court has sided with RIM, the maker of Blackberry smartphones and tablets. The court ruled that RIM may continue using the BBM name which is short for Blackberry Messaging Service.
Last December, attorneys for BBM Canada filed the lawsuit. BBM Canada’s president Jim MacLoud said “We want our name back”. They were seeking an injunction to stop RIM from using the BBM acronym and future damages to their brand.
The federal court ruled that because the businesses operate in different industries, RIM’s usage was acceptable and did not hurt BBM Canada’s brand.
Jim Macloud reportedly is unclear on whether BBM Canada will appeal the decision.
You may have heard of the long awaited North American launch of the music service Spotify, but like many other services it’s not available in Canada.
“Spotify is a Swedish DRM-based music streaming service offering streaming of selected music from a range of major and independent record labels, including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal. Launched in October 2008 by a Swedish startup Spotify AB, the service had approximately ten million users as of 15 September 2010; about 1 million of whom were paying members.The service is, as of July 2011, only available in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.”
Thankfully for Canadians there is a similar service called Rdio.
“Rdio is a new social music service, founded by Janus Friis with Niklas Zennström.
We’re making a music service that takes the work out of deciding what to play next — follow friends and people with great taste in music, get inspired by what they’re playing, and listen to their playlists.
With Rdio’s mobile apps, music on your computer and mobile phone is finally connected without needing a cable. Collections and playlists are instantly updated and you can sync music and listen, even when you’re offline.
The name, Rdio, is a combination of the words radio and audio, and we pronounce it ar-dee-o.”
Rdio offers a one week free trial and I took full advantage of it. Rdio offers unlimited on-demand access for web and mobile (streaming and downloads) for $9.99 per month, while web-only access costs $4.99 per month. The mobile app allows you to cache the songs you want so you can play them even if you don’t have a connection to the web. The desktop app will scan your library and add your songs to your Rdio collection.
Another benefit of Rdio is that users can collaborate on playlists, which can be great for parties or other group activities. You also get personalized recommendations based on your listening habits, as well as on-demand artist channels and stations based on what’s in heavy rotation on your profile or in your network of friends.
Rdio was created by the founders of Kazaa and Skype. The library is ever growing (currently around 7 million tracks) and the social aspect makes Rdio a very compelling service.
“Pandora is personalized internet radio that is designed to help you discover new music you’ll love mixed in with music you already know.
Pandora is powered by the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken, the Music Genome Project: a crazy project started over ten years ago to capture the complex musical DNA of songs using a large team of highly-trained musicians.
Pandora is always free, with the option to pay for additional features.
Just type in one of your favorite artists or songs, to give us an idea of the kind of music you’re looking for. We’ll launch a streaming “Pandora station” to explore sounds we think you might like.”
Pandora was initially available in Canada, but the CRTC put a stop to that! Enter another music discovery service Jango.
“Jango is all about making online music easy, fun and social. Just type in an artist – and your first station starts playing right away. You’ll get the music you want, along with similar favorites of Jango users who share your taste. Customizing your stations further is just as easy. Just add more artists and rate songs that you want to play more or less.
You can also tune in to other people’s stations – and they can tune in to yours! In your player, you’ll see who’s listening to the same music as you, who’s listening to your stations, and what your friends are playing.”
Jango is available on the web and has native Android & iOS apps. You start by typing in an artist, song title or genre and Jango will play you a song, then Jango will play a song that it thinks is like the first. You can give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Thumbs up tells Jango to play this song and/or artist more. Thumbs down tells Jango not to play this song again. After a few days of babysitting Jango turns into a commercial free radio station that plays nothing but music that you love!
Ever since the movie Minority Report we’ve been waiting for the technology to exist that would allow us to control our PC’s with mutli-touch gesture controls. Enter Leap Motion. This $70 addon promises that we can say goodbye to our mouse and keyboard, though I think that’s pushing it.
From the Leap website:
“The Leap is a small iPod sized USB peripheral that creates a 3D interaction space of 8 cubic feet to precisely interact with and control software on your laptop or desktop computer. It’s like being able to reach into the computer and pull out information as easily as reaching into a cookie jar.
The Leap senses your individual hand and finger movements independently, as well as items like a pen. In fact, it’s 200x more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies. It’s the difference between sensing an arm swiping through the air and being able to create a precise digital signature with a fingertip or pen.”
I for one am excited and have pre-ordered.
Canadians finally have an easy way to watch Netflix with the launch of the Roku Streaming Players. Before Roku, our Netflix options were pretty limited. You could pay Microsoft $12 a month for a Xbox Live Gold subscription, You could buy a Playstation 3 for $400, you could buy an AppleTV and be forced to live in Apples walled garden and lose features like Plex or you could build a home theatre PC and launch the website. None of these options are anywhere near as full featured as a Roku and every one of them is more expensive.
Roku is the number one selling streaming media player in the US. Roku makes it easy for you to enjoy great films and TV shows, live sports, music, games and more whenever you want, instantly on your TV. There are a tonne of audio and video channels available such as Netflix, Crackle, Vimeo, Youtube, TuneIn Radio and Rdio just to name a few. There’s photo channels like Flikr and Picasa. There are social channels like Facebook and Twitter if following your friends on your TV is your kind of thing. For live sports there’s MLB, NHL, UFC, and MLS. There’s even games. Yes, you can play angry birds on your 65 inch Plasma! The remote turns sideways and turns into a game controller. That’s a lot of stuff for a box that’s slightly bigger than a hockey puck.
The Roku 2 XD is $89.99 and has HDMI, 1080P video output, 5.1 audio output, Wireless B/G/N, SD card slot and bluetooth.
The Roku 2 XS is $109.99 and adds ethernet and USB ports.
Right now Roku players can be purchased from Amazon, Walmart and London Drugs with more locations coming soon.