Did we nail it or what? Today Rogers announced the creation of chatr, the low-cost wireless brand we exclusively told you about last week. Created to serve what Rogers calls a “niche” market that is not currently served by its flagship and value brands Rogers Wireless and Fido, chatr will offer no contract voice and text plans as well as unlimited talk and text plans. Data is not a part of chatr’s game plan. According to Rogers, the big draw of chatr is not only its great plans, but that for the first time it gives urbanites who simply want to make calls and send texts affordable service from a “network they can trust.” We were pretty curious about the timing of this launch, what with WIND Mobile now being half a year old and Mobilicity having only been on the scene for six weeks, so we asked Rogers about it. Surprisingly, they were adamant that they could not care less what their competitors are doing or where it is they are operating. They were quick to point out that chatr has been one year in the making and that it actually designed to mimic business model that allowed MetroPCS to go from a small time carrier to the 5th largest in the United States. Sadly this was about as much extra information as we could squeeze out of Rogers. As much as they want to get chatr up and running today, they’ve still got a few more things to do behind the scenes before it launches by the end of summer. This means that they can’t get into specifics about when the network will launch. But as we have said before, thanks to our connects we know that Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa are a lock. Anyone planning to wait with baited breath?
Good news for Koodo customers who have spare HSDPA phones lying around, as the Canadian carrier today announced that it is now fully supporting HSDPA handsets. Koodo, a value brand owned and operated by Telus, was launched in mid-2008. One of its main selling points is the “Tab” payment system. With the Tab, customers are able to get a new phone at a discounted rate and pay for it in monthly increments. When the balance is paid off, customers start earning a positive balance on their Tab which can be used towards the purchase of a new handset. Koodo didn’t single out any HSDPA devices in its press release, although for now it looks like the only HSDPA phone being offered is the Nokia 3710, which is priced at $25 on a Tab, or $125 outright.
After away slaving for many months, AT&T announced today that it has completed its 3G network upgrades in the New York City region. Now a 7.2Mbps network that relies heavily on the urban-friendly 850MHz band, AT&T says that the reworked network should deliver “improved 3G wireless voice and data connectivity and performance, especially during peak hours.” To support these claims, AT&T notes that call quality has improved 47%, while data speeds have gone up 25%. So tell us, AT&T users in NYC. Have things improved, or are things still as bad as they ever were? More →
The Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant has been a long time coming, but today an official release date and pricing were finally announced. As of July 21st, T-Mobile will be selling the Vibrant for $199.99, that price of course assuming a new 2-year contract. T-Mobile might have a bit of a tough sell on its hands considering that AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and even U.S. Cellular will be offering the Galaxy S in one form or another, but T-Mobile has a trick up its sleeve: anyone who purchases a Vibrant will get a free copy of The Sims 3 Collectors Edition, and a 2GB microSD card pre-loaded with Avatar. Triple win, right?
Thanks to one of our Northern connects, we’re now able to confirm that the Samsung S8500 Wave will be launching in Canada on July 8th. To be available through Bell, the Bada-based Wave’s notable features include a 3.3″ WVGA Super AMOLED display, 5 megapixel camera with 720p video capture, 1GHz processor and TouchWiz 3.0. The launch memo we were forwarded mentions a retail price of $299.95, though clearly that is just a holder as the actual price has yet to be finalized and will not be passed along to employees until the 28th of June. Anyone interested?
Thanks, J.! More →
There’s good news today for Canadians who are looking to replace their ageing Nokia E71s, as it was officially announced that the Nokia E72 will be coming to Telus. The E72 builds upon the feature set of its predecessor with a 5 megapixel camera, optical trackpack, 600MHz processor and 10.2 Mbps HSDPA connectivity. Pricing and a release date were not announced, although our friend at Mobile Syrup have it on good authority that it will launch on July 11th, most likely for $50 on contract or $330 outright. Anyone thinking of picking one of these bad boys up? More →
It might not have the raw power or good looks of the upcoming Samsung Captivate, but the HTC Aria is the best Android smartphone offered by AT&T. On sale as of Sunday, $129.99 Aria offers specs which include a 3.2″ HVGA display, 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, 512MB ROM / 256MB RAM, and Android 2.1 with Sense UI. We don’t imagine it will be breaking AT&T sales records anytime soon (or ever, for that matter), but at least it’s more of a spirited effort than the BACKFLIP. More →
There’s little in the way of proof that the following specifications are accurate, but according to one of Android Central’s “tried-and-true” tipsters, we now have the tentative specs for the Samsung Galaxy S Pro. Software wise, the Galaxy S Pro is said to be presently running Android 2.1 with Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 overlay. In terms of hardware, you have a WVGA Super AMOLED display (possibly the same unit found on the non-Pro Galaxy S), 5 megapixel camera with 720p video recording, front-facing camera, 512MB RAM, 8.2 GB of internal memory, and a custom 1GHz Cortex A8 processor. As for radios, it’s said that the Galaxy S Pro will run on both Sprint’s EV-DO and WiMAX networks, with a space for a SIM card indicating that we’re looking at HSDPA roaming for Europe and Asia. GPS isn’t mentioned but is surely a given, and the Wi-Fi chip will support the b/g/n protocols. Where build quality is concerned, the tipster did single out various components as feeling “plasticy”, although with the unit in question being a prototype, we won’t let that worry us just yet. More →
Virgin Mobile is no longer the only Canadian carrier to offer the HTC Legend, as today its parent company, Bell, announced that it too will be carrying the milled aluminum handset. Sporting the same $79.99 price tag for those that opt for a 3-year contract, the only major difference between the two is that the Bell Legend goes for $399.99 off contract while the Virgin model goes for $349.99 with a 30-day commitment. Anyone in Canada thinking of picking this up, or are you going to sit tight and see what happens with the rumor of a Telus Desire? More →
During an televised interview with CNBC, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday that his company’s efforts to repair its voice network have been paying off and that call quality is steadily improving. “We’ve been going hard at the voice quality issue,” Stephenson said, adding that AT&T’s network revamp, one which primarily focuses on particularly troublesome major cities such as San Francisco and New York, is nearly complete. Stephenson said AT&T customers can expect to use their phones as a phone by the end of the summer. Okay, that last bit was a joke. Sort of. More →
Sure low-cost carriers in the U.S. might have some of the best rate plans out there, but there’s no denying that when it comes to handset selection, Canada’s low-cost carriers have it locked down. A case in point is the HTC Legend, now available from Virgin Mobile. $349.99 on a 30-day contract or $79.99 on a 3-year deal will net Canadians a 3.2″ HVGA AMOLED display, 5 megapixel camera, 512 MB ROM / 384MB RAM, 600MHz processor, and Android 2.1 with Sense UI all crammed into a milled aluminum body. It’s not yet available in Saskatchewan and Manitoba because the network that Virgin shares with Telus and parent-company Bell hasn’t made its Prairie debut (Winninpeg excluded), but as of today it’s available everywhere else.
In 2006, RIM launched the BlackBerry Pearl 8100. It’s critical reception was mixed, but there’s no denying it helped propel the BlackBerry brand to super stardom. Since then, smartphones have become even more mainstream and many serious competitors have emerged. Yes despite all of the competition and its own success, RIM has remained relatively true to its conservative tradition. Even today, a time when more than half of its customers are consumers, RIM is still sticking with a Java-based OS that has remained relatively unchanged since the Pearl first hit the scene. This year, RIM announced to little fanfare. Can a consumer product from a company that is business-centric at its roots survive in the age of Android and iPhone? Hit the jump to find out as we review the BlackBerry Pearl 3G from Rogers. More →
Anyone looking for a device that’s as much a sat-nav superstar as it is a capable smartphone might want to mosey on over to T-Mobile, as the Garmin-ASUS Garminfone is now available. Running Android 1.6 with a 3 megapixel camera and AWS 3G, the Garminfone really comes into its own with its GPS capabilities which include just about everything you’d get in a top of the dedicated GPS unit for your car. A 2-year stint with T-Mobile will let you get the Garminfone for $199.99 after a $50 MIR, but if contracts aren’t your scene, you can grab the handset outright with Even More Plus for $449.99, or break that up into 20 monthly payments of $22.50. More →