Category Archives: iphone

There may not be a market for a mid-range iPhone

iPhonesWith Apple signalling that it won’t be releasing any new products till the fall, the cottage industry that is speculation about the company’s imminent moves has taken a hit. The normal rash of stories trying to guess everything from what kind of watch Apple is working on to how much integration the iPhone will have with cars has slowed lately, even though the company has its annual Worldwide Developers Conference coming up in a month’s time.

The slowdown hasn’t affected some analysts and media, though, with All Things D picking up a report from J.P. Morgan analysts who believe Apple isn’t planning to release a cheap iPhone. Rather than a $200 iPhone, the company is likely thinking of a mid-range device that would sell for around $350, they say.

Their logic is based on two facts. For one, the company has historically avoided catering to the low-end by releasing mid-range iPods and iPads (the Mini) after initially commandeering the high end. And secondly, there’s a big chunk of the mid-range market that is there for the taking. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on May 6, 2013 in apple, iphone


Where are those BlackBerry defectors coming from?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlackBerry fans don’t have much longer to wait now - the Q10 is officially launching in Canada and a number of other countries on May 1, with the U.S. release coming just a few weeks later. While the first phone running the company’s new BB10 operating system - the Z10 - became available in February, most people agree that the Q10 is the first real new BlackBerry, since it’s the one with the physical keyboard. Actual QWERTY buttons and BlackBerry have, after all, become synonymous over the years.

The Q10 is indeed the communications powerhouse that the faithful have been waiting for, although it still doesn’t necessarily stack up as a full-on lifestyle hub or enhancer. With a few flaws and a lack of apps, the Q10 (and the Z10, for that matter) aren’t nearly as fully featured as the latest iPhone or Android smartphones. Here’s my full review.

One of the things I mentioned in both that review and of the Z10 is that the dearth of apps compared to competitors may act as a deal breaker to a significant number of potential buyers. As good (or bad) as a phone might be, existing smartphone owners aren’t going to switch over if they have to give up apps they’ve become accustomed to. Personally, I just don’t think I could switch to a phone that doesn’t have Google Maps, because I use it just that much, which precludes either BlackBerry model for me, at least for now. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 24, 2013 in android, apple, iphone, RIM


Lessons from Denmark’s telecom market

Even Danish vikings understood the benefits of cheap, accessible technology.

Even Danish vikings understood the benefits of cheap, accessible technology.

I spent a few days in Denmark last week doing research for my next book, Humans 3.0. One of the chapters will look at whether technological advance is making us happier as a whole, and with Denmark regularly ranking as the happiest country on the planet, I thought there might be some insights to be found. There definitely were and I’ll revisit this topic in future posts.

One of the contributing factors to Danes’ high satisfaction levels is surely the excellent state of their telecommunications services. Denmark has some of the fastest and cheapest wireline and wireless offerings in the world.

On the home broadband side, the country rates third overall in terms of overall value, according to Ookla’s Net Index. I almost wept tears of envy when doing speed tests at my friend’s house, where I was staying. I got even sadder when I learned that his ultra-fast, symmetrical download and uploads speeds (with unlimited usage) costs only about $15 a month. Similar service either doesn’t exist in Canada, or you have to break the bank to get it.

On the wireless side, with the debate currently stirred up again over whether Canada’s market is competitive, I thought it might be instructive to see how the Danes manage. In that vein, I ventured into a Telia store, pretending to be interested in buying an iPhone 5. Despite having only 6 million people, Denmark has four facilities-based wireless competitors: Telia, Telenor, 3 and TDC. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 26, 2013 in denmark, iphone, mobile, telecommunications


Taking the rechargeable Powerbag for a test drive


The myCharge Amp 2000 portable power stick: coming to Canada this spring.

If there was one entry in my 2012 gadget round-up a few weeks ago that intrigued readers, it was definitely the Powerbag. Statistically speaking, it received the most click-throughs of any of the gizmos I included.

I managed to get my hands on the Powerbag Business Class Pack a few weeks ago and took it to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which turned out to be the perfect trial by fire. At previous shows, running out of phone juice was a common occurrence given the constant emailing and tweeting from the convention centre floor. Having a portable power source was a theoretical godsend.

The Powerbag did indeed work as advertised. The backpack houses a rechargeable battery deep within its bowels, while a separate pocket has a mini-USB connector and a 30-pin Apple connector. The charging function is activated by pressing a power button on the outside of the bag. From there, you simply plug in your phone or tablet and zip up the charging pocket. The next time you take it out, it’s likely to be fully charged and ready to go. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in CES, iphone


10 best (or most important) gadgets of the year

With technology advancing exponentially, so too are the number of new gadgets flooding the market. There are indeed so many gizmos coming out on a daily basis that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them.

That’s why, love them or hate them, top-10 lists are especially useful when it comes to this particular theme. All such lists are purely subjective, as is the one I’ve put together below, but they are handy in identifying some of the standouts amid the sea of stuff out there.

Here are the 10 gadgets I liked best - or that I thought were important - in 2012:

10. Sony 4K TV


With everyone already owning an HDTV, it was inevitable that manufacturers would eventually start pushing the next big thing. Sony is one of the first with its 4K TV, with the 4K standing for the more than 4,000 pixels along its width, making it twice as sharp as a regular 1080p model. This 84-inch beast costs $25,000 so it’s clearly not something I’ll be getting any time soon, but it did look sweet in the demo I saw earlier this year. The only question is: how would Santa get it down the chimney? Read the rest of this entry »


It’s time to ban phone unlocking fees

Good news if you’re an iPhone owner with Bell or Virgin - the carriers will reportedly unlock that bad boy for you. Of course, with this being the Canadian cellphone industry, there are many caveats to go with that. One is, you have to own the phone outright, two is that you can’t be on contract and three is that you can’t be a prepaid customer. Oh, and it’ll cost you the tidy sum of $75.

Bell and its subsidiary are finally joining its Big Three cohorts, Rogers and Telus, in offering the “service,” although the company looks to be alone in charging such a hefty fee. Telus recently cut the cost of its iPhone unlock to $35 from $50, which is what Rogers still charges.

Why is Bell’s fee higher? Hey, buying sports teams and broadcasters doesn’t pay for itself, y’know?

All three carriers began offering unlock services on other devices some time ago, after politicians starting making noises like private members’ bills that would prohibit locking in the first place. The iPhone and its hefty cost, meanwhile, has evidently been a special case till now.

As the $75 fee attests to, it’s time for politicians and regulators to go further. There is simply no reason why carriers should charge subscribers anything for unlocking devices they’ve already paid for. It’s a blatant anti-competitive fee designed to discourage customers from switching carriers, or to ding them one final time when they do.

That goes double for subscribers on contracts - they’re already bound by termination fees if they break their agreement early, in which case they should have immediate and total access to and ownership of their device. Refusing to unlock their device is just an extra kick in the pants.

This is an aspect of service that the Canadian Radoi-television and Telecommunications Commission should definitely address in its current effort to create a wireless code with the public’s input. If anything, the regulator should follow the lead of countries such as Chile, Singapore, Greece and Israel, which have outlawed the act of locking phones in the first place.


Posted by on November 28, 2012 in bell, iphone


10 technologies I’m thankful for

What’s more useful: Google’s Street View or Apple’s Flyover?

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving, which means that many of us here in the Great White North have spent the weekend in food-induced comas. In between bouts of overeating, some of us may also have taken the holiday to heart and reflected on the things we’re grateful for. Since technology is the operative theme in these parts, I spent the weekend thinking about the various gadgets, software and tech-related things that I’m thankful for.

What follows is a top 10 list of technologies - inventions that have made my life better, easier or more productive. I tried not to include the big, obvious things, like the internet, but rather focused on the specifics that have enhanced my particular slice of the world.

10. Amazon: Whenever possible, I buy my stuff on Amazon, mostly because it’s the epitome of how a business should operate: low prices, great service. I also dig the fact that the company is a purposeful disruptor, even this far into its existence. Its ongoing fight with publishers to lower the price of books while at the same time giving authors the power to disintermediate those same publishers makes it an easy company to root for, both as a consumer and as a writer.

9: Xbox 360: I play most of my games on the Xbox 360, mostly because I like its controller better than the PlayStation 3. If measured by the number of hours of pure joy delivered, no other machine or technology even comes close. Read the rest of this entry »


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