Archive for November, 2009

Mobile wars

Looks like momentum is shifting in the Canadian wireless market. The roll out of the HSPA network for the olympics, then the iPhone came to Bell and Telus, and now victory in court. I’ve always found the so called “intangible” claims to be silly. The most reliable network? Really? How exactly is that measured? You might as well say that you have more cell towers so you don’t get dropped calls. And soon Rogers won’t be able to claim that they are the fastest either. So whats left for Rogers? Jack up cable bills to cover the loss in wireless revenue.

This is nothing like the At&T vs Verizon slapfest. However the momentum shift is very similar. Users have been complaining about AT&T and their iPhones for a long time. However the divide between service levels in Canada isn’t quite the same as it is in the U.S.

West is dominated by Telus. East is Rogers. Bell is sprinkled across the country. Major cities are pretty much covered by all of them. If you’re out in the county, you might find service lacking.

XBox 360 still > PS3 > Wii?

Despite having blu ray PS3 sales numbers still lag behind the XBox 360, but why? If the red ring of death isn’t enough to dissuade you from buying an Xbox then there must be something significantly better. Hardware issues aside gamers crave games. Not just any games, good games, excellent games. Blood, gore, violence, and action. With an astounding 60% failure rate it doesn’t seem to be stopping consumers.

The recent Modern Warfare 2 launch brought to light another issue. Illegally modded consoles. Apparently enterprising modders have most likely upgraded their stock hard drives and installed / downloaded games illegally leading to 1 million xbox live accounts getting banned. So beware of that used Xbox 360 on eBay for an incredibly low price.

XBox keeps on churning out the console exclusive hits and Sony sales will continue to lag behind. Don’t even get me started on that short lived trendy Wii (btw your 15 minutes are up). Now if only Microsoft could make their hardware more reliable …

Droid off and running

For some the launch of the highly touted Motorola Droid was underwhelming, for others it went as expected. Feature comparisons aside, one thing is clear. The Droid is a definite competitor for Apple. Perhaps not on the same consumer demand scale but expect to see Android phones consistently cut into the iPhone numbers as the months go on. Lineups? No, but those who did manage to get their hands on the handset have reported positive results. At face value the Motorola Droid is “brick-ish” and heavy, but the target audience for this handset should be more interested in what the phone can do. Perhaps the best Android phone yet, but definitely not the best looking.

Personally I find the Motorola Cliq to be a much more broad appeal when it comes to styling. Hot on the heels of Motorola’s offerings is the LG Eve at a very competitive price point. Expect many more to come.

LG phone strangely absent

Rogers wireless scored a coup by getting the LG Eve (GW620), one of a few select wireless providers to get one however something is strange. Despite showing up on their website and commercials, I’m not seeing the phone out the real world. Nor am I seeing any popular technology gadget sites talking about it or even reviewing it. So what’s the deal?

Is the phone a dud? Reception issues? Camera quality perhaps? On paper the specs look decent and the phone appears to be a reasonably well designed device. Compared to the Motorola Cliq they’ve removed the directional pad to make texting easier. Touchscreen? Yes. QWERTY keyboard? Yes. Wifi? Yes. 3G? Yes. Very nice specs and with a cheap price over a 3 year contract. At this price point it should be getting scooped up by students everywhere. Perhaps iPhone contracts are getting in the way. Well Christmas IS just around the corner maybe we’ll see more handsets out in the wild shortly.

Can anyone comment?

Updated Dec. 30/09
AH HA! So it is indeed a dud! One of my friends was chatting with Rogers reps on the phone and in-store and the phone is a mere $400 for a reason. RF performance is below average, touch screen is uber sensitive to the point that it is annoying, no physical phone button sucks, non intuitive UI, Android less than stellar performance (hardware issue?). As well if you’re considering the Sony X1, don’t. That phone is also a major dud. Looks like I’m heading to ebay to pick up a Motorola Droid/Milestone.

Electronista Review
Howard Chui Review

Canada to finally get the Kindle

Hold the applause (yes, all 5 of you) Amazon has decided to finally allow Canadians the opportunity to get their hands on the Kindle. The highly coveted ebook reader. Ok, so “coveted” is going overboard. However all is not bells and whistles. Canadians will still have to pay the import duty of approximately $30 pushing cost of the device up to $300 after the dust settles. Really?! I’m not sure that little crappy display is even worth $100.

I’ll admit that I’m surprised at the success this ebook reader has enjoyed, especially in the U.S. (since we all know Anericans don’t read, they watch CNN). Logically the unit should do even better here in Canada but somehow I don’t think so. Number 1 the price is a barrier. Perhaps a small time college will jump on the bandwagon and offer up their textbooks via ebook and issue a Kindle with tuition costs but other than than I don’t see many jumping on board.

The other barrier is competition. Canadian shoppers are savvy and many have already adopted the Sony ebook reader at a fraction of the cost (no import duties here). Amazon’s delay to enter the Canadian market has forced interested buyers to look elsewhere and there are no shortage of ebook readers available.

Too late? Perhaps, there those die hard fans who will still buy one but beyond that the projected sales numbers look pretty bleak. Because we all know Canadians don’t read, they watch hockey.

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