Cell Canada

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Archive for October, 2008

The Best Free Apple iPhone Apps

Posted by Gary on October 23, 2008

Here at Cell Canada, we are big fans of ‘cheap’ and ‘free’ in all their forms – whether it be cheap cell long distance with Alligato Mobile, or cheap gadget toys at DealExtreme, or the focus of this article, free Apple iPhone Apps.  We have a well earned reputation for being tight with our pennies.

Thus we thought it might be interesting to share our spendthrift-favorite iPhone Applications both to spread our cheapness but also to see if any of you may have a line on great free iPhone Apps that we may have missed.

Here’s our list::

Bloomberg:Classic thorough Bloomberg market and stock information in a smooth and easy to use App for all you market junkies out there.  (Hint, it’s probably down).

Blue Skies Lite: A great helicopter game.  Control the helicopter by using the accelerometer.  Shoot planes, tanks, avoid mines, etc.  Great graphics, great sound, and lots of fun.

Facebook: What can you say.  It’s Facebook on the iPhone.  It’s been widely presumed that one of the motivations for the new Facebook design was to align the online site with the mobile site.

Fring: A multi-IM client that supports Gtalk, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, ICQ, etc.   But even more importantly, a VoIP over WiFi client that supports Skype and a multitude of SIP service providers such as Gizmo, NewWorldDial, etc.  First generation and a bit rough still but it works well enough now and has lots of promise going forward.

Funky Punch Lite: A simple arcade type fighter game.  A simple and fun way to try out your combo moves.

Fuzzle: An addictive puzzle game.  Has all the hallmarks – easy to play, some mental complexity, good graphics and sounds. 

i.TV: A TV directory done right.  Episode guides, ratings, preview videos for movies, etc.

Last.FM: We love this application.  A must have for any music fan.  Stream music based on genres, tags, ‘similar to’, and friends favorites.  Add in artist bios and concert schedules for some reading while you are enjoying the music.

Locly:  Locly finds restaurants, pubs, gas stations, cafe’s, events, dogs, and almost anything else in your local vicinity.  The interface is a bit rough and ugly at this point but the data is great.  Ever been in a new location and wondered where the nearest ATM was? or gas station?  Locly knows. 

Lux Touch:  Can you say the game of Risk without copyright issues.  Well this is it.  Graphics are lame but the gameplay is addictive.  Who doesn’t want to rule the world.

Midomi: A music discovery tool, like Shazam but with more cool features.  Put Midomi up to a song you hear on the radio and after 10 seconds of listening and about 30 seconds of hitting its online database, it will come back with the song.  Amazingly accurate.  The accuracy is even scarier when you try the ‘hum a song’ option.  Yes, it will predict a song based on your humming.

Say Who Dialer– A voice dialer for the iPhone.  Works and works well right out of the download.  No training required.  Just hold down the big button on the centre of the screen and say the name of the person you want to dial and it will pull their data out of your address book, or speak their phone number, and it will dial.

Tap Tap Revenge– One of the original great free games on the iPhone App Store.  Tap out the bubbles to the beat.  Nothing better than gaming to a beat.

Zenbe Lists – A simple and powerful to-do list application for all of you list junkies out there.  Ends off our list.

So did we miss any of your favourite free iPhone applications?  Drop us a line in the comments – we’d like to hear about them.


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iPhone, gPhone or Windows Mobile?

Posted by robertwright on October 22, 2008

In late September, the initial Google gPhone was introduced: HTC Dream. Google’s strike on the phone market is significantly different than Apple’s, and could, if we measure success by domination of the Internet, be a viable threat to the tumultuous existence of the current mobile industry and cause Apple shareholders some concern.  Is this the wireless battle of this decade?   Since the market has been shifting from PCs to smart phones, this new encounter may well redefine the overall market influence of the various players, with Microsoft mobile being the most at risk, and Google with the most to gain (because it is just entering), and Apple defying all expert opinions by capturing the heart and soul of its customer’s.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Blackberry Storm vs Apple iPhone

Posted by Gary on October 8, 2008

Blackberry Storm details are coming out fast and furious.  From early reviews, it seems to meet and beat most expectations.  It may certainly be the best corporate device ever built though I’m sure some will argue otherwise.  The keyboard, our big question in previous posts, is getting good reviews and RIM seems to have done a good job of using the capacitive aspects for actions and a hard button interface for selection.  Of course it has the strengths of RIM’s industry leading mail/contact/calendar applications with BES synch.  It appears to be somewhat weaker than the iPhone on the consumer applications side – video presentation, browser, and music.  Especially when it comes to the slickness, design, and hardware graphics acceleration of the consumer application interfaces.  The application store / deck / market has had little discussion so far though it appears from the rumours that carrier’s will control the application they allow in the market.  Payment/account registration etc. details are still unknown.

For us, we are very impressed and can’t wait to get out hands on it.  We don’t know if it will displace our affection for the iPhone – it seems to be missing the lifestyle aspects but it’s our ideal corporate phone. 

Competition is good.  Finally, we can kill the abuse of the term: ‘iPhone killer’.  We now have two very good and different phones to choose from – it’s no longer a one horse market.

Technologizer created a good early comparison table that we’ve copied for you below:


The phones
BlackBerry Storm 9530
Apple iPhone 3G
BlackBerry (Java based)
Apple’s proprietary OS X
Now, although supply is occasionally spotty
U.S. carrier
$199 for 8GB model or $299 for 16GB model with two-year contract
Data plan
$30 a month for unlimited data; $5 a month extra for 200 text messages
Presumably, to Verizon
Yup, to AT&T
Just black, as far as I know
Black (8GB and 16GB); white (16GB only)
Size and weight
4.4” by 24” by 0.55”; 5.46 oz.
4.3″ by 2.4″by 0.33″; 4.05 oz.
Screen size and resolution
3.25″; 480 by 360
3.5″; 480 by 320
Multi-touch haptic-feedback touchscreen with QWERTY and SureType keyboards
Multi-touch touchscreen with on-screen keyboard
Volume; lock; left and right Convenience; mute/play; send, menu, end, and escape
Home; volume; vibrate
Headphone jack
Standard 3.5mm
Standard 3.5mm
Voice dialing
Not sure
Voice recording
Not that I know of
3.2 megapixels; flash; digital zoom; video capable
2 megapixels; no flash; no digital zoom; no video
Quad-band GSM and CDMA
Quad-band GSM
Both HSPA and EVDO
Use as tethered modem?
It has the ability technically, at least; not sure if Verizon will permit
Violates AT&T’s terms of service; tethering plan is rumored
Data plan
$30 a month for unlimited data; $5 a month extra for 200 text messages
Wi-Fi and GPS
Nope on Wi-Fi; yep on GPS
Got ‘em both
5.5 hours talk time; 360 hours standby; removable
5 hours talk time; 300 hours standby; not removable
Web browser
BlackBerry Browser
WebKit-based Safari
Web searching
Presumably in some form, but I don’t know the details
Yes, via Google or Yahoo
IMAP, POP, BlackBerry Enterprise Server
MobileMe, GMail, Yahoo Mail, AOL; other services supported through IMAP
Yes, with to-do list
Yes, but no to-do list
Microsoft Exchange support
Yes–hey, it even supports Notes and GroupWise
Instant messaging
AIM, Windows Live, Yahoo, ICQ
Only through third-party apps
Office Apps
Documents to Go Office-compatible suite, with editing
Microsoft Office-compatible viewers, but no editing
Yes (BlackBerry Maps)
Turn-by-turn navigation
Not standard that I know of; apparently available through third-party apps
No, but may be coming from third party developer(s)
Supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WMA ProPlus formats
iPod player and iTunes Store; supports MP3, AAC (with or without Fairplay), WAV, Apple Lossless, AIFF, VBR formats
Yes; supports H.264, MPEG4, and WMV formats
iPod player, YouTube; movies through iTunes Store; supports H.264 and MPEG4 formats
Wireless synching
Yes, through BlackBerry Internet Server and BlackBerry Enterprise Server
Yes, through MobileMe
Desktop synching
Yes, through BlackBerry Media Sync
Yes, through iTunes
Application store
RIM is supposedly readying an application store; apps available from third-party stores
Yes, the iTunes App Store

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Blackberry Storm to Launch Exclusively on Telus in Canada

Posted by Gary on October 8, 2008

Blackberry Storm

Blackberry Storm

Telus has their Blackberry Storm teaser page up.  It’s identified as an ‘exclusive’ and thus implies that we will not be seeing the Storm on Rogers or Bell at launch.  Quite the sweep by Telus given the expected corporate and consumer interest in the device.  However we expect that the use of the term ‘exclusive’ may apply to the EVDO/HSPA model versus the pure HSPA model (‘exclusive’ on Rogers).

Here’s the page: http://promo.telusmobility.com/storm/

Here’s the Vodafone page with more graphics and a specification sheet: http://blackberry.vodafone.co.uk/storm/

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Another Blackberry Storm / Thunder Video

Posted by Gary on October 7, 2008

An official Vodafone Blackberry Storm / Thunder video.  Slick presentation of the functionality.  Looks good though we’d like to see the UI in a bit more detail.  Soon enough…

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Great, Easy, & Cheap Cell Phone Long Distance

Posted by Gary on October 2, 2008

We just returned from a couple of trips across Canada and were reminded again of how much we like the Alligato cellular long distance service.  During travel to Toronto, Montreal, Regina, Calgary, and Edmonton, we had to use our cell phone extensively to call long distance back to Vancouver as well as to the other travel cities.  With Alligato, we were able to make these calls easily and confidently, knowing that we were not getting ripped off by the cellular carriers’ LD rates or having to bother with picking up calling cards (not to mention having to watch out for calling card scams).

We had signed up to Alligato on their pay as you go plan back in the summer.  We liked the fact that it was easy to use and there were no setup or any monthly fees.  Their rates are similar to home phone long distance rates – much much lower than cellular carrier long distance rates.  After a month, we switched over to their Unlimited North America calling plan.  It covers unlimited long distance to Canada and the USA for $9.95/month.  It’s an amazing price – we used to pay that much for just one call using Bell’s cellular LD.  We’ve been using it quite a bit since then.  The quality is great and the price is right.  Our bill has been $11.15 per month after GST and PST and we call as much long distance as we want.

This trip just reinforced the value for us.  We probably did over a hundred minutes of long distance per day from our cell phone.  All without worrying about how much it was costing us.  We’d highly recommend that you look at the service if you do any long distance calling from your cell phone.

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