Archive for August, 2009

Bell Mobility Launches Palm Pre

It’s official, Bell Mobility has launched the 3G Palm Pre!

Voted best mobile phone at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, the Palm Pre is available exclusively from Bell.
- Move seamlessly through open applications with just a flick of your finger
- Link your contacts, calendars, and email from different sources
- Use the Pre’s powerful search function to find what you’re looking for with ease

The Pre features Palm’s brand new operating system-Palm webOS, a 3.1″ touch screen and slide out QWERTY keyboard, built in connectivity-WIFI, Bluetooth, and GPS, a 3.0MP camera, and 8GB internal memory.

Pick up your Palm Pre at any Bell retail location today.  Launch pricing on a 3-year term is $199.95 (with voice and data over $45/month).  Before rushing out to become the first to have the Pre in Canada, spend a few minutes and watch Howard’s reviews of the device.


4 comments August 27th, 2009

Palm Pre on Bell review

Check out my Palm Pre on Bell review:

7 comments August 25th, 2009

HowardForum Giveaways

On Tuesday August 25th I’ll be giving away:

XBOX 360 Elite with Grand Theft Auto 4

Bluelounge Sanctuary Charging stand (check my review out here)

Blackberry Pearl Flip on TELUS

click here for more information.

Also, congrats to our most recent winners:

Underoath87, Motorola MOTOROKR S9-HD
bluetooth stereo headphones
thumper80, Motorola H560 Bluetooth headset
rjbu, Motorola H690 BT HS
chaoss, Motorola H620 BT HS
D K N Y, Nokia BH701 BT HS
Eyecon82, Nokia BH804 BT HS
fonemaker, Nokia BH804 BT HS
Ltvscout, Samsung t349 on T-Mobile
tderosa65@sbcgl, Samsung Trance on Verizon
wellduh11, Samsung WEP850 BT HS
astatos, Sandisk 8GB microSDHC with reader
Dliquid1, Sandisk 8GB microSDHC with reader
baudboy, Sandisk 8GB microSDHC with reader
themobilekid, Sandisk 8GB microSDHC

1 comment August 22nd, 2009

New SMS Roaming Travel Packs

Rogers and Fido have launched three new SMS bundles which are perfect for your travels around the world.

$10: 20 text messages ($0.50/message overage)
$20: 50 text messages ($0.40/message overage)
$35: 100 text messages ($0.35/message overage)

The travel packs for good for messaging anywhere outside of Canada.  The add-ons will not be prorated so they do not need to be added on your plan’s anniversary date.  All roaming SMS packs will expire after 30 days and will need to be manually re-added.


Add comment August 21st, 2009

Fido’s OTC Program Being Discontinued

Roger’s discount brand, Fido Telephony, will be discontinuing their OTC program (over the counter exchange program) sometime in September.  The program allowed customers to return their defective handset (with the exception of iPhones, BlackBerrys, and USB sticks) and exchange it on the spot for a refurbished device, of the same model, at their local Fido store.

The OTC program will be replaced by a loaner phone program where customer will always leave the store with a working handset.  With the previous program if the store was out of stock, due to phone supply issues, of the phone the customer need to exchange they would be out of luck and walk out the door with a non-functioning phone.  The Nokia 2660 is the device of choice for the loaner program, even if you have a smartphone such as a Jack or Q9H.  Returns for iPhones and BlackBerrys must be made through customer care, 1-888-481-FIDO (3436) or 611 from you Fido device.

The “Fido Loaner Phone Program” does come with a cost.  Customers who require a loaner device will be charged a $10 admin fee, no exceptions, as well as a $50 deposit for the handset.  The $50 deposit will be refunded to the customer if the phone is returned within, 14 days of being notified their handset is ready for pickup, in working condition.  The new program will allow customers to return the defective device to any Fido dealer not just corporate stores as the OTC program required.

Customers who send their phone out for repair which is not covered by the warranty will be charged at $25 estimate fee plus cost for repair.


Add comment August 21st, 2009

Introducing the Motorola Rival!

Koodo Mobile is proud to announce the launch of the Motorola Rival – Perfect for trendy customers looking to stay ahead of the social curve. Ready, Set, Text! Out-thumb your friends with this loaded messaging machine, complete with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that gives you one-touch access to texting and emoticons. Call friends in style using the sleek touch-dial screen. Whether talking or texting, the Motorola Rival multimedia phone keeps you connected at a price you can afford.

The Rival features:

  • slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • 2.2″ touch-dial screen
  • 2.0 MP camera with video capture
  • MP3 player with microSD slot (up to 8GB)
  • Bluetooth
  • Voice-activated dialing
  • Speakerphone

The QWERTY has launched at $200 or $50 with a Tab.  After September 6th the price will jump $25 to $225 or $75.

More at Koodo.


1 comment August 21st, 2009

Phone Browser Speed test


So I was grocery shopping the other day. I’m standing in line waiting to pay when it occurred to me how addicted I am to the internet. With that in mind it figured it would be a good idea to find out which phone browser renders pages the fastest. After all surfing the web while in line is a lot more fun than reading the headlines on tabloids, looking at chocolate bars or trying to stereotype people based on what food they buy.

While the idea of figuring which is fastest is simple, actually figuring out required a lot of thought.

Since I spend a lot of time on HowardForums I took the homepage, converted it to a static page and moved all externally hosted images and elements so that they all load from the same server.

You can find it at

Now before we go to the results let me point out the numerous problems with my test:

First off, the internet is a highly dynamic thing. Sometimes it can be fast, sometimes it can be slow. Outside of paying your bill on time there’s only so much you can do about it.

Secondly, phone browsers are not all created equal, some support flash, others allow you to have multiple pages open at the same time, etc. All I’m testing is how fast a phone renders a page; from when it starts loading to when the load bar is full.

Each carrier is different. Some may take a shorter faster path to the server while others may be slower.

These tests don’t take into account a phone’s user interface. If a phone is horrible to use but has a super fast browser it will do well on this test.

Some phones allow you to browse the page while it is being loaded while some don’t.

Some devices attempt to speed up page load times by using proxy servers. The proxy servers intercept the page you’re trying to load, compress them (text and images) so that they download to your phone more quickly. For devices like this (mainly Blackberries) I’m not going to bother by passing the proxies since they use them out of the box.

Other things to think about are how accurately a webpage renders a page, etc etc.

For some phones I tested over the mobile network and over WiFi and through my internet connection. My home internet connection is usually faster. This can reveal whether a phone is being held back by a slow processor or a slow internet connection.

How I tested:

To test I grabbed a stopwatch and timed how long it took each phone to load I repeated each test until I got what I thought were consistent results. I also repeated these tests at different times of the day until I got an idea of the best case scenario.

To ensure browsers weren’t loading pages out of their cache I tried my best to make sure that the browser caches were empty. Here are some examples: for iPhones I opened up a new window, closed the speedtest window, opened up Safari’s options and cleared the cache, then opened up Safari and loaded the speedtest page. For Android phones I opened up a new window, opened up the switch window menu and closed the speedtest window, cleared cache and then opened speedtest again. I tell you, after running these damn tests on a bunch of phones they get really boring.

Load Times


Given all the problems with the test I mentioned already I wouldn’t make a big deal if one phone is say 10% faster than another. There are enough factors that you may very well find the opposite to true.

That said, if one phone is significantly faster than another then you can probably draw some conclusions from this graph.

While carriers networks can often theoretically support high speeds more often than not the devices are the limiting factor. Let’s say a phone is capable of 3.6mbps – does that mean it can load a 512kb webpage in half a second? Nope. While the data that makes up a webpage is generally downloaded quickly it usually takes the phone a few seconds (or sometimes many seconds) to render a page. A good example are the Blackberries in my test. I noticed they only take about 3 seconds to request a page, 12 seconds to download a page and then about 25 seconds to process the page.

With it’s blazing processor and lack of multitasking I wasn’t suprised that the iPhone 3Gs dominated the test. I was rather suprised at how quickly the N97 did since subjectively I didn’t find it felt that fast (it didn’t feel slow, just not that fast). While we’re talking about the N97 I didn’t test it’s HSDPA performance since the one I had was a euro varient (no HSDPA support where I live).

Subjectively, I found any browser that takes around 20 seconds or less generally felt ‘fast’.

While Opera on Windows Mobile isn’t a bad browser I’ve never found it to be fast.

Even with their proxy servers the Blackberries finished at the bottom of the test. Below even the LG Xenon which is a non-smartphone (albeit one of the most interesting ones on the market) and the Sony Ericsson K850 (not an old phone but not SE’s most recent). Unfortunately I didn’t have a Bold handy but even though it’s the fastest Blackberry you can buy I don’t think it would do much better.

Anyways, that’s all for now. I’ll add more devices as I get them.

Howard Chui

7 comments August 20th, 2009

Palm Pre on Bell first impressions and unboxing

Here’s my Palm Pre on Bell unboxing and first impressions. I check out the Pre’s operating system Web OS and compare it with some phones ( HTC Touch Pro 2, Samsung Omnia, BB Tour, Storm, Apple iPhone, HTC Magic and Nokia N97).

3 comments August 18th, 2009

HUP Upgrade Changes-Rogers Wireless

Rogers Wireless is changing the eligibility of its HUP program.

Effective August 21, 2009, a minimum tenure of 24 months since initial activation or last upgrade will be required before a customer is eligible to participate in the hardware upgrade program.  This change aligns all upgrades (voice, voice to data and data to data) with the current data to data HUP policy.

According to the internal bulletin, Rogers is implementing the change to the HUP for two reasons.

  • Rogers Wireless heavily invests in providing the latest data devices at affordable prices to our data customers. This update to the Hardware Upgrade Program is designed to offer a consistent upgrade eligibility to an outstanding selection of the most advanced devices for the best value.
  • In addition to the outstanding selection of available devices, there has also been improved level of quality and technology that has gone into the line-up over the past years allowing a longer hardware lifespan.
  • I always love reading companies internal documentations as there is always a few sentences that give you a good chuckle.  Take this one from the Rogers’ bulletin for example.

    This change also reinforces the importance of explaining to customers that HUP eligibility and quoted hardware/plan pricing are subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed beyond the time of quotation.

    To me that paragraph means that Rogers’ is implementing the new HUP policy to remind consumers who is in charge.  The change has nothing to do with devices costing more or the “longer hardware lifespan” it is just another way Rogers can make an easy buck.

    As mentioned earlier in the post, the updated HUP upgrade policy is effective August 21st and will only apply to regular consumers, business accounts will not be affected.  I recommend if you are considering upgrading you current Rogers’ device you do so before August 21st because even though you may have been eligible for an upgrade you may no longer be able to under the new policy.


    1 comment August 15th, 2009

    HTC Touch Pro 2 on TELUS unboxing

    I just got a HTC Touch Pro 2 on TELUS. Here’s my unboxing video along with a quick comparison with the SE Xperia x1, Blackberry Tour and Storm, Samsung Omnia i910 and HTC TyTN.

    1 comment August 14th, 2009

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