Archive for November, 2010

Talking tablets with Bob Stein: ‘A consumption device’

Tablets have become a popular device for consuming content – whether it’s reading magazines, watching movies on a flight, playing games on the go or sharing stories with people from your sofa.

As part of our RedBoard series about how tablets are changing the way we live, work and play, we asked Bob Stein, Co-Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book, five questions about his tablet use and what’s next for this technology.  He sees the tablet as a device designed for consuming content.

1. How do you use your tablet?

As a consumption device. surfing the web via FlipBoard and Facebook, reading email (and writing short replies), watching video, listening to music, reading books, playing expressive games (e.g. SoundDrop, my current favorite)

2. What has surprised you most about the device?

I always expected that when “the tablet” arrived it would be a new form factor for an all purpose consumption/production device. However, with the arrival of the iPad, Apple separated consuming from creating.

3. What are your predictions for tablets in 2011?

There are going to be lots of new models and the Android-based tablets are going to begin challenging the iPad’s dominance in the market.

4. If you were sent to a desert island and could take one device, would it be a tablet or another device? Which one and why?

If there is internet connectivity I want a Macbook Air because I can use it to create as well as consume. If no internet connectivity, i would reject the iPad with it’s limited memory in favor of the Mac Powerbook with the largest hard drive so I can load it with books, music and video.

5. What’s your one must-have app?

Kindle reader for iPad

Stein will be part of a panel entitled “Tablets and the Media” at Rogers TabLife TO on December 3rd.

You can learn more about the event at tablife.ca. We’ll have full coverage of Rogers TabLife TO here on RedBoard on December 3rd and shortly after the event.

Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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Talking tablets with Stephanie Jackson: ‘More tablets for more people’

As part of our RedBoard series about the way tablets are changing the way we live, work and play, we asked Stephanie Jackson, Vice President, Client Services with app developer Zinio five questions on how she uses her tablet and what’s next for this technology. She says 2011 will see more tablets for more people.

1. How do you use your tablet?

To read, to play, to work and to share. I read magazines; I play games; I surf the web. I love being able to easily share all with friends and family on a plane, on the sofa, even at the table. I also read and answer work emails – easy to read and respond with the larger keyboard.

2. What has surprised you most about the device?

The ease of use for a larger device – I can flip pages of my favorite magazines with the same hand that I’m using to hold the device – very convenient for reading magazines on the train here in NYC.

3. What are your predictions for tablets in 2011?

More tablets for more people. The market will expand beyond the current iPad early adopter market. Not only will tablets be given as gifts this year, but new tablets will be introduced with different models, uses and demographics.

4. If you were sent to a desert island and could take one device, would it be a tablet or another device? Which one and why?

Tough question! I would probably take a tablet. Assuming there is no wireless on the desert island, I won’t get much work done so might as well be entertained with magazines, games, music, etc. all loaded and accessible without internet on my iPad. The only downside might be the battery life and need for shade to read!

5. What’s your one must-have app?

I can’t pick just one! I love the Zinio app, of course, for magazines with ease of use and storage. I’m also quite partial to Scrabble. Both are great for flights, train rides, etc.

Jackson will be part of a panel entitled “Tablets and the Media” at Rogers TabLife TO on December 3rd.

You can learn more about the event at tablife.ca. We’ll have full coverage of Rogers TabLife TO here on RedBoard on December 3rd and shortly after the event.

Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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RedBoard video: Hands on with Windows Phone 7 and the Samsung Focus

A few weeks ago we shared news that the much-anticipated Samsung Focus, one of the first smartphones powered by the new Windows Phone 7 operating system, was coming to Rogers.

Today, the Focus starts to hit Rogers stores, authorized resellers and via rogers.com. You can get one for $199.99 with select voice and data plans. The Focus is part of our lineup of HD devices that gives you the ability to view and capture media, play games and consume web content in stunning quality.

As part of our RedBoard video series, I spoke with Microsoft’s Mike O’Sullivan about the new OS, its Hubs and Xbox Live features as well as the Samsung Focus and its 4-inch super AMOLED  screen. You can read a transcript of the video here.

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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RedBoard video: Frank Feather on the future of the Internet

We know how important it is to have a reliable, high-speed Internet connection. In fact, odds are that you use broadband Internet so often, anything less than high-speed seems unthinkable.

We’re passionate about ensuring our network is world class – constantly investing to make it better and faster. Earlier this year, we made our DOCSIS 3.0 N gateway available to all Rogers high-speed internet customers – which, when used with our Ultimate Internet plan is capable of our fastest download speeds.

How fast? Download a song in about one second or a 700-MB full length movie in approximately two minutes – and connect multiple devices doing different things online, whether it’s playing video games, watching video or sending email.

As part of our RedBoard video series, I spoke with author and futurist Frank Feather about what you can expect from these Internet speeds today and in the future. You can read a full transcript here.

What do you think is in store for Internet connectivity?

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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New RedBoard series: ‘Talking tablets with…’

Duncan Stewart Rogers TabLife TOIf you were sent to a desert island and could only bring one device, would it be a tablet?

Today, we’re kicking off a new RedBoard series about how tablets are changing the way we live, work and play. We’ve asked technology, business and marketing experts how they use their tablets and what’s next for the device.

Up first is Duncan Stewart, Director of Deloitte Canada Research. He calls tablets the “Swiss Army knife” of electronic devices.

1. How do you use your tablet?

Web browser – 50%. Email device – 25%. Reader of online newspapers, magazines and eBooks 25%. Video – almost nothing, to my surprise.

2. What has surprised you most about the device?

I was expecting it to be a good device. I was expecting that some of the time it would be as good as my PC. I am surprised how often it is BETTER than my PC.

3. What are your predictions for tablets in 2011?

I am in the Predictions biz! Deloitte has two for 2011: tablets in the enterprise go to 40% of sales, and tablets (and smartphones) do NOT see a monopoly OS provider emerge. OS monopolies are so last century…

4. If you were sent to a desert island and could take one device, would it be a tablet or another device? Which one and why?

I would take a water purifier, but that’s just my survival side! Assuming those kinds of necessities are taken care of, tablet (plus wifi router). It’s the Swiss Army knife of electronic devices.

5. What’s your one must-have app?

Don’t have one. Every app I use a lot is for content that I could otherwise access through a browser. Apps just make it easier, and sometimes richer.

Stewart will be giving a keynote at Rogers TabLife TO entitled “What’s Next for Tablets?”

You can learn more about the event at tablife.ca. We’ll have full coverage of Rogers TabLife TO here on RedBoard on December 3rd and shortly after the event.

Want to talk tablets with us at Rogers TabLife TO?

At 11 a.m. ET tomorrow (Friday, Nov 26), we’ll open up a limited number of free tickets for the event on a first-come, first-served basis at tablife.ca. Your ticket includes admission to Rogers TabLife TO only, and you will be responsible for your own transportation to Toronto.

 

Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

UPDATE (November 26, 11:00 AM): We have opened up a block of tickets for TabLife TO. You can register right now at tablife.ca.

UPDATE (November 26, 12:40 PM): The block of tickets made available this morning are now gone. Should we be able to open up more tickets, we’ll post an update to RedBoard and via our @RogersBuzz Twitter account.

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Smartphone cameras 101: tips to get a better keepsake

andrew_tolson hipstamatic

Macleans’ Andrew Tolson. Shot with an iPhone & edited with the Hipstamatic app.

If you’ve ever had to take a photo on the fly, you likely know what’s it’s like to reach for your smartphone only to be frustrated at the quality of the shot.

Cameras were once nice-to-have add-ons for cell phones. But thanks to innovative software and technology, they can be just as powerful as the digital camera available at your local electronics store. For example, we recently launched the Nokia N8 exclusively for Rogers customers, offering a 12-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens and the ability to shoot video in 720p HD resolution.

Since almost every mobile phone nowadays has a camera, how do you ensure that you’ll get a great keepsake from that impromptu photo?

I asked that question to Andrew Tolson, Director of Photography for Macleans magazine – who lives and breathes photography. He’s almost always got a camera on standby whether it’s his professional SLR or his iPhone.

Regardless of what smartphone you use, here’s a summary of our meeting to help you get the most out of your device’s camera.

1. Keep your expectations in check. Use your device’s camera as a way to have fun and to take impromptu shots – but don’t rely on it for really important situations. Getting married or seeing your nephew for the first time? Bring an SLR or a point-and-shoot digital camera.

2. Check your settings: Make sure to go to “options” or “settings” on your phone and set the image size to the largest possible. That way, if you want to print it’ll be big enough – and your friends won’t need to squint to see it on a computer screen.

3. Grab additional storage: Some devices have both built-in memory and the ability to increase storage. Since you can pick up a 2-GB MicroSD memory card (which can hold hundreds of photos) for less than $10 nowadays, there is really no excuse to run out of space. Another benefit: you can pull out the memory card to print photos or transfer to your computer.

4. Light your shot: While you can’t always plan the perfect shot in advance, always remember: never shoot in bright sunlight (move into open shade if possible); always find a light source, even it’s just moving a lamp nearby; and never, ever shoot in front of an open window. Silhouettes are virtually impossible to repair with software.

5. Stay steady: If you can’t use a tripod (yes, they exist for smartphones too), lean against a wall or put your elbow down on the table to keep your hand steady. And don’t forget to hold it there for a second after you activate the shutter – because if you point, shoot and move, odds are it’ll come out blurry.

6. Grab some apps: Mobile photo-editing software today is incredibly powerful and incredibly cheap. You can add filters and change the look and feel of a photo with just a few touch-screen swipes – things that used to be complex and costly.  Some of his favourites for the iPhone include Photoshop Express (Free); ToonPAINT ($1.99);Camera Plus Pro ($2.49) and Hipstamatic ($1.99). Other photo-editing apps can be found at BlackBerry App World, Android Market, Windows Phone Marketplace or Nokia’s Ovi Store.

7. Use flickr to share: There’s a reason 5-billion pictures have been uploaded to flickr.com: it’s easy to use, easy to organize photos, easy to share those pics with friends; and photo buffs love it. Basic accounts are free and you can get a mobile app that integrates your smartphone with your account. Or, you can easily email them directly to your account, just like sending an attachment.

What are your smartphone camera tips? Do you have a question for Andrew? Submit your tips or questions below.

Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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Tablets in focus: Rogers TabLife TO set for December 3rd

TabLife TOOn Friday, December 3, we’ll bring together experts in technology, business and media at Rogers TabLife TO, a half-day conference looking at how tablets are transforming the way we live, work and play.

We’re big fans – and users – of tablets. While 2010 saw their launch, 2011 is expected to be the year they take flight. This event will look at the implications of that growth and examine the new opportunities for users of all stripes – from big business to the average consumer.

Some of the questions we’ll be asking at TabLife TO include:

  • How are people using tablets and where do they fit into our daily lives versus netbooks, smartphones and other devices?
  • How are businesses using tablets to tackle critical challenges?
  • Will tablets threaten or revolutionize the media landscape?
  • How will our content and lives stay connected amid a proliferation of devices?

TabLife TO will take place at Rogers HQ in downtown Toronto. You can learn more about the event at tablife.ca.

Interested in joining us?
At 3 p.m. ET this Monday, Nov 22, we’ll open up a limited number of free tickets for TabLife TO on a first-come, first-served basis at tablife.ca. Your ticket includes admission to the event only, and you will be responsible for your own transportation to Toronto.

But don’t worry if you can’t make it down to the sessions. We’ll have preview material here on RedBoard leading up to the event, as well as comprehensive wrap-up coverage of highlights and insights.

So tell us: how are tablets changing the way you work and consume content? Do you have a tablet or want one? What would you like to see discussed at the event?

 

Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

UPDATE (November 22, 3:00 PM): We have opened up a block of tickets for TabLife TO. You can register right now at tablife.ca.

UPDATE (November 22, 3:11 PM): Thanks for your interest and excitement about TabLife TO! Our limited number of tickets was reserved very quickly. Should we be able to open up another block of tickets, we’ll post an update to this post and via our @RogersBuzz Twitter account.

UPDATE (November 25, 9:45 AM): We will be opening up another block of free tickets to Rogers TabLife TO at 11 AM ET tomorrow (Friday, November 26) via tablife.ca.

UPDATE (November 26, 11:00 AM): We have opened up a block of tickets for TabLife TO. You can register right now at tablife.ca.

UPDATE (November 26, 12:40 PM): The block of tickets made available this morning are now gone. Should we be able to open up more tickets, we’ll post an update to this post and via our @RogersBuzz Twitter account.

UPDATE (December 2, 11:05 AM): A final block of tickets for TabLife TO are now available. Last chance to get one at tablife.ca.

 

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RedBoard video: Samsung Galaxy Tab landing at Rogers

There’s no question that tablets are transforming the way we live, work and play. From sending email to editing documents to watching video and mobile web browsing, tablets are growing in popularity among Canadians.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab has officially joined Rogers lineup of world-class mobile Internet and Android devices. Beginning tomorrow, devices will start to arrive at Rogers stores and authorized dealers. You can pick one up for $539.99 with select three-year mobile Internet data plans.

The Galaxy Tab features a vivid 7-inch touch screen, expandable memory up to 32GB, the ability to enjoy Flash web content, plus a built-in dual camera, e-reader, and GPS navigation. With the Android 2.2 OS, you also have access to integrated Google Mobile services and thousands of apps on the Android Market.

As part of our RedBoard video series, I spoke with Neil Shuart, Rogers Director of Wireless Internet to take a closer look at the Galaxy Tab, including the two cameras, and the built-in apps for work and entertainment on-the-go. You can read a full transcript here.

What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy Tab? How do you use tablets?

 

Miranda MacDonald is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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Rogers Catalyst Beta: Open APIs to create more app-ortunities

For the first time, Rogers has opened up several of its application programming interfaces (APIs) to developers – exciting news whether you develop the latest bleeding-edge applications or you’re a customer that likes sending a text message.

Rogers Catalyst Beta program – which allows developers and businesses to bring new, custom mobile applications or services to market more quickly than before – is now live.

What does this mean for developers?
In short: we’ve made it much easier for you to do business with us.

Rogers Catalyst Beta includes simplified registration, click-through agreements, access to code samples, documentation, tips & tricks, a development sandbox, a larger developer community and the ability to interact with our in-house program managers.

Network-based APIs for location, messaging and billing services will be available at launch, while others such as MMS will come soon. These APIs will allow developers to build compelling new cloud-based services that leverage our network capabilities.

Revenues from mobile content and applications are projected to reach $10-billion (U.S.) by 2015, according to the North American Mobile Market Report. With millions of Rogers customers, there’s a real opportunity to help grow your business with Rogers.

To learn more and sign up for the Beta program, visit www.rogerscatalyst.com

Ok, but what does this mean for Rogers customers?
Imagine an application that allows you to use your cell-phone’s location to give a friend turn-by-turn directions to your exact spot, right now: ask your friend for directions, and then receive text directions or a map link with a plotted route between the two of you.

Or, imagine the ability for a sales manager to quickly query her mobile workforce to determine who is the closest to a given sales opportunity or service call – without the need for proprietary software.

Rogers has always been at the forefront of new technologies, whether it’s our GSM/HSPA+ network, the latest smartphones or mobile account management applications. That won’t change. Today, we’re welcoming smart, entrepreneurial developers to be a part of our extended team.

Together, we hope to create some of the world’s best experiences for you.

Are you a developer interested in working with our APIs? What are your thoughts on Rogers Catalyst Beta?

Rob Manne is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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Lest we forget: Canada remembers

We wear a poppy today to honour those who have sacrificed their lives so we can be free.

More than 1.5-million Canadians have served our country in times of war, conflict and peace.  More than 110,000 have died.  Today, there are currently nearly 600,000 living Canadian veterans.

Interestingly, Veterans Affairs Canada recently unveiled its We Remember iPhone app, that lets you find a local Remembrance Day ceremony, watch videos on its Canada Remembers YouTube channel and view its Facebook wall. You can learn more about the app here.

On behalf of proud Canadians everywhere, we say thank you to those brave men and women – and to the family and friends of those who gave their lives.

Lest we forget.


Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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