MasterCard Canada with a partnership between Bank of Montreal and Research in Motion announced they are bringing the “tap and go” contact-less payment technology to Blackberry devices. The initial trial will allow participants to purchase goods wherever PayPass is accepted. It appears as though the phones will have a self adhesive device attached to them to allow for this. No word on when this will get past the initial trials and into everyone’s hands but it seems very cool. I imagine that if you wanted to try this out yourself you could just tape your existing MasterCard that has PayPass to your phone and it would work. It should work; however, there may be some interference between the phone and the card.
Workers at Bell Mobility (TSE: BCE) client care department in Mississauga yesterday were ordered to a unionization vote by the Canada Industrial Relations Board. The actual vote will take place December 2 and 3. They have been assisted by the largest telco union in Canada, the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union, since November 2008. This union already represents 25,000 Bell employees.
On the spur of the moment given the opportunity to save I picked up Borderlands for the Xbox 360. As had already been seen once before with the launch of Batman : Arkham Asylum, Borderlands was introduced at a very cool $39.99 (Canadian Dollars!). Wal-mart Canada appears to have started off this (limited time/limited quantity) pricing strategy but have been matched by Future Shop and Best Buy. This kind of launch will not only spur a whole lot of sales but may also bring about a new way to release games. The traditional model of the past has always been to release the game for a lot, and then after a long while slowly bring the cost down possibly in the form of a greatest hits packaging. With the huge commercial success of Batman, which is sure to be followed by Borderlands, a new model has been created. Reports are coming in across Canada about the game selling out and stock moving very fast across store shelves.
Lets not forget about the real winner of the day, Borderlands! The game is actually very well done and seems fresh. The game can be quickly described as a Action FPS RPG. The game takes the shape of the traditional FPS but puts together a string of tasks and weapons that follow the structure of an RPG. The game is said to contain 100’s of thousands of unique weapons. The game can be played solo but from most opinions it is best played with 4 friends in online coop. Early reviews are giving the game an 8 – 9 out of 10 which is fair. I won’t make any critical remarks about the game until I can put a little bit more time into it but from what I’ve seen so far I have enjoyed. If you can still manage to find the game for sale before October 27 at the sale price I would say to go for it. Even afterward I am sure the game would be worth the full price at $69.99.
Air Canada (TSE: AC.A) became the first North American airline to release an application for the Blackberry platform. The new application brings more real-time information to customers and allows them to check-in, board, and obtain flight details for Air Canada flights. The application is available for download from the Blackberry App World or directly from the Air Canada mobile site. The new application is launching at the same time as a revamped mobile site at http://mobile.aircanada.com for other mobile device users. The application for the iPhone is also available for download as well.
I just received my Motorola Rival A455. I won it in a random draw at work for completing a Motorola etraining course. It is a very sweet prize indeed. I ended up getting the purple Rival, a weird t-shirt and some strange card game. The prize is alright but I was looking forward to the silver model. The phone itself is kind of cool for text messaging with its side sliding full keyboard. Telus is selling it right now $399 no contract, $349 on 1 yr, $299 on 2 yr, and $99 on 3 year. I wonder what mine would be worth on the open market? I have to thank Motorola again for such an awesome contest and the great prize. I doubt I will be using it as my primary phone is still holding strong but I am sure it will find itself being used sometime.
I have been snooping on the Virgin Mobile Canada site and just stumbled across this page. At first glance it appears to be nothing… but closer examination of the title bar will reveal all with “BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230”. Right now there is no indication of a release date but the fact that its on their webpage suggests it should be soon.
Bell Mobility (TSE: BCE) acquired 100% of Virgin Mobile Canada on May 7th, for a cost of $142 million CAD. Bell, who already controlled 50% of the company, was purchasing the remaining 50% of the company controlled by Virgin Group. Virgin Mobile Canada will continue to operate independently and maintain the Virgin branding. Virgin Mobile was created in 2004 by an equal partnership between Virgin Group and Bell Mobility. Virgin Mobile has been successful at targeting the youth market with its prepaid phones and more recently with its monthly plans.
Bell Press Release
The Sirius takeover of XM Satellite Radio is complete. The company has changed its name and is now called Sirius XM Radio Inc. Shares of Sirius XM (NASDAQ : SIRI) were down following the takeover and were seen trading around 1.34 on August 13. It is an exciting time for the new company. I am most interested in how this is going to affect exclusivity deals, such as NHL which was previously exclusive to XM. Since its a single company now, I really hope that the exclusives will be able to flow to the other providers radio. It should also be interesting to see the next generation of radios that will have access to both sets of signals. This is an exciting time for this company, and I hope that they will be able to continue to attract subscribers and really make things happen.
Telus and Sasktel have recently signed a new roaming agreement which will see all of the Saskatchewan Telus customers having full digital coverage across the province. Currently the coverage is being brought out and tested and it will be fully up by June 30th. This should be exciting times for Telus customers in the province as they now have received a huge increase in coverage and Sasktel loses an advantage it held over Telus.
On Monday, Koodo Mobile
went live. This is a new offering that looks like it will compete directly with other pay as you go services like Virgin Mobile. The plans look very decent and I am particularly surprised to see unlimited text messaging for $5.. along with the lowest price package of $15.. This combination would make for very cheap texting. One thing that I’ve noticed that is a big step is the digital coverage across the country. This should make selling phones a lot easier in Saskatchewan where Telus currently offers digital coverage in Regina or Saskatoon. If they extend their phone lineup and continue to promote their services I see this becoming a very popular across the country.