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So one countdown has ended, and we can start many more now (till e3, till october 30th are 2 that come to mind) and it is official!

Assassin’s Creed 3 will feature a Native American Assassin fighting during the American Revolution.

Straight from Ubisoft

The American Colonies, 1775. As a Native American warrior fights to protect his land and his people, he will ignite the flames of a young nation’s revolution.

How they will tie this new Assassin into Desmond’s story remains a mystery along with any other details of the game but this trailer for sure can get you pumped and craving more!!

Stay tuned here for more ACIII info as we reveal it!

 

Source: Ubisoft

The Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung’s upcoming powerhouse set to renew the smartphone world again like it’s popular Galaxy S series did, is already at the top of our list for phones to get but with these new additions it just keeps getting sweeter.

Some people over at the Android Community got their hands on a US version of the Galaxy S II and were able to demo some awesome new motion features. The first being in a browser instead of pinch to zooming, you place two fingers on the screen and move it closer to your face to zoom in, or further away to zoom out (which just plain makes sense!)

The second feature is when putting new widgets on the screen, moving the phone to the left or right will change which homepage you’re on meaning no more annoying having to wave on one side of the screen to change pages!

Let me tell you, this phone just KEEPs getting better and we are going to stay peeled for this one 100%! Check out the video below…

 

Source: AndroidCommunity

I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity of sharing this with all of you when I saw it on Engadget earlier today.

One of the world’s greatest Science Fiction stars hosted AT&T’s microworld segments and in 1980 they were talking about where computers MIGHT go and their significance to the every day person.

This is truely an amazing video to watch, showing where we came from and really how fast our technology has changed in a matter of 30 years where we are now and where we were, check out the video below and say hi to our friendly Captain!  (Just think, how many micro processors were in the Enterprise?)

Seen on: engadget


So we finally got our hands on the BRAND new Acer Liquid MT that is replacing the older Acer Liquid. Rogers has already begun selling this bad boy and from our short time with it we have to say we’re impressed.

First off, lets start with the hardware itself. The box is the same as usual, a large square-ish box that has a funky way of sliding open. This is the same as the old Acer Liquid and is what we’ve come to expect from them.

The phone itself is housed in an all metal casing that gives it a really solid feel and a nice weight. It is bubbles out on both the front and back giving a nice rounded feeling to contrast the harshness of metal which give an overall really nice feel of the phone. Our only gripe with this design is that the front LCD glass is curves as well which to us at least made it a little less sensitive to touch controls and we found ourselves having to push harder than usual on a capacitive screen.

The rest of the design of the phone is rather ordinary, a dedicated button for the camera and volume on the side, 4 touch sensitive buttons along the bottom of the screen and a lock/power on button at the top left and a headset jack on the top right.

Now what really makes this baby shine is the EXTREME customization Acer has done to the regular Android experience. It’s running 2.2 like most phones nowadays but Acer has taken the time to completely redesign the Android lock screen, home screen, widgets and pretty much every way you interact with your phone.

8 apps show on the homescreen at all times...

Now don’t get us wrong, everyone and their grandmother knows we are die hard Android fans here at eTechTour and LOVE the bone stock Android experience, but something Acer has done here just really shows what you can do with some real imagination.

Lets start off with the lock screen. Acer has designed it to look like a piece of paper that is folding back and you have to peel it away to unlock almost like a sticky note which is both fun and cool looking so we give them credit for that. The other interesting thing is that ALL the home screen widgets are now on your LOCKSCREEN not on the home screen. This means, all the usual widgets like clocks, alarms, weather, music players, search bars, everything you would put on your homescreen now shows on the lock screen, and you can scroll between these locked pages much like you would a regular homescreen!

Slide up to access the widget on the lockscreen

If any of the widgets are interactive, when you tap on them, it shows a small dialog box that if you slide up will enable the widget to be touched or has a cancel button for you to press if it was done by accident.

This is a cool feature and shows some definite ingenuity, I would never have thought to put the widgets on the lock screens like that. It’s nice if you’re quickly trying to look at the time or weather or something but we found it to be somewhat annoying to have to slide up to interact with anything and to lock the phone and start to unlock it again just to see our widgets.

Now the homescreens… or should I say just HOMESCREEN. That’s right, because your widgets are on your lock screen, you only have 1 homescreen. In almost an iPhone/Blackberry 6.0 style display, 8 icons are shown always on your homescreen allowing quick access to things like texting or calls or whatever you use the most. Then through a slide up motion you can access the rest of your apps in a Samsung/iPhone side scrolling pages fashion.

the app tray like iPhones... slides left and right.

This is a neat idea but we don’t like the look of how 8 icons stay static when all the apps are display so you have scrolling apps beneath 8 non moving ones.

new notification bar and settings options...

The other major thing that they have changed is the notification bar. No longer is it up at the top and accessed with a drag down motion, it now sits just above the 8 icons on your homescreen and is accessed by tapping it. This brings up your notifications like any other Android device but you also have the option of swiping sideways to access settings for things like bluetooth, wifi and other such features or swiping to the left to edit the clock and any alarms you may have.

This is a cool idea and in practice is kind of fun. The only issue we had with this was the bar is so small that you have to tap on that we found ourself often missing and having to tap multiple times just to get the notifications to show!

Recent app history for quick switching...

Last but not least, the other major thing that Acer has included is a recent apps history. It can be accessed by swiping to the left on the homescreen and displays as scrollable mini windows (much like windows tabs) that show the last few apps you’ve been in. This allows you to scroll through them and then tap on one to take you right back into the app.

This is probably my favorite feature of the Acer customizations, not only does it look cool, but it allows for fast switching back to things like messaging or the dialer if you quickly jumped out to use something else. It also has a quick button at the top that allows you to delete your history if you find there are too many apps shown or you just like to clean up your homescreen.

All in all we have to give it to Acer. Previous phones they added cool widgets that we really enjoyed and now they’ve gone and changed Android all around in some pretty nifty and interesting ways.

It seems that these customizations would be pushing the 800mhz processor they crammed into it fairly heavily and we wonder how well it can hold up once lots of other apps have been installed but we’re liking where Acer is headed with this design. It will definitely be interesting to see what they plan to do once Gingerbread and Honeycomb are available for all phones if these kinds of customizations will still be there or not.

If you want to grab one of these phones just head over to your local Rogers store and pick one up for a small $49.99 on a 3 year with data or a surprisingly low $399.99 with no contract.

Check out the video below for hands on with most of the features!

So word on high has finally fallen and Rogers has given the go ahead on Blackberry’s new flagship phone letting people of Canada know that September 24th they will be able to bask in the Torch’s glory!

Rogers will be offering it for $199.99 on a 3 year contract and probably somewhere around $549.99 with no contract.

Likewise Telus has a teaser page on their website announcing it will be coming soon, and Ma Bell has nothing “posted” but a quick search on their site for “Torch” says it finds results in the store even though nothing is displayed, we’re assuming they will probably get the Torch around the same time as Rogers.

So who’s ready to camp out overnight to get their hands on some new Touch Blackberry awesomeness?

And don’t forget to check out our exclusive full review of the Torch that we did back when it was released on AT&T with video and all.

We’ll give updated impressions once we have our hands on a Rogers model.

Source: Rogers

Finally one of the rumored Android tablets looks like it’s going to see the light of day! Samsung has just announced that they will be officially announcing their new Tablet the Samsung Galaxy Tab on September 2nd, they even threw in a quick video to keep you going until then.

It’s go thrills, it’s got chills… it looks amazing. Check it out below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3Q58MEEomI&fs=1&hl=en_US]

Some features they mention are:

-Swype

-Augmented Reality

-Android 2.2

-Google Maps

-Video Calling

-Full web browsing

-7-inch screen

If this is what the Samsung tablet will be like, who else can’t wait to see what Motorola has up their sleeves? Oh man!

So we got to spend a little hands on time here at eTechTour with the new Motorola Flip Out that just launched on Rogers a week or two ago and so we thought we’d give you a quick review on it.

The FlipOut box

Hardware First off the Moto Flip Out is small. It’s only about 2-inches by 2-inches and about 1-inch thick. For people that are getting more and more used to phones with 4-inch or bigger screens it feels a little strange holding a smaller phone again but the FlipOut has a really nice feel to it. The touch screen is very responsive and more likely because of the small size, everything seems easily within reach and very thumb-able. The touch sensitive buttons on the front respond well and are separated enough to make touching them simple and nice to use. The buttons along the side for locking/unlocking we found seemed out of place on the right side of the phone as we normally would hold the phone from that side making locking or unlocking it very awkward, but that may just be something you have to get used to for it to be easy to get to. The other buttons were all clicky and felt well placed so we had no issues reaching or using them at all.

FlipOut "Flipping" Out?

The swivel feature on the FlipOut is a nice change from the normal slide up to reveal the keyboard (reminds us of our sidekick days) and it feels sturdy enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about breaking it off from continual flipping. With the screen “flipped out” the phone is about 4-inches high which sits nicer in our hands and leaves a lot of room for the keyboard and typing which we were very pleased with. It feels light enough in our hands to not be uncomfortable but heavy enough to not feel cheap.

FlipOut "Flipped" out

The keyboard itself is positioned quite nicely. The buttons are raised up in a bubble style and are all very clicky and responsive and there is enough space between them that even people with larger hands should not have any problems. The only gripe we have with the keyboard is the 4-way directional thumb pad. It seems entirely too small and is difficult to direct accurately, so much so that we found we ignored it and would only use the screen for all navigation. Besides that minor annoyance we were very happy with the keyboard and could find social updating and messaging a real pleasure on the FlipOut. Software The FlipOut is running Android 2.1 with MotoBlur 1.5 ontop. As much as we aren’t big fans of the MotoBlur skin we think it seems more suited to this kind of a device than the stock Android experience.

FlipOut box contents, headphones, charger, usb, the usual!

Motorola has taken time to make sure their home made Blur widgets are small, compact and to the point which makes good use of the small display real estate that they have. Surprisingly you can fit a number of widgets per home screen which you can’t on the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini which is more similar in size to this device. Besides the usual skinning with MotoBlur and Android 2.1 Motorola hasn’t gone too far out of their way to do anything special for this device. It’s the same usual Android experience we’ve come to know and love with Blur pasted right on top. A huge plus is that it’s running at least 2.1 so that you still have access to Live Wallpapers and other Éclair goodies but we’re hoping Motorola will bring out a 2.2 update very soon! Camera The FlipOut holds a little 3.15MB snapper onboard without any kind of flash. The pictures it takes we found to be slightly disappointing as we could rarely get it to focus properly. The application for the camera itself runs smoothly and quickly and offers quick options at your thumbs easily, the one strange thing we found was that if closed, the preview would only display on about half the  screen yet when you Flip Out the keyboard the preview takes up the full screen. The camera placement we found abysmal as well as it’s on the left most edge and when Flipped Out that’s exactly where we would rest our thumbs to stabilize the phone meaning we had a lot of pictures with a dark thumb across the screen. Conclusion The FlipOut is a great little phone for social updating and messaging friends. It’s no powerhouse so don’t expect to be blazing along at the forefront of technology but for someone that prefers slightly more simple devices without going crazy on screen size or in need of an amazing camera this could definitely be the right phone for you! We were really pleased with it except for its few drawbacks like the camera placement and annoying directional pad but all in all we enjoyed our time with the FlipOut! Check out the video below! (edit video is having issues uploading, will get it up ASAP)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsyPVJeWZPY&hl=en&fs=1]

After the big announcement about the coming of the new 9800 Blackberry Torch, we at eTechTour actually got to go hands on with a real test unit of it before it launches on AT&T on August 12th. While reps would not let us know when it will be launching on other networks (in Canada and other countries) we have had some time to play around with it and so we thought we’d give all you a look at what the new Blackberry is all about.

Blackberry 9700 (left) beside the new Blackberry Torch (right)

I’ve been using the Blackberry Torch for about a week now and I’ve got to say, this is a huge step forward for RIM and Blackberries. I think a lot of people are going to be pleasantly surprised. The one thing I’m hoping people will do is reserve judgment until they’ve actually taken a spin with this device as I’ve seen people online already complaining about the screen and this and that, and honestly, there’s nothing quite like this when you’re holding it. But enough with that, let’s get onto the preview/review.

Hardware

Backcover grooves.

The first thing we noticed was the changed back plate. Our initial reaction was “what the heck is RIM thinking?” when we saw the grooved backing, but as soon as we held it in our hands we could tell they had made this choice for a reason. True there was no more faux leather, but the soft plastic combined with the grooves on the back just feels satisfying to the touch. I’ve found myself more than once just running my finger along the back of the phone playing with such grooves. They’ve kept the same look as the Bold with it’s dark chrome edges and soft curvy edges that still lends itself that very professional look which we really enjoy.

Comparing the width of both (9700 Bottom, 9800 top)

It’s a little heavier than any of the other blackberries, but it gives it a really nice solid feeling, not like some other cheaper feeling phones. The buttons are well placed and are easy to reach while holding it with one hand (especially the lock/unlock button which is amazing).

With the Keyboard Out (9800 Left, 9700 Right)

The slide mechanism on the Torch is appropriately well built as well. It has a good push to it as you open and a nice pull as you bring it closed both giving a satisfying click as you here it move into place.

This brings us to the keyboard. The keyboard is identical to the Bold 9700 with its same spacious 4 rows of clicky buttons that were already a major hit so we’re sure will be a huge crowd winner as well. Looking at the device you’d expect it to feel top heavy with it slid open but it seems to rest perfectly in the balance at just the right weight. You can tell they really thought long and hard about this design hoping for a winner.

9800 torch keyboard

Size comparison (9800 left, 9700 right)

The screen itself is big enough, much bigger than most Blackberry’s but not so large that it would seem imposing like some of the larger touch screen devices now. It’s very bright and colorful and the touch is snappy and responsive (a huge step up from the Storm!) The screen just seems to fit the phone, we don’t think they could have done it any other way really.

Lastly and almost most importantly the Torch is only slightly thicker than the Bold meaning that it is in fact still very pocket able which will make the transition much easier for people upgrading as we would imagine new holster’s will be almost the same size as the ones currently for the Bold.

Software

The Torch is the first Blackberry to come with RIM’s new baby 6.0 installed on it. It’s hard to describe all the things they have changed with the new version of the OS without experiencing it for yourself but we’ll try our best.

The overall look of the homescreen at first is very familiar. You see the normal wallpaper, clock, date, carrier, signal, battery and sound profile but what you come to realize soon enough is that 6.0 is not about changing the old experience to something completely different, it’s about making it function better and more easily.

Top view (9700 left, 9800 right)

Each area of the screen has been optimized with shortcuts and things begging to be touched. Briefly clicking on the time gives you all your connection options, or tapping the profile icon allows you to choose a new profile on the fly. The search button allows you to use the new Universal search that searches contacts, calendars, the web, the app world, emails everything to find what you’re looking for. Or if you take the main window for a drag you can expand to see all your icons or swipe left and right to see your other “quick menus”.

The quick menus allow you to customize your experience further or get to the information you want faster. All the categories are “All, Favorites, Media, Downloads, and Frequent”. These are all pretty self explanatory.

All– shows you all your applications and options.

Favorites– allows you to tag applications, contacts and other things and they’ll show up here.

Media– shows your media options and applications

Downloads– stores all your downloaded apps for you

Frequent– lists out the most commonly used applications for quick access.

Besides the home screen, all the menus and options have been completely overhauled giving a nicer, prettier more finger friendly version of their former selves. All the old options are still there with added extra’s like more tutorials and more setup wizards accompanied by videos that walk you through some of the features.

The overall look of 6.0 is very polished and we like it a lot. It offers a refreshing take on the old OS and seems new enough to make you want to play around with it for quite some time.

Another top down Comparison (9700 left, 9800 right)

Browser

One of the big things everyone has been hearing about in the past few months is this new “webkit” browser that RIM has implemented into its new 6.0 batch.

The browser first off looks nicer than the old browser. This is a cleaner, more polished browser for sure. You’re first greeted with a page that displays any bookmarks you have and your recent history so you can get you common webpages quickly or you can begin typing a web address right away.

Loading times have decreased a great deal as the pages load quickly and promptly. We’re not sure if we’d say this is the fastest browser available on the market but it should probably be ranked up somewhere with the top ones.

Doing tabbed browsing is also a lot easier with this new browser as they’ve added a quick button for opening and closing tabs where you can preview each window that you have open which is both convenient and fast! Switching between these tabs is extremely quick which is very nice to see.

Camera

The newer camera interface is very nice as well. It gives all the options one would need out of a camera such as GeoTagging, AutoFlash and many different picture modes.

The picture modes it offers are Auto, Face Detection, Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Party (dim indoor environments), Close-Up, Snow, Beach, Night and Text. That’s a lot of options there. It also offers a quick button to get to the Gallery easily.

Video capture is very similar and captures a solid video as well, check out the video and pictures below to see for yourself.

Conclusion

Overall we’re pretty impressed with the new Blackberry Torch. It’s changed enough in our minds that it deserves its own spot in our pockets but at the same time it’s still doing everything that RIM has done in the past and is just doing it better. BBM is still there and we’re positive will be stronger than ever on this new platform and the touch screen will complement it very well.

What do you all think? Has RIM go itself a winner? Or will the changes come a little too late after others like iPhone 4 and the Motorola Droid X have already entered the scene? Let us know if you want to know any other info we didn’t cover here either!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoxeQoWLE18&hl=en&fs=1]

After yesterday’s big announcement that Sony’s first Android powerhouse would finally be hitting US shores on August 15th, we decided to do a full review of the X10 for all of you.

Sony Ericsson X10

Hardware

The Xperia X10 isn’t lacking anywhere in the hardware side of the equation. With its big 4inch capacitive touch screen, 1 GHZ snapdragon processor and it’s 8.1 megapixel camera you know Sony was going to bring it hard with their first Android device.

The size of the phone is very nice and is easily fits in the palm of your hand. The exterior is made of a soft brushed plastic that feels very nice to the touch but lacks the physical weight to make its presence really felt in your hand. The screen is large and crisp, 4 inches is just on the border of the perfect size, not too big for people with small hands and not too small to watch media on it.

The only drawback with the physical design of the X10 is the weight. It’s very light which is usually a good thing, but we’d say it almost borders on too light making it feel a little cheap, but besides this minor drawback we are very pleased with the design.

The capacitive screen looks very nice and crisp and responds to touch very well but suffers the same reduced visibility in the sunlight that most LCD screens do. It also has a gloss finish to it that makes viewing very nice if you’re looking at it dead on but makes the viewing angles terrible for anyone else if you’re watching a movie.

Software

Currently Sony Ericsson hasn’t released an update so this is still only running Android 1.6 with Sony’s custom Timescape and Mediascape apps running parallel. Android 1.6 by any standards is now far behind the times and the X10’s success in its upcoming launch may depend dearly on the fact of Sony getting that update complete to at LEAST 2.1 before launch.

Sony’s packed pretty much the same Android experience into this handset with the major exception of two Sony exclusive apps Timescape and Mediascape.

Timescape is a social networking/messaging/contacts viewing app that essentially takes all your contacts, links them with any social networking sites you have associated them with and will pull their pictures, updates and text messages from that person all into one spot to view them. This is all done very graphically with fancy fade ins and animations that make it very pleasing to watch. Each contact gets a tile that are stacked on top of each other as you scroll through your contacts and when you click on any person it expands to show all the information. Through our use of this app we were very pleased with the syncing of contacts and information and the idea of the app, the only problems were as you load the X10 with more and more apps you can see how much of a power hog this app really is as  it slows down with little lags and jumps. On the flip side however the information loads quickly and overall there’s no complaints that we can think of.

Mediascape is the same sort of idea as Timescape. It brings all the users music, movies and pictures into one nice gallery that you can view everything through very fluidly. Again this is very graphically as all the thumbnails fly in from the sides of the screens and once again you can tell this is a power hog and pushes that Snapdragon processor to work.

There are other slight differences like the lock screen which requires you to swipe in an arc motion to unlock but pretty much we’re just looking at another android device.

Camera

Sony’s always been well known for their camera’s and how well they integrate them into their phones. This is no exception. The image quality on the pictures taken are amazing from this device, they are crisp and clear and in comparison to some other Android devices take pictures fairly quickly.

The video recording at the moment is sub HD but apparently with the 2.1 update will get 720p recording. The quality of the video recording currently is still impressive compared to other phones that record non HD quality but we’re really waiting to see what it can do once they release the update allowing HD recording.

Conclusion

All in all Sony has put together a solid Android device. They took their time and thought of most of the things they could do to try and make this phone a winner with the sharp camera, interesting exclusive apps and the overall look and feel of the device. We’d definitely recommend this phone when it launches in a few days but are reluctant to switch as presently it would mean going back to a market with no screenshots, no moving wallpapers and other fun goodies that come with 2.1.

Let’s all hope that Sony can get it together and surprise us all with a 2.1 X10 coming out of the box, because if they do we’re sure these things are going to fly. Check out a hands on video review below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hx-Pauxy6yw&hl=en_US&fs=1?rel=0]