Tech round-up for January 26: No HomePod for Canada yet, lineups at Amazon Go, TimePlay's Toronto tournament

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This week, Amazon’s bricks-and-mortar grocery store sees lineups and TimePlay hopes that moviegoers will come even earlier to compete for cash prizes. But first, Apple’s HomePod is ready for release, but not everywhere.

Apple’s HomePod arrives on February 9 except in Canada

Apple announced this week that its HomePod wireless speaker will be released in early February, but the only regions getting the new device are those that are English only: the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia. France and Germany will get HomePods in the spring.

The company hasn’t said why Canada’s not part of the initial release, but I’m guessing it has to do with our our pesky language idiosyncrasies. We’ve got the bilingual requirement, for one. And our English and French just isn’t like the others.

In the U.S., the HomePod is priced at $349. Canadian pricing has not been announced.

Amazon’s cashier-free store opens in Seattle

The lineups outside Amazon Go this week were nothing short of ironic. One of the selling points of the retail store was that you wouldn’t have to line up at a cashier because there are no cashiers in the bricks-and-mortar store. Instead, tiny cameras throughout the space watch what’s going on and track it all.

The idea is that you walk in, grab what you need, and walk out again, with your Amazon account processing the payment automatically.

But so many people wanted to not have to line up at the cashier that they lined up to get in the store instead.

Presumably there is a limit to the number of people the systems can track, which is why Amazon Go last week looked less like future retail and more like a 7-Eleven across the street from a high school at lunchtime.

Imagine what shopping at Whole Foods could be like.

Pre-movie pastime TimePlay launches tournament format in GTA

If you’ve been to a movie at Cineplex in the last couple of years, you may have used your smartphone to participate in the TimePlay trivia game that’s part of the pre-show entertainment.

Getting the top score in a theatre nets players free popcorn and occasional movie passes. Players visiting 14 theatres in the Greater Toronto Area are being given the chance to win a $2,500 cash prize as part of a new tournament.

The TimePlay Tournament, which will include new games about sports and music, starts tonight and runs through February 22. During that time, players scores will add up, with the top 20 being invited to a final at Scotiabank Theatre Toronto on March 17.


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