Tech round-up for August 21: Disney+ subscription rate, Samsung's Note10 handsets, Fan Expo Canada in Toronto, news from Gamescom 2019

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, a look at Samsung’s Note10 handset, what to look for at FanExpo Canada this weekend, and the big announcements to come out of Gamescom this week. But first, we know how much it’s going to cost Canadians for Disney’s streaming service.

DisneyPlus streaming to Canadians November 12

Disney’s video streaming service will launch in Canada on November 12, the same as the U.S.

Subscriptions to Disney+ will cost $90 annually or $9 when paid monthly. That compares to $10 a month for a basic Netflix plan (to get HD you’ll pay $14 a month) and $10 a month for Crave (you can get HBO for an additional $10 and Starz for an additional $6).

The service will be the exclusive home to content from all of the brands now owned by the Walt Disney Company, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

You’ll be able to watch the video on computers, Android and iOS devices, on AppleTV, Chromecast, and Roku streaming devices, and on PS4 and Xbox One game consoles.

Samsung Note10 adds magic wand functionality to S Pen

A couple of weeks ago in New York, Samsung revealed the new Note10 handsets.

The Note devices have always been on the larger size, but for the first time Samsung has two form factors. The Note10+ is pretty much the same size as the Note9 – 6.8 inches – but the Note10 is slightly smaller, coming in at 6.3 inches.

Among the new features are the ability to zoom in on an audio source, which is in effect a virtual boom microphone. There’s also an improvement to the fast charging, and with Samsung’s 3.0 charger you can get about 24 hours of use with just 30 minutes plugged in.

Samsung has also improved the DeX functionality that made it easy to use the Note handset with a computer. Gone is the hardware dock. Now all you need is a cable to plug your Note10 or Note10+ into any computer or monitor, including Apple systems. Once connected, you’ll get a screen on your desktop representing the Note system, and you can drag and drop back and forth and work right on the handset as if it were a computer.

But the coolest new thing comes with the S Pen stylus, which now has a gyro and an accelerometer in addition to Bluetooth. What this means is that you can use the S Pen to control your Note10 or Note10+ from a distance, and using gestural controls.

An experience which is not unlike wielding a wand, in truth.

In Canada, the Galaxy Note10 and Galaxy Note10+ will be available for purchase in stores and online beginning August 23, 2019. Pricing starts at $1,259.99 (regular price) for Galaxy Note10 (256 GB); $1,459.99 (regular price) for the Galaxy Note10+ (256 GB); and $1,599.99 (regular price) for the Galaxy Note10+ (512 GB).

Fan Expo Canada brings the fun to Toronto this weekend

If you’re in the metro Toronto area, head down to the convention centre this weekend, August 22 through August 25, for Fan Expo Canada (hours: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday).

There are photo opportunities, autograph sessions, cosplay competitions. Check out comics and books, movies and television shows, and the people that create them all. Including the likes of writer Gail Simone.

You can play tabletop games, role-playing games, and video games. There’s a Rocket League tournament, and Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox are all going to be there showing off new titles and giving you a chance to try games that haven’t even been released.

Nintendo’s booth will have stations with Luigi’s Mansion 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the new Nintendo Switch Lite system.

And Scott Jones is hosting a panel about his podcast, Heavily Pixelated. The podcast is about how people have used video games to help them through challenging life events, and at Fan Expo Scott will be checking in with guests from the first season and introducing Season 2.

Single day pass for an adult is $25 ($20 for youth) and a Lego Family Pass, good for two adults and up to four kids 12 and under, is as low as $55.

Big video game announcements at Gamescom 2019

Europe’s big video game convention is going on in Cologne, Germany right now. Gamescom runs through this weekend, and the announcements have already been furious.

  • Insomniac Games, developers of Marvel’s Spider-Man game as well as the Ratchet & Clank and Resistance game franchises, has been acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Worldwide Studios.
  • The charming platformer, Ori and the Blind Forest, is coming to Nintendo Switch this September. This is significant in part because the game was published by Microsoft Studios. Other Microsoft games appearing on the Switch are Cuphead and Minecraft. And the upcoming Gears of War 5 is being released on Steam, a platform owned by Valve.
  • Cyberpunk 2077, planned for release in April 2020, is coming to Google Stadia, which is still expected in November.
  • Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto has a new studio, V1 Interactive, and has announced the first game, Disintegration. Published by Private Division, i’s a sci-fi shooter coming to PS4, Windows, and Xbox One in 2020.


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