The Mobile Takeover

May 19, 2016  by Jessica Linnay
 

Do you still use traditional cable broadband connections at home?

A recent report from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) shows that in the U.S., an increasing number of people are using smartphones as their primary device for internet access. More than that, more households than ever are running solely off of mobile services and subscription video-on-demand content, while rates of wired home broadband drop substantially. Between 2013 and 2015, "the proportion of U.S. households that relied exclusively on mobile service at home doubled” while above the border, mobile wireless alone generated more revenue than the entire broadcasting sector in 2014.

The Canadian government committed $305 million over five years to extend and enhance access to 5 Mbps broadband internet in rural and remote communities by 2019. 96% of Canadians now have access to the service, but only 77% of households are subscribed. Experts suggest that as LTE network connectivity becomes more readily available and rate plans fill out to include larger data allotments at accessible price points, the switch to using only mobile makes sense for many -  especially low income households. In Canada and the U.S. alike, wireless-only households are most prominent among the lowest income quintiles, indicating that the rise does not solely reflect changing preferences but may also be driven by affordability.

In line with consumer patterns, U.S. and Canadian wireless carriers are quickly working to surpass broadband speed capabilities and grow coverage in rural areas, and are offering incentives like T-Mobile’s Binge-On plans, which let users stream Netflix, YouTube, and other video content without it counting against their data caps.

To find unlimited data plans for mobile in Canada, visit CompareCellular.ca



Making Mobile Matter: Google Update Prioritizes Mobile-Friendly Pages

May 13, 2016  by Jessica Linnay

 

 

Because more and more people are accessing websites via their cell phones, factoring mobile compatibility into site design in 2016 is absolutely critical. Mobile apps allow not only for communications and transactions with customers, but for access to device functionality such as the use of location context (GPS), the phone’s camera and sound. And while they still represent just a small share of consumer interactions with brands, that share is growing rapidly: 48% of customer interactions in 2015 occurred over mobile apps for social channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm update should "increase the effect" of mobile-friendly pages being ranked a touch higher than sites that are built exclusively for desktop. The first such algorithm dedicated to mobile was introduced in April of last year, and an announcement the following March let users know that upcoming updates to mobile search results would "increase the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly."

Sites that are already mobile-friendly are not impacted by the update, and even those that are not optimized for mobile still retain a chance of ranking reasonably high. "The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal - so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank well if it has great, relevant content."

The update was fully rolled out on May 12, as confirmed by Google’s John Mueller on Twitter.

Small or startup businesses and entrepreneurs who find the concept of building a mobile strategy daunting can create a roadmap to becoming mobile-friendly by focusing on key areas and testing web pages to make sure they are compatible using this tool offered by Google developers.

Pocket Virtual Reality Becoming Tangible Reality

May 10, 2016  by Jessica Linnay
Wired Magazine photo
 
Smartphones already have a wide-ranging roster of features and abilities, from summoning food and transportation with the push of a button to connecting us with loved ones sitting half a world away. Judging by all the hype surrounding the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Magic Leap and by the words of Facebook founding father Mark Zuckerberg at the recent Mobile World Congress ‘smartphone extravaganza’ in Barcelona, the next realm for the smartphone to master is the world of virtual reality.

According to Wired magazine, virtual reality is driving the next generation of mobile technology, bringing about a new design focus that will change everything about smartphones, from the chip to the chassis.

Qualcomm, which builds processors for many high-end smartphones, believes it can pack all the processing power required for VR into phone chips. "It just became apparent,” said Tim Leland, VP of product management, "that a headset was going to be a better way of getting information into people’s visual cortex than having to rely on just tap-tap-tap.”

VR will allow people to "share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just there,” Zuckerberg told enthusiastic crowds at the MWC.

Unfortunately for the eager however, while VR is touted as the next frontier for smartphone technology, it is also still far away from reaching the average consumer. Virtual reality-capable devices require powerful graphics processing, intensely high resolution displays, 3D spatial audio, supremely accurate motion tracking, and battery power beyond anything close to current market capabilities.

Qualcomm’s new flagship smartphone processor does move the industry one step closer by retaining a few of these desirables; it is found within the HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, and other top-of-the-line devices. Google engineers are also reportedly "hip-deep” in VR technology being developed for the Android operating system. 


How Much Data Do You Really Need?

May 9, 2016  by Jessica Linnay
 

You may use data in order to work while on-the-go, or you might indulge in media like video streams or games on a daily basis. Maybe you’re a social butterfly who never closes your Instagram app, or simply like to surf the web during your work commute.

No matter your habits, when you’re in the market for a new smartphone or tablet it’s important to make sure the plan you sign up for comes with the right amount of data, or you could be losing money on overage rates or by paying for unused megabytes. Data usage estimator tools provide a generalized picture of what you’re likely to spend, based on what you’re likely to do.

All numbers below are estimates based on 1 day of smartphone usage. Please note that actual data amounts can vary by device. 

View Sasktel’s data usage calculator for a customizable estimate of your weekly and monthly data consumption. 


Huawei GR5 now available!

May 6, 2016  by Jessica Linnay
 Huawei.com photo

Rogers officially announced the launch of the Huawei GR5 on their network as of today, Friday May 6, 2016. 

This is a phone made for fun. Its powerful octa-core processor and vibrant FHD display ensure game and video graphics come in smooth and sharp, while an Android 5.1 operating system and LTE connectivity enable super-quick startup of any apps, web pages, or networks, even while you're multitasking. And with its fast, smart, and convenient eInnovative fingerprint technology, you can unlock your phone, take a photo, or answer a phone call with a single tap. All these features make for an instant.xperience in the palm of your hands.

Key Features:

  • Vibrant 5.5" FHD (1920 x 1080) capacitive touchscreen
  • Octa-core processor (1.5 GHz quad-core + 1.2 GHz quad-core) with 2GB RAM
  • 16GB of storage (expandable via microSD card)
  • Android 5.1 (Lollipop) operating system
  • 13 MP and 5 MP cameras with HD 1080p video recording
  • Bluetooth 4.1 and LTE network connectivity
  • Second-generation rear fingerprint scanner


 
Availability & Pricing:


Rogers | Available Now
  • Full price: $375
  • Select 2-year terms: $0


Early Reviews:

 
UnBox.ph photo

Bell Canada to purchase MTS, divert some customers to TELUS

May 2, 2016  by Jessica Linnay

Winnipeg Free Press photo 

Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) has just announced that BCE Inc. will purchase all of its issued and outstanding common shares in a move that is slated to change the scope of the province’s mobile industry.

"This transaction will deliver immediate and meaningful value to MTS shareholders, while offering strong benefits to MTS customers and employees, and to the Province of Manitoba," said Jay Forbes, President & CEO of MTS. "A successful national operator like Bell has the scale, reach and financial strength to offer better access to advanced services for more Manitoba consumers and businesses, and to compete and invest in the province's infrastructure in the long term."

Proposed benefits to MTS customers and services include access to innovative consumer and enterprise telecommunications products, and support to the local community. BCE has also stated their intention to invest $1 billion in the next five years to:

  • Make Gigabit Fibe Internet, offering average access speeds up to 20 times faster than what MTS customers receive today, available within 12 months of the transaction close,
  • Expand the mobile LTE network and make improvements to mobile data speeds that will double customers’ average download speeds, and
  • Provide access to Fibe TV, North America's most innovative TV platform.

Bell’s MTS team will be based in Winnipeg as part of the new Western Operations headquarters for BCE, growing the Bell Western team to 6,900 employees, from MTE’s existing 2,700. Bell Media's TV, radio and digital platforms will continue to offer opportunities for local artists and entertainers along with ongoing support for the Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the national TSN sports network and TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg. Bell MTS will also maintain the company's sponsorships and community investments in Manitoba, including a shared commitment to United Way and programs for students and new grads. Additionally, BCE will introduce a new Bell Let's Talk Manitoba fund focused on mental health support for aboriginal communities which is slated to be chaired by Manitoban Clara Hughes, the national spokesperson for Bell Let's Talk and a legendary Canadian Olympian who was born and raised in Winnipeg.

BCE Inc. also announced that it will divest one-third of MTS’ postpaid wireless subscribers to TELUS Corp. following the completion of Bell's acquisition of the Manitoba provider.

"This transaction with TELUS enhances wireless competition to the benefit of Manitobans while reducing the cost of our acquisition of MTS," said George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada.

The MTS acquisition is set to close at the end of 2016 or early 2017 pending regulatory approvals. 

 

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