Will Android 8.0's 'O' Stand for Oreo?

February 24, 2017  by Ayla Ylanen
On February 22nd, Oreo launched a new marketing campaign/game. Mobile web technologies let players launch a virtual Oreo cookie across the planet for the ultimate dunk.
The game starts by asking you to take a photo of an Oreo IRL (or plunder one from Google's image search) and verify that you are an Oreo customer. You then enter your location for the "launch site", before flinging your phone as hard as you can* and watching your cookie soar through the skies into a glass of milk somewhere on the other side of the world.
Google is not hiding their involvement in the development of this campaign. They are openly working with Mondelez, the company behind Oreo. Google Earth imagery is used to show your Oreo's magnificent adventure.

As you may already know, Google names the different versions of their Android mobile operating system after delicious sweets; Cupcake, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, and Marshmallow to list a few. Android 7.0 - Nougat is the most recent OS. Android 8.0 comes next, and all we know is that it will be called something starting with the letter "O". Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Android at Google, recently posted a .gif of an Oreo-cake to his Twitter account:
However, Mr. Lockheimer also hinted that Android 7.0 was going to be called "Nutella", so it might be wise to take this news cum grano salis. Android O has yet to launch its own marketing campaign so we are bound to learn more in the near future. Either way, we won't know for sure until at least June 2017, when the official announcement is made.
* Be sure not to let go of your phone while flinging your cookie!

Sources: Oreo Space Dunk  |    9to5Google  |    Android Authority

Sasktel Expands LTE Coverage in Rural Saskberia

February 21, 2017  by Ayla Ylanen
As part of the ongoing plan to invest in the province, Sasktel has recently expanded LTE coverage to 96 towers in western and southeastern Saskatchewan. Customers can now stream HD movies, music, and games at speeds up to 10 times faster than before on the old 4G network.
Dustin Duncan, Minister Responsible for Sasktel said, "Our government is aware of the importance of providing world class communications services throughout the province. Today’s announcement marks a positive step forward that will improve the wireless service for a large number of our residents living in rural Saskatchewan.”

"As the leading Saskatchewan based communications company we are committed to delivering advanced communications services to all residents of this province,” said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO. "Over the past few months we’ve made great strides in expanding our LTE network throughout rural Saskatchewan and have nearly completed the expansion of LTE in the western portion of the province. SaskTel will continue to work until we’ve covered 99% of the population of the province with fast and reliable LTE wireless service.”

Full list of upgraded towers:

Abbey Grass Lake Perdue
Green Lake Pierceland
Alsask Green Lake – East on HWY 55 Pike Lake
Arelee Green Street Plato
Asquith Grenfell Rabbit Lake
Assiniboine IR Griffin Radisson
Balcarres Hepburn Rapid View
Baljennie Mosquito IR Hillsdale Rhein
Battle River Hubbard Rocanville
Belbutte Hunting Lake Rocanville Mine
Big Head IR Indian Head Seekaskootch IR
Bluebell Kamsack Silver Lake
Broadview Kelfield Spiritwood
Cabri Kyle Sprinside
Chitek Lake Landis St. Walburg
Cloan Lemberg St. Walburg – West
Cowessess IR Lemsford Stoughton
Cutknife Leoville Strasbourg
Delmas Little Pine IR Strongfield
Dorintosh Loon Lake – South on HWY 26 Tramping Lake
Dubuc Loon Lake – West on HWY 699 Turtle Lake Lodge – West
Eatonia Marsden Turtleford
Elrose Marshall Untiy
Elrose – South HWY 4 Maymont White Bear
Englishman Lake Milden Whitecap Pike Lake
Esterhazy Mildred Whitewood
Eston Moosomin Whitkow
Flaxcombe Neilburg Wilkie
Furness Onion Lake Willow Brook
Gallivan Sweetgrass Oungre Witchekan Lake
Glaslyn Paradise Hill Wolseley
Goodsoil Paynton Zealandia

About SaskTel:  "SaskTel is the leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) provider in Saskatchewan, with over $1.2 billion in annual revenue and approximately 1.4 million customer connections including 617,000 wireless accesses, 389,000 wireline network accesses, 273,000 Internet accesses and 111,000 maxTV™ subscribers. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries offer a wide range of ICT products and services including competitive voice, data and Internet services, wireless data services, maxTV services, data centre services, cloud-based services, security monitoring services, advertising services, and international software and consulting services. SaskTel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have a workforce of approximately 4,000 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)." - From SaskTel.com

Sources:  Sasktel  |  Sasktel Twitter

The Hunt for the Rare and Elusive Blue Pixel

February 20, 2017  by Ayla Ylanen
Last year, Google released the Pixel and Pixel XL in Quite Black and Very Silver. Up until now, the blue version was only available in the US.

"Launching just in time for London Fashion Week, Pixel "Really Blue” is the bold and youthful sibling to the Quite Black and Very Silver colours," said Rachael Roberts, Industrial Designer at Google. "Our goal for Pixel was to create a simple and smart design in a beautifully crafted case and we hope "Really Blue” will appeal to the fun and stylish fashionistas among us.”

Canadians can now pre-order the limited edition "Really Blue" Pixel and Pixel XL exclusively through Rogers. There is no set date for when it will be available, and Google has yet to say exactly how many will be available.

This azure coloured smartphones are only available in 32 GB at this time. Both phones use the most current Android OS - Android 7.1, Nougat. Both have an "aerospace-grade aluminum unibody" with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protected AMOLED displays.

The 5.0" Pixel will run you $199, and the 5.5" Pixel XL costs $349 on select two-year Share Everything plans.

Read more:  Google   |   Rogers

Bell MTS is Born

February 17, 2017  by Ayla Ylanen
On May 2, 2016, Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (BCE) announced that it will acquire Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) and form Bell MTS. On Febuary 15, 2017, BCE obtained all regulatory approvals required for the $3.9 billion transaction. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Competition Bureau have approved the acquisition and the arrangement is set to close on March 17, 2017.

George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, has announced that current MTS wireless price plans will be maintain for at least 12 months after the closing of the acquisition.

Over the next five years, there will be a wide range of major infrastructure investments for Manitoba. $1 billion will be put towards improving broadband services and networks across the province. The upgrades include the introduction of Gigabit Fibe Internet, which has access speeds up to 20 times faster than those that are currently available. There will also be continuous broadband wireless coverage along Highway 75 in southern Manitoba, and expansion of networks in northern Manitoba - including along Highway 6 and in several small indigenous communities.

David Leith, Chair of the Board of Directors for MTS said, "The close of this transaction will represent a watershed moment in Manitoba’s business history, delivering over $1 billion of value to shareholders while securing investment and community commitments which are so important to the future of the province. On behalf of the Board I want to recognize the tremendous job Jay Forbes has done at MTS since joining in January 2015. Together with the entire management team, MTS became stronger and more focused to deliver maximum value to customers and to shareholders. The value created through the Bell MTS combination is in no small part due to these significant achievements.”

Jay Forbes, President & CEO said, "This announcement represents the culmination of a successful approach to the regulatory approval process and we look forward to closing the transaction within the timelines we provided at the outset. Our employees should be proud of all that we have accomplished as a stand-alone company, and can look forward with excitement to a bright future as Bell MTS. I want to thank my colleagues at MTS for the dedication and commitment they have shown. They bring tremendous talent and energy to work every day on behalf of our customers. Now, with the creation of Bell MTS, they will have the benefit of scale and significant investment to bring customers the world-class telecommunications services the province of Manitoba needs for the future.”

About MTS:  MTS delivers a full suite of information and communications services for Manitobans – Wireless, Internet, TV, Phone Service and Security Systems plus a full suite of Information Solutions, including Unified Cloud and Managed Services. MTS Inc. is owned by Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (TSX: MBT).

About BELL:  Canada's largest communications company, Bell provides consumer, business and government customers with a comprehensive and innovative suite of broadband wireless, TV, Internet and business communication services from Bell Canada and Bell Aliant. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media. Bell is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE).

Sources:  Bell  |  MTS  |  News Wire

ZTE Axon 7 Mini is now Available at Virgin Mobile

January 30, 2017  by Ayla Ylanen


Powered by the Qualcomm® Octa-Core Snapdragon™ 617 Processor - one of the most sophisticated smartphone chipsets in the world - the Axon 7 Mini is a great mid-range device that provides advanced performance. It is now available in Canada through Virgin Mobile.

Key Features:

  • Dual Hi-Fi stereo speakers - Theatre surround sound-like experience, Dolby Atmos® technology, front-facing speakers. Enjoy crystal clear HiFi audio anywhere you go.

  • Premium and sporty metal design - 2.5D curved-edge glass touch-screen, aluminum unibody, comfortable curvature design with timeless appeal.

  • Quick fingerprint unlock - Rear scanner for convenient phone access.

  • Powerful 16 MP camera - Live mode, slow-motion mode, dual-LED flash, F1.9 aperture. Capture striking photos and vivid Full HD video.

  • Up to 15 hours of battery life - 2705 mAh battery with quick charge 2.0. This battery is long lasting and the Axon 7 Mini won't stop until you do.

Availability & Pricing:

Virgin Mobile | Available January 30th

  • Full price: $399.99
  • Gold plan on a 2-year term: $0


Early Reviews:

Bell and Telus' Canadian CDMA Networks are Retiring

January 30, 2017  by Ayla Ylanen
Update February 1, 2017:  Telus has pushed back their CDMA network shutdown date to May 31, 2017.

The long-anticipated time has finally come. Major carriers Telus and Bell are decommissioning their CDMA services starting tomorrow. Telus announced a complete shutdown by January 31, 2017. Bell will be gradually phasing out their services over the next couple of years.
Expected Bell shutdown dates:
  • British Columbia, Alberta, and the Gaspé region of Quebec on January 31st.
  • Saskatchewan on June 30, 2017.
  • Ontario, the rest of Quebec, Atlantic Canada and Fort Nelson, BC by April, 2018.

What is CDMA?

CDMA is an older, slower wireless network and is being replaced by faster, more advanced and reliable networks. All CDMA voice, text, and data services - including 911 - will be affected, and will no longer work after tomorrow.

Who will be affected?

Customers who want uninterrupted service will need to upgrade to HSPA or LTE capable devices. Most Canadian devices are already on some form of the new networks, so you are probably safe unless you are using a very old device. If you are not sure if your phone is CDMA, there are several ways to check. Two of the easiest ways are:
  1. Check for a SIM card. If one is not needed, the device is probably a CDMA.
  2. Check the top corner of the screen. CDMA will display either 1X or 1XEV next to the wireless network coverage bars. 

How can I prepare?

Both carriers have websites to help affected customers with the transition. You can view Telus' help site here, Bell's here, and Virgin Mobile customers can also find help here.
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