Are iPhone users the most loyal?

apple logoWhether you believe that Apple, Android, Google, or Windows phones are the best on the market, there’s one category where Apple is the clear winner – customer loyalty.

According to a study done by Morgan Stanley for Statista, 92 percent of iPhone owners who plan on buying a new phone within a year say they are “somewhat or extremely likely” to purchase another Apple device. That’s a significant increase from last year, when the number was 86 percent.

In comparison, second place for loyalty goes to Samsung, with 77 percent of users. This is by far the highest for any Android brand, seeing as LG, Motorola, and Nokia all float around 50 percent and below.

So, why do Apple users feel that they couldn’t live with another brand? Business Insider has some helpful explanations.

“The Android market is defined by competition, while iOS is Apple’s alone,” Business Insider suggests.

If you like the way Android works, but are unhappy with your current smartphone make, you have a lot of other options. In contrast, iOS is limited to Apple, so if you want that – it’s your only choice.

Among other rationales, Business Insider also points out that “transitioning away from iMessage is an absolute nightmare.”

And it’s true. Not only is iMessage a great communication tool, but it’s a way around paying for cell service abroad. iMessage has a lot of uses, and Android does not currently offer a great alternative.

Despite a recent dip in iPhone sales, this data implies that, at least when it comes to current customers, Apple is still desirable.

Bell Canada suffers data breach

bellIf you get your wireless, television, or internet service with Bell Canada, be advised – there’s a chance a third-party hacker might have your information. According to Insauga, Canada’s primary carrier announced on May 16 that an anonymous hacker illegally obtained the information of approximately 1.9 million customer. This includes emails, names, and active phone numbers. Luckily no financial or personal information, including passwords, were accessed during the breach.

“We apologize to Bell customers for this situation and are contacting all those affected,” Bell said in a statement. “Please note that if your email address information was accessed, Bell will contact you by email. If your phone number was accessed, we will contact you by phone. If you haven’t been contacted by end of day May 16, your information was not accessed.”

If you haven’t already heard from Bell, your information is likely safe. Bell has also clarified that this was in no way connected to the recent WannaCry global malware attack, and that the customers involved face little to no risk. However, Bell reminds customers to never give sensitive information (such as credit card numbers) over e-mail, and to beware of unsolicited or suspicious communications.

Android, make room for Fuchsia

GoogleGoogle has been working on a new operating system for smartphones and tablets, which has the potential to be released as early as this summer. According to TechNewsWorld, the project is called Fuchsia and has been handled very discreetly.

Fuchsia is moving away from Google’s long-time association with Linux. The project is supposed to have an entirely Google feel, achieved by doing away with the Linux kernel that was integral to past operating systems, as well as the General Public License under which most operating systems function.

The OS is the brainchild of Travis Geiselbrecht – who has worked in the past on the Danger Hiptop smartphone, NewOS, Jawbone, and BeOS among others – and Brian Swetland, who collaborated with Geiselbrecht on Danger and BeOS. Both of them have worked on Android software before.

There is a lot of speculation as to why Google has decided to innovate Fuchsia, when Android is still wildly popular. One of the main theories is that Fuchsia is a reaction to the four year, $9 billion lawsuit between Google and Oracle.

“As the Oracle case revolves around the copyright of Oracle APIs used in Android, it could be a contributing factor in Google’s decision to build another platform,” William Stofega, program director for mobile phones at IDC, told LinuxInsider. Despite Google winning the case, it’s likely that the trouble was enough to make Google want to distance itself from Linux.

Google announced new cloud platform, Cloud IoT Core

GoogleOn May 16th, Google announced a new cloud platform to help enterprises collect data from a vast network of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

It’s called Google Cloud IoT Core, and according to Google’s cloud product manager, Indranil Chakraborty, it connects globally distributed devices to Google’s Cloud Platform, where they can be centrally managed and integrated with Google’s data analytics services.

According to Computer World, Google has been testing the new service with Energyworx, an American company of 40 workers, and loyal users of Google’s cloud services since 2014. Energyworx provides data analytics to utility companies to help them optimize performance. Energyworx founder Edwin Poot says his company has been using Cloud IoT Core to get real-time data readings from thousands of solar inverters and electric vehicle charging ports. Poot says he would like to expand the use of Cloud IoT Core to collect data from millions of smart utility meters for water and gas.

According to Poot, Google’s cloud services have cost only a tenth of what it paid Amazon Web Services prior to 2014. With Cloud IoT Core, Energyworx only has to pay Google for the IoT devices it uses to receive data.

“We’re seeing the power of cloud will grow fast and this [Google IoT] approach will be scalable,” Poot said. “We don’t install anything and don’t maintain anything. We just program it and use it and don’t worry about anything else.”

T-Mobile is giving away Galaxy phones in its new deal

tmobilesquareAccording to BGR, in the battle to win customers from carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, T-Mobile has started throwing Samsung Galaxy S8 phones at potential new sign-ups.

Since May 12, T-Mobile has launched a buy-one-get-one-free on Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices. The deal is contingent on the customer activating at least one new line, and the purchased Galaxy must be on an installment plan. This means that pre-existing T-Mobile customers can take advantage of the deal as long as they add a new line.

How do you get the second device free? Well, if you activate this promotion, then you will end up paying taxes for both devices in store, and then charges will be added to your monthly bill for the next two years to pay off both phones. However, you will also receive a rebate MasterCard, loaded with the full value of the second Galaxy S8. That’s more or less a gift card to everywhere, starting around $750.

If you don’t want to commit to two years, don’t worry; you can cancel the wireless service at any point. However, the balance left on the phone would then become due immediately.

The best way to take advantage of this offer seems to be if you’re already with T-Mobile, and you have the option to add another line for a few extra dollars a month.

Waterloo Region phone scammers impersonate hydro companies

scam-alertWaterloo Region, Ontario is in the midst of a tricky phone scam, which has forced local hydro companies to reach out to its customers. According to The Record, hydro companies are warning that scammers may call and pressure the customer into immediately paying off an overdue electricity bill or their services will be disconnected.

Four hydro companies, Energy+ Inc. (Cambridge and Brantford), Guelph Hydro, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro, and Waterloo North Hydro, have recently released a joint statement warning about the calls. They say the scam call includes a toll-free number that customers are encouraged to call. They also promise that disconnecting hydro is a last resort, and that customers would always be given written notice at least ten days and 48 hours in advance. The companies will never ask for credit card or bank account information over the phone, nor accept gift cards as payment.

The Waterloo Region hydro companies advises that anyone who receives a similar call not give any information, hang up right away, and notify their hydro provider.

Chinese TV maker TCL to sell smartphones in the United States

tclTCL, one of China’s biggest electronics makers, has ambitions in the U.S smartphone market. The company wants to sell devices, under its own brand, and hopefully establish a presence in the West. According to Chris Larson (vice president of TCL North America) in an interview with Business Insider, the phones should be available later this year.

What’s interesting is that these smartphones will be TCL branded. The company, namely a television manufacturer, already has a foothold in the market using the Alcatel brand and a recent line of BlackBerry branded devices. TCL also owns the Palm brand, but has not pushed any devices under that name.

TCL has already established its smartphone brand in China, Europe, and a handful of other global markets. In fact, the devices sold there are the ones re-branded and sold under a different name in the United States. As explained by Business Insider, the high-end TCL 950 phone was sold in the U.S as the BlackBerry DTEK60.

Larson says the phones will feature a “whole new design” compared to its existing devices overseas, and that they will likely be “mid-to upper-mid-range” devices.

Sprint commits to 5G service by 2019

Sprint logo5G networks are a bright spot in the future of wireless communication; a lot of carriers are in on it, and a lot of customers are excited about it. T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T already have plans in place to implement a 5G network. So it makes sense that Sprint has caught up and designed one too.

According to CNET, Sprint said it will be working with its parent company SoftBank and chip maker Qualcomm to develop 5G technologies for its 2.5 gigahertz band of spectrum. Sprint promises that its 5G services will deploy by late 2019.

Whether or not 2019 is a realistic promise is hard to say. According to CRTC, “analysts warn that [5G technology] is still years away due to the lack of access to sufficient higher frequency radio waves necessary to offer super-high speeds.”

Parents — Meet Comcast XFinity xFi

comcast complaintsThis week, Comcast released a new digital dashboard called Xfinity xFi, which enables its customers to monitor and control the WiFi usage of specific devices or users in their home. According to GeekWire, XFinity xFi also allows customers to see which devices are connected to their network, monitor data usage, set parental controls, change WiFi passwords, troubleshoot issues, and more.

The individual profiles XFinity xFi allows are quite interesting. Say you’re a parent making a profile for a younger child: You can assign specific devices to their profile, and pause the connectivity for all those devices when needed. This saves you from having to resort to turning off your internet altogether to manage your child’s devices. You could also opt to turn on a time-based curfew, where all these devices will automatically pause at specified times.

“Today, in most of our customer’s homes, our equipment is a black box to them,” said Patti Loyack, vice president of Comcast’s IP services. “We want to make sure we increase visibility to that box in their homes, as well as give them control.”

If you’re a Comcast user and you want to take advantage of XFinity xFi, you can download the mobile app for iOS or Android, access it via your web browser, or use TV with Comcast’s X1 voice remote. The service is free for Comcast customers who rent a compatible Xfinity WiFi device, which include the xFi Wireless Gateway and the xFi Advanced Wireless Gateway. These devices are already in ten million homes across the United States.

Phone scam targeting the elderly in New York State

phone-449836_640On Friday, May 5, the New York State Police issued a warning to state residents about a recent surge in phone scams targeting seniors in the region.

According to the Wyoming County Free Press, the scam includes two main scenarios. In the first, the caller is “claiming to be a family member in trouble or arrested in another state or country. This caller will put urgency on helping them and not to contact other family.” In the second scenario, the caller “claims to be a law enforcement official with a family member under arrest demanding bail or funds for them.” Police remind citizens that they will never contact families for bail money.

In either scenario, the caller will ask the victim to put specific amounts of money on store gift cards, such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target and other big retail stores. Then, the victim is instructed to call a number and read off the gift card identification number. If the victim complies, those gift cards will be used to buy and resell items.

The New York State Police are asking residents to make seniors in their life aware of this scam in attempts to prevent its future success.