Over 30 million Canadians have a mobile device and the category saw incredible development and growth within the industry this year. While there was some occasional drama, Canadians consumed more data and became increasingly dependant on our phones or tablets to keep connected with the latest news, family, co-workers and friends.
The clamour for media — Canadians are consuming more media on their devices and the carriers are desiring to help feed those appetites. Rogers rocked Canada by taking over the broadcasting rights of the NHL and have pumped out more mobile content. Bell acquired Astral Media in 2013 and this year saw a number of new initiatives arrive on mobile, which pulled them well above 1 million Mobile TV subscribers.
Another turn in media was streaming services with Rogers’ Shomi and Bell’s CraveTV. Both offer various levels of unlimited movies and TV for a low monthly cost and a goal to take on Netflix.
Smartwatches and wearable tech — Smartwatches became more than a fad in 2014 and became part of mobile manufacturers’ roadmaps. Samsung, Sony, ASUS, LG released products this year, and coming up in 2015 will be Tag-Heuer, HTC and Apple and more others. While wearables, such as t-shirts, glasses, headbands (Muse), fitness trackers, and bras, the industry seem to be in a middle ground still trying to find a place to settle.
Spectrum and Canadian carrier stability – The 700Mhz spectrum auction raised over $5 billion and the government recently announced AWS-3 auction will happen on March 3rd with the aim to bring four national wireless carriers operating in each province.
Rogers is still the leader in subscribers, but TELUS scooped up Public Mobile late last year to become Canada’s second largest carrier. Bell is a close third and WIND Mobile, now fully owned by Globalive and its new investors, have amassed over 800,000 subscribers. Mobilicity is somehow still around, but this will change as consolidation will likely happen in the next few weeks.
iPhone 6 – I’ve tried various Samsung devices, HTC, Motorola, but for years I wanted a larger display on my iPhone. Everything in my life lives on Apple’s OS — laptop, music, videos — and with the new iPhone 6 it seems to a right size for my hands. The build quality and better camera make this one of the best smartphones on the market.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge – While this device is not yet available in Canada, Samsung took innovative steps to bring a curved display to market — though the display is only on one side and has limited functionality. However, I’m sure we will see more of this type of device hitting other manufacturers in the coming months.
Slack – One of the best apps that have made us communicate better as a company has been Slack. This was created by Stewart Butterfield, the Canadian entrepreneur who previously founded Flickr, and not only is it easy on the eyes, but also simple to use. Slack can be used on desktop and mobile and allows to rid the plethora of emails with quick messages and media uploads.
MLB.com Home Run Derby 14 – I’m a big fan of hitting home runs. Unfortunately I suck at actual baseball and am relatively good at it on mobile. The free game is produced by Major League Baseball and has a couple variations and in-app purchase options so you don’t get bored with just hitting dingers all day. Perfect for the subway or train ride in.
Instagram – I love food and drinks, specifically Jameson and Tim Hortons. However, this is not what I use the picture and video social service for. With two kids under my belt I love that I can easily share great moments with family and friends.