In 2016, there were quite a few rumours and promises made to Canadians. Many of these didn’t meet the December 31st deadline. So what now? What should we as Canadians expect to see arrive in Canada in 2017?
There was a lot of talk that Android Pay would be available in Canada by the “end of 2016”. Well, for a few days in December, we thought it was really happening when Scotia Bank cards suddenly began to work. Many Scotia Bank clients rejoiced as they used the Android Pay app to make payments with their smartphones. Unfortunately, that came to a sudden halt only a few days later. I’ve never received any clarification as to why – just assumptions such as, the terms of service was incorrect, or a trigger was pulled too before the other banks were ready.
Is there any hint of an ETA even now? I scour the internet often, seeking this answer. No one has any leads at this time.
If you’ve used Google Allo, or you own a Google Pixel (XL), you’ve probably had experience with Google Assistant. It’s the new version of Google Now with some more features added (and some missing features too…), and as of the Fall in 2016, it can now be accessed via your voice using a new product called the Google Home.
The device was released only in the US, but Google has promised it to be released in Canada within the first quarter of 2017. That gives them until the end of March. Pricing is $129 USD now, so we suspect the costs here should be around $170-$199 CAD.
If you’re feeling impatient, you can bring a Google Home across the border through various methods, and it’s been reported by many that the device works well as-is within Canada.
Rich Communication Services (RCS)
A lot of people are starting to hear more and more about RCS (also known as Enhanced Messaging), but not everyone even knows what the deal is. To recap in a really simplified way, RCS is simply a replacement for SMS and MMS, while adding more features, such as read receipts, typing notifications, and up to 10MB for photos and videos (compared to only 2MB for MMS – depending on the carrier). It still works the same as SMS and MMS in which it does not use your data plan.
In late 2016, Google announced that Rogers Wireless was rolling out RCS for their users. Many, including myself, expected the feature to show up in Google Messenger (currently the only app supporting RCS) within days. Well, I found out from friend that Rogers employees were notified the roll out would happen over the next couple of months! So, if you are on Rogers Wireless or Fido, you may have it now, or you may be waiting as long as the end of February before you see the option show up. Maybe even longer.
As for Bell and Telus, no one has heard anything from, other than that they too will support RCS.