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The mobile wallet solution built by Canada s three major carriers will be shutting down on Aug.
26, according to SureTap s website, and the firm s chief operating officer says Apple Inc. s limitations on developers is partly to blame. Suretap has been removed from the Google Play Store and BlackBerry World Apps store as of today. Existing app users will be able to use the service for payments until Aug.
Suretap2 was launched in June 2015 as a collaborative effort between Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, and Telus Corp. and provided a way for NFC-enabled Android and BlackBerry devices to securely store payment credentials and use them for transactions at tap-to-pay POS terminals. Suretap was consolidated into Toronto-based Enstream, another joint entity operated by the carriers, in April.
Suretap entered the market to solve the problem of providing a digital wallet application and spur more adoption of mobile payments, says Almis Ledas, chief operating officer at Enstream. Its team saw the need to consolidate access and infrastructure to mobile payments work, but now the market has evolved to the point of fragmentation across different mobile platforms and applications. While Suretap could access the secure element on BlackBerry and Android devices, Apple does not allow third-party developers access to store data on the iPhone s secure element, instead setting it aside solely for use with Apple Pay.
If we d been able to deploy a wallet on Apple and non-Apple handsets, we would have more access for issuers and it would still be in existence today, Ledas says. We went to Apple and talked about getting access to the secure element. The answers was clear no.
While not being supported on Apple s handsets which make up about one-third of smartphones in Canada was partly to blame for Suretap s demise, it wasn t the full story either. The decision to shut down the service was made even prior to Apple Pay s deal with the major five Canadian banks3 announced in May, he says. The rationale being that there was no longer a need to provide another digital wallet to support a mobile payments eco-system. Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Canadian solution Ugo4 are among other wallet apps on the market. Even most banks opted not to use Suretap, instead building their own apps for mobile payments on Android. (Though some of those apps rely on backend services provided by Enstream.) So, while Suretap achieved good distribution by being pre-loaded on smartphones and also driving millions of downloads, it lacked wide support for bank credentials. Only CIBC and Rogers Bank (which is only a credit card issuer) supported Suretap.
As the device universe split, the base we could serve became smaller and smaller, Ledas says. With certain fixed costs required to operate and just not enough users to justify it, the writing was on the wall.
Suretap s user base was building slowly and gradually, and even saw a spike after it added support for loyalty programs last November, Ledas says, but the growth stopped when the loyalty cards were discontinued.
There was no business model for loyalty cards, he says. There s no business rationale for maintaining a wallet as a shared utility for banks and phone companies. Ledas and his team, having been consolidated into Enstream already, will continue working for that business unit.
Enstream continues its operations providing mobile payments and identity verification platform services to financial institutions and online service providers.
Even though Lenovo now owns the company instead of Google, for some years Motorola s Moto series of smartphones have been the closest you can get to a stock Android device without going with a Nexus. Although its top-end Moto X Pure decided to skip Canada in 2015, the excellent entry level third-gen Moto G and the Moto X Play were sold up here, with the Play being one of our 2015 Top Smartphones for Business1. As a mid-range phone, the Play wasn t made from any premium materials or equipped with the fastest hardware, but we still found it performed well, had outstanding battery life, and ran almost stock Android, which our opinion is still the best version of Google s OS. The 2015 Moto G was also a good device but didn t quite make the cut, being just a little too low-end to be considered for our Top 10. However, for 2016 Motorola has updated the fourth-gen Moto G to be more of a mid-range smartphone, with a larger screen and higher-end specifications that basically supplants the Moto X Play in Motorola s lineup this year. Again, although it can t hold a candle to the best that HTC, LG, and Samsung have to offer, it s also significantly more affordable and for business users on a budget, the Moto G4 Plus is our current smartphone of choice.
MOTOROLA MOTO G4 PLUS SPECIFICATIONS Screen 5.5-inch Full HD TFT LCD display @ 1920 x 1080 (401 PPI) SoC 1.5 GHz/1.2 GHz Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617with 550 MHz Adreno 405 GPU RAM 2 GB LPDDR3 Storage 32 GB NAND with up to 128 GB microSD slot Battery 3,000 mAh (non-removable) with fast charging Speakers Single front-facing speaker Rear Camera 16 MP 1/2.4 Omnivsion OV16860 sensor, 1.34 m pixels, f/2.0, phase detect autofocus (PDAF), color balancing dual LED flash, 1080p video Front Camera 5 MP, f/2.2, wide-angle lens LTE Bands 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17, 28 (Cat.
4 LTE up to 150 Mbps) Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4G + 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.1 LE,SM© USB 2.0 Build Materials & Colour Plastic and Gorilla Glass 3
Available in Black
Element Protection Water-repellent coating Biometrics Fingerprint reader Dimensions & Weight 153 x 76.6 x 7.9 to 9.8 mm,
OS Android 6.01 (Marshmallow) Availability & Pricing Koodo, Rogers, SaskTel, Telus, Wind Mobile, and Virgin Mobile.
Estimated to be $0-50 on a 2-year term, around $400 outright.
What we like
As a mid-range smartphone, don t expect to see any premium materials here the Moto G4 Plus is an all-plastic affair. However, like the Moto G3 and X Play, the G4 Plus is still a solidly crafted device whose appearance belies its budget nature. Its design does eschew the attractive metal band that ran down the middle of last year s models but it retains the Motorola logo dimple on the back, which becomes a comfortable place to rest your index finger when holding the phone. Like the Moto X Play, the G4 Plus has a 5.5-inch full HD LCD panel, so it s perhaps not as crisp as the QHD displays found on the current top-tier smartphones, but it s still a good looking screen. Its colour accuracy looks solid, and it is quite bright, topping out a 460 nits, making it usable under bright sunlight. Size-wise, the G4 Plus is a tad taller and wider than the X Play, but is noticeably thinner the Play was one of the chunkiest phones we tested last year.
It s, of course, considerably bigger than the 5-inch Moto G3, but we feel that 5.5-inches is now the sweet spot for smartphone screen size.
The big hardware addition for 2016 is a fingerprint reader, located below the screen. With the growth in the use of mobile payment solutions and also the ability to use biometrics to secure sensitive work data on mobile devices, a fingerprint reader is almost a necessity for a modern business smartphone, so it s good to see one on a more affordable device like this. Unlike most other phones, it s square rather than circular, but this difference did not seem to impact its accuracy. Of note, despite its location, it doesn t also function as a home button, with the Moto G4 Plus still using the standard Android on-screen soft buttons.
Benchmark Results Moto G4 Plus Galaxy S7 Nexus 5X iPhone 6S Moto X Play Overall System: Antutu v6 46,599 130,066 74,584 N/A* N/A* Overall System: PCMark 5,402 4,726 4,211 N/A* 4,148 CPU: Geekbench 3 Pro Multi-Core 3,072 6,504 3,574 4,456 2,692 GPU: 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 9,822 28,641 15,715 28,319 8,037 GPU: GFXBench Manhattan Off-Screen 6 fps 38 fps 16 fps 40 fps N/A* PCMark Battery Life Test 9 hr 40 mins 7 hr 38 min 6 hr 41 min N/A* 9 hr 24 min
(*no data available/these tests are not available on iOS)
When it comes to performance, you can t expect a $400 phone to be at the same level as devices that cost double, and the numbers above reflect that. However, the Moto G4 Plus does outperform Motorola s 2015 Canadian flagship, the X Play, and when you compare its PCMark system score, the G4 does quite well. In day-to-day use, especially with business applications, you d be hard-pressed to see any difference between the G4 Plus and its pricier rivals. The Moto G4 Plus has a substantially bigger battery than the less power-hungry Moto G3, and a noticeably smaller one than the huge 3,630 mAh cell of the Moto X Play, yet the G4 Plus has better battery life than both of those devices.
In fact, we praised the X Play for having battery life that was able to surpass by far every other smartphone we ve tested this year, and it looks like Motorola has managed to repeat that feat with the G4 Plus this year.
On the software side, the Moto G4 Plus runs an almost stock version of Google s latest OS, Android 6.0.1. In previous years, Motorola s phones have been some of the first to get updates to the newest version of Android after Google s Nexus phones, and we assume it will be no different this year. The G4 Plus also includes some of Motorola s useful additional software, Moto Actions, which adds some limited gesture control to Android, and Moto Display for always-on screen notifications. The Moto G4 Plus supports Android for Work2 for mobile device management (MDM) if you plan to use the G4 Plus as a BYOD or COPE smartphone. The cameras on last year s Moto G3 and X Play were good. But not great. The Moto G3 reused the sensor from the 2014 Moto X and produced decent pictures for a phone at its price point, and the X Play s 21 MP Sony IMX230 sensor performed well in good light but suffered in low light.
For 2016, Motorola has impressively equipped its mid-range phone with an excellent camera. Its large 16 MP 1/2.4 Omnivsion OV16860 sensor performs well in all lighting conditions, and Motorola s camera software has received a big upgrade with the option for full manual control now. Its score of 84 in DxOMark s Mobile camera test3 is the same as that of the Nexus 6P and iPhone 6S, both devices with cameras we ve previously praised.
What we don t like
We re not going to knock the G4 Plus too much for its performance, because, after all, it s a mid-range phone, but it would have been nice if Motorola could have equipped it with something perhaps a tad better on the GPU side. If you look at our benchmark results chart above, it didn t do very well in the graphics tests. Motorola also bizarrely left off NFC, so although the Moto G4 Plus has a fingerprint reader, it s not going to work with tap-and-pay payment solutions. The fact that the reader doesn t act as a home button is annoying too because of its placement, and we often found ourselves trying to push it to no avail. Furthermore, we do think that the G4 Plus design has lost a bit of the personality of Motorola s 2015 devices the G4 is perhaps a bit generic looking.
Lastly, the G4 Plus is missing the useful Moto Voice control feature found on the Moto X Play.
2016 s Best Smartphone Value
As they did in 2015, Motorola has delivered one of the best smartphone values available today, and for Canadian business users on a tight budget looking for a new phone, or IT departments looking to purchase their employees new devices without going over their quarterly budget, the Moto G4 Plus is an excellent choice.
It will be available from Koodo, Rogers, SaskTel, Telus, Wind Mobile, and Virgin Mobile soon, priced at around $400 outright and from $0 to around $50 on a 2-year term.
Highs: Great build quality, good display, fast accurate fingerprint reader, excellent camera and battery life, almost stock Android, outstanding value for money.
Lows: Only average performance, missing NFC, poorly placed fingerprint reader, generic appearance, missing some key Moto software features.
Design and hardware: 8/10
Battery life: 9.5/10
OVERALL SCORE: 8.2/10
- Sam Toft Get Well Card – Black and White Buddies Range
- Printed Onto a Fine Art Textured Card
- Size 120 mm X 170 mm – 4 3/4 ” X 6 3/4 ” inches
- Short Verse Inside – ‘ Get Well Soon ‘
- Each Card Is Individually Wrapped
Card Title: ” Feeling a Bit Under The Weather ? ” Artist – Sam Toft .Size : 120mm X 170mm Product Code: ST1345. Black And White Buddies Range / Friendship blossoms in unexpected places.
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