Sunday, September 4, 2011

m.Globe on an iPhone 4

Last night I tried out the m.Globe service on a friends iPhone 4. As Globe Globe Telecom does not have an iPhone app, only offering an Android app for now, we accessed the serviced to the m.Globe mobile website.

Facebook. The Facebook functionality is limited to reading text in post and posting your own status updates. There is no support for "Liking" or "Commenting" on a post, no support for Facebook messaging, check-ins, uploading or viewing pictures.

But hey, it is a free service. The biggest weakness of the service it that it only showed six posts, after selecting to view older post. This mean that you cannot really use it to keep track of updates by your Facebook friends, because unless they do not post much, you are not likely to see most of what they post (unless you religious check it frequently for updates).

Consider the service to be more useful for posting status updates than reading status updates of your Facebook friends.

Screen shot from an iPhone 4

Twitter. The situation is pretty similar on Twitter. There were no options to reply, retweet, add to favorites or direct messaging. But it fairs a bit better in Twitter since you can "message" someone by including the user name in your Tweet.

When you sign up for both and Twitter, updates on both will be integrated into a single feed. The problem is you will only see a combined total of six status updates or Tweets. Basically, unless you only follow very few persons on Twitter, you wont see most of what they post. 

The Social Networking app on the Smart Netphone
looks much more promising, but we have to wait and see.

Email. The email page allows you to send and recieve email, but it only allows you to access unread mail and does not give you access to your inbox. It does allow you to reply to email, but you have to reply as soon as you receive it. If you read the mail and back out of it to reply later, you wont be able to access it from the portal anymore.

If an email has an attachment, you will be informed that there is an attachment but you wont be able to view of download it.

Google Search. Free Google search is limited to searching Globe website. If you do a web search you will be subject to data charges. The great thing about this service is that it tells you when you are about to access a paid service, so you wont be incurring accidental data charges.

iPhone issue. With an Android you can disable the ability of all apps to sync on the net an maintain your internet connectivity. On the iPhone 4, after turning on 3G to access the m.Globe portal, some of the iPhone 4 apps started accessing the internet to get updates, specifically the App Store and Weather. We could not find a way to disable them. While access to the m.Globe portal is free, the apps updating in the background might incur data charges. The iPhone 4 we used was is on a postpaid line with 6 hours of free mobile data a month, so we were unable to verify if apps running in the background would cause the phone to incur data charges.

That it what we tried so far. The service is rather limited, and we will have to see if it will match the social services of SMARTS Netphone. We  will have to wait a few more days before we can get our hands on a Netphone. 

How would I rate the service? Personally I would not use it. I would be happier buying 300Mb or 1Gb of data from Globe and using fully functional Facebook, Twitter and email apps. Globe rates for volume based data are very low, which is ironically the main reason I would not avail of this service. 

Still this service is useful. The smart user would use this in conjunction with a time based or volume mobile data it will save you some from having to pay Php5 just to post an update or save you a few megabytes a month on your volume data plan so you can maximize it doing other things. If, you are like me, a bit lazy, I would rather let your phone do all this in the background without user intervention, Globe Telecom makes it easy to be lazy. For social networking, email and instant messaging, the 300Mb plan of Globe should be more than enough for a months use, and that only cost Php299 for 30 days.

m.Globe is a free service. Limited but useful and functional. Do not look a gift horse in the mouth.

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