Saturday, March 30, 2013

Both Exyos Octa 5 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 support LTE

Samsung announced two versions of its Galaxy S 4 phone, one with the Exynos 5 Octa and the other with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, it was believed that the Exynos 5 Octa be compatible only with 3G networks. The LTE model would ship with Qualcomm's LTE-capable, quad-core Snapdragon 600.

That was apparently wrong. Both the Exynos 5 Octa and Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 version of the Galaxy S support LTE. So why make two versions. Speculation is that Samsung cannot make enough Exynos 5 Octa to meet the demand.

GSM Arena benchmarks show the Exynos 5 Octa outperforming the and Qualcomm Snapdragon 600. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 could be a little more power efficient since the LTE modem is a System-on-Chip solution, while the Exynos 5 Octa most likely has a separare chip for the LTE modem. On the other hand, the Exynos Octa 5 uses two pair of quad core chips. One for intensive operation and a more power efficient second quad-core chip for less intensive tasks. This might be enough to match or out perform that Qualcomm version. 

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 performed very impressively in the battery life tests. Will be on the lookout for battery life tests of the Octa 5 Samsung Galaxy S 4.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

If you want a BlackBerry Z10, best to go with Globe Telecom

Abe Olandres (aka Yugatech) tweeted an hour ago that there are apparently two models of the BlackBerry Z10 selling in the Philippines, a LTE and a 3G model.

After some discussions on the Twitter verse, it would seem that Smart Communications BlackBerry Z10's and retail units are 3G only. Globe Telecom BlackBerry Z10's are LTE models.

If you want a BlackBerry Z10, you should probably consider getting one from Globe Telecom.

HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 Battery Life

GSM Arena has completed battery life tests on the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S 4. These two phone represent what is the cutting edge in Android hardware today, with Qualcomm S600 processors and 1080p displays. Both phones have larger batteries than the phones they replace, with the HTC One carrying a 2300 mAh unit and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 coming with a 2600 mAh battery.

The results of the endurance tests on these two phones is pretty amazing.

Talk Time

Sony Xperia Z - 16 hours and 3 minutes
LG Optimus G - 15 hours and 30 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S 4 - 13 hours and 53 minutes
HTC One - 13 hours and 38 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 10 hours and 15 minutes
Apple iPhone 5 - 8 hours and 42 minutes

The quad core Qualcomm S600 on the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 does not appear to be as efficient in this task as the Qualcomm S 4 processor on the Sony and LG phones.

Web Browsing

HTC One - 9 hours 58 minutes
Apple iPhone 5 - 9 hours and 56 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S4 - 8 hours and 42 minutes
Sony Xperia Z - 6 hours and  27 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 6 hours and 37 minutes
LG Optimus G - 5 hours and 15 minutes

The HTC One is impressive in a statistical tie with the Apple iPhone 5. Samsung's Super AMOLED technology is not efficient in web browsing tests which predominantly use white or light colored backgrounds, but the Galaxy S 4 does well enough in this test. The Qualcomm S600 equipped phones seem to be a lot more efficient than the Qualcomm S 4 handsets in this test. 

Video Playback

Samsung Galaxy S 4 - 10 hours and 16 minutes
Apple iPhone 5 - 10 hours and 12 minutes
HTC One - 10 hours and 2 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 9 hours and 27 minutes
LG Optimus G - 7 hours and 30 minutes
Sony Xperia Z - 5 hours and 39 minutes

The Samsung Galaxy S 4, Apple iPhone 5 and HTC One are a statistical tie for first place. The Qualcomm S600 equipped phones seem to be a lot more efficient than the Qualcomm S 4 handsets in this test. 

Standby (with 1 hour of calls, video playback and web browsing per day)

Samsung Galaxy S 4 - 63 hours
Apple iPhone 5 - 51 hours
Samsung Galaxy S III - 50 hours
HTC One - 48 hours
Sony Xperia Z - 48 hours
LG Optimus G - 45 hours

While the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 have been neck and neck the whole way, the Galaxy S 4 leaves the HTC One is standby time. Having tested several Android 4.1 and 4.2 ROM's, Android 4.2 seems to be much more power efficient on standby mode. The HTC One is running Android 4.1, while the Galaxy S 4 is running Android 4.2. A HTC update might improve the HTC One's standby performance.

Source: GSM Arena

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Huawei Ascend Y300 - The new entry level king?

Huawei has just released its Ascend Y300 in the Philippines. The Ascend Y300 is a entry level phone, priced at Php5,490. At that price it squarely aims at low cost locally branded handsets from Cherry Mobile, CloudPhone, MyPhone and Starmobile. An Huawei does succeed.

The basic specifications are par for the course:

  • 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) display
  • 4 GB internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1 GHz Dual Core Processor
  • 5 MP primary camera with LED Flash
  • 0.3 MP front camera
  • HSPA
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS

But there are three key features which put it head an shoulders above the competition.

Jelly Bean. With the Ascend Y300, Huawei has thrown in a Android Jelly Bean phone in what is probably the most contested segment of the smartphone industry. And Jelly Bean is the key word. It competition is still running Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich.

Gorilla Glass. This highly scratch and shatter resistant material is standard on mid-level and high end devices, it is nice seeing it in a phone at this price.

1730 mAh battery. The typical 4-inch Android comes with a 1500 mAh battery. The Ascend Y300 has a battery 15% larger than the typical 4-inch Android phone.

On the minus side, for some, the phone is not a dual SIM device.

All, in all, while it cost a few hundred more than the Cherry Mobile Thunder, and all of 1.5K more than a burst or the flair, I think Jelly Bean, Gorilla Glass, larger battery and Huawei branding is more than enough to justify the additional price.

The Case for the Low Cost Laptop

These days when I think about laptops, I think cheap. A decade ago, I was willing to pay a small premium just to buy a laptop. Three years ago, I was willing to pay a premium for ultra thin and light. As a testament to progress, for the typical user, the days even the cheapest laptops in the marker will do. 

The new personal computer ecosystem. Why cheap? Well, the laptop is no longer the center of our computing experience, but rather now forms part of a larger ecosystem. You really, really must have a smartphone on a data plan. It really will change the way you think of the Internet and your concept of what is a personal computing. You should really, really get your phone from a carrier. Getting a top class smartphone on a data plan will set you back Php1,500 to Php2,500 a month for two years. That is a Php36,000 or Php60,000 investment. But that gets you a top notch device with a retail price between Php20,000 to Php38,000, and a plan to make it really useful. After two years, progress in technology and battery wear and tear will compel you to buy a new one.

You should also consider getting a tablet. Tablet apps tend to be cheaper than Windows and Mac OS X desktop applications, so a tablet is a cheap way of getting some really powerful apps like Adobe Photoshop, or entertainment related apps, like games. Moving your photo editing tasks and gaming habit from your PC to a tablet could save a great deal of money in the long run. A good tablet could set you back as little as Php4,000 to as much as Php45,000. A tablet is also only good for two years or so.

Basically, having spent, or committed to spend, Php40,000 to Php105,000 over a period of two years for a smartphone and a tablet, I really do not want to spend all that much on a laptop. 

The cheap laptop is pretty decent. A good low cost 11.6-inch laptop these days will weigh in at just over three pounds, and some 14-inch laptops come in at about four pounds. These are not the 5-6 pound "thin-and-light" laptops from a few years back, which were not very thin, and more importantly, not all that light. 

To keep prices down, I would skip the touchscreen for now. While Windows 8 is optimized for the touchscreen, if you get a traditional laptop form factor, you really wont be using the touchscreen. Touch is better reserve to more expensive Windows 8 hybrid devices, which are priced at a level that make me think I am better of getting a dedicated tablet and a cheap laptop.

Also as a consideration to keeping costs and weight down, I would give up all day computing. Presumably, you would share computing time between your smartphone and tablet, as well as a laptop, so laptop battery life is less important. 

My recommendations.  Looking at the locally available 11-inch laptops, I like the 11.6-inch Acer Aspire V5 priced at Php18,900 with a Windows 8 license. 

The new V5 is build better than the older Acer 11-inch offering, notably having less flex on the keyboard. The main reason for selecting this model, is I much prefer the Intel Celeron 1007U processor over the AMD E2-1800 and 2000's you find in the competing 11-inch laptops which are priced higher. 

On the larger units, I prefer the 14-inch Samsung Series 3 NP370

Priced a Php22,900 with a Windows 8 license, it is nicely built, comes under 4 pounds, and has a decently large 3780 mAh battery.  

With your computing needs, or habit, now spanning three devices, I would think most of us would not be willing to spend as much on our next laptop upgrade.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Grand Battery Life

We took a look at the battery life of LG Optimus G and Sony Xperia Z, and compared them with the established leaders, the Apple iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S III. LG's and Sony's offering faired pretty well. Now I am going to add the more modest, mid-priced, 5-inch Samsung offering, the Galaxy Grand.

Talk Time

Sony Xperia Z - 16 hours and 3 minutes
LG Optimus G - 15 hours and 30 minutes
Samsung Galaxy Grand - 12 hours and 45 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 10 hours and 15 minutes
Apple iPhone 5 - 8 hours and 42 minutes

The quad core Qualcomm S 4 processor on the Sony and LG seems to be very efficient in low powered tasks, but the Samsung Galaxy Grand does pretty well beating the Galaxy S III and Apple iPhone 5.

Video Playback

Apple iPhone 5 - 10 hours and 12 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 9 hours and 27 minutes
Samsung Galaxy Grand - 8 hours and 11 minutes
LG Optimus G - 7 hours and 30 minutes
Sony Xperia Z - 5 hours and 39 minutes

The Samsung Galaxy Grand has a large 5-inch display, but with a low WVGA (480 x 800) resolution. It has the same 2100 mAh battery you find in the Galaxy S III. So I was expecting it to better in this test.

Web Browsing

Apple iPhone 5 - 9 hours and 58 minutes
Samsung Galaxy Grand - 7 hours and 9 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 6 hours and 27 minutes
Sony Xperia Z - 6 hours and  37 minutes
LG Optimus G - 5 hours and 15 minutes

Same comment.

Standby (with 1 hour of calls, video playback and web browsing per day)

Samsung Galaxy Grand - 56 hours
Apple iPhone 5 - 51 hours
Samsung Galaxy S III - 50 hours
Sony Xperia Z - 48 hours
LG Optimus G - 45 hours

Having been in the middle of all tests, the Galaxy Grand holds the top spot in the standby time category.

Source: GSM Arena

Monday, March 25, 2013

Low Cost 720p Androids: Cherry Mobile Omega HD v. Starmobile Diamond

Yugatech has a comparison of two of the most awaited Android smartphones which should hit the Philippine market next month: the Cherry Mobile Omega HD and the Starmobile Diamond. What makes both devices so eagerly awaited is the 5-inch 720p displays which both phones sport, at sub-10K prices.

Read Yugatech's comparison here.

Image source: Yugatech

Acer V5-131-10072G50A - Value for Money Ultraportable

Acer has released the 11-inch version of its V5 series laptops in the Philippines, which hits the market as the value for money 11-inch ultraportable. Priced at Php18,900 with a Intel Celeron 1007u processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, this is the value for money choice for those looking for an 11.6-inch ultraportable. The price comes with a Windows 8 license.

The Intel Celeron 1007u scores 1592 points in the Passmark benchmarks. Looking at other low cost processors in the market, the Intel Celeron 1007u has much more processing power than the AMD E2-1800/2000 Accelerated Processing Units you find in the more expensive HP DM1 (Php19,990), Sony Vaio E  (Php23,990) and Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE 135 (Php26,990). If you are looking for a low cost 11-inch touchscreen, the Asus VivoBook X202e (Php20,990 and Php26,990) is still the only game in town.

The 11-inch Acer V5 also has what you expect from other laptops at this price range with a HD (1366 x 768) display, 2 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, card reader, USB 3.0 and HDMI out. The 11-inch Acer V5 has a 2500 mAh battery which is good for 3 to 3.5 hours battery life. The HP DM1 has and Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE provide longer battery life (5-6 hours), and the Lenovo has a much firmer and tactile keyboard. 

Still overall, the 11-inch Acer V5, with the more powerful Intel Celeron Processor is a very good choice for the money. It comes in three colors: silver, black and red.

A bit of trivia on the 11-inch Acer V5. The 11-inch Acer V5 is the same platform used for the Acer C7 Chromebook. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Samsung Series 7 NP740U3E-S01PH - Touch Ultrabook

Intel has mandated that all Ultrabooks with the next generation Haswell processors be touchscreen devices. While Haswell is still a few months away, several manufacturers are already releasing touchscreen Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks. The latest Samsung Series 7 released in the Philippines is one such model. 

The new Samsung Series 7 NP740U3E-S01PH ushers in the era of next generation Ultrabooks with a 13.3-inch, Full HD touch panel. That's a sharp 1920 x 1080p display. Powering the device is a Intel Core i7-3537UM processor with a AMD Radeon 8570M graphics and 1 GB of dedicated video RAM. The device has 4 GB of system RAM and storage via a 128 GB SSD. Battery life is a good 7+ hours. All this is encased in a 0.74-inch thick shell which which weighs in at about 3.6 pounds. 

The Samsung Series 7 NP740U3E-S01PH will set you back all of Php69,900. This is a good choice for those who want a high end touch Ultrabook.  The price puts it in direct competition with the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It also makes it much more expensive their my current favorite portable, the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

LG Optimus G Battery Life

The LG Optimus G was recently released in the Philippines. With a 4.7-inch 720p display it should be more power efficient than the latest 5-inch 1080p Androids. Is there merit to getting what it now a transitional model between last years flagships and todays cutting edge Android phones?

The LG Optimus G comes with a non-user replaceable 2100 mAh battery.

I will compare it to the two leaders, the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Apple iPhone 5 and the soon to be released 1080p Sony Xperia Z.

Talk Time

Sony Xperia Z - 16 hours and 3 minutes
LG Optimus G - 15 hours and 30 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 10 hours and 15 minutes
Apple iPhone 5 - 8 hours and 42 minutes

The quad core Qualcomm S 4 processor on the Sony and LG seems to be very efficient in low powered tasks.

Video Playback

Apple iPhone 5 - 10 hours and 12 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 9 hours and 27 minutes
LG Optimus G - 7 hours and 30 minutes
Sony Xperia Z - 5 hours and 39 minutes

The Apple iPhone with the smallest and lowest resolution displays tops this test. Samsung's Super AMOLED technology is also very efficient in video playback tests. The lower pixel density and smaller display of the LG Optimus G give it the edge over the Xperia Z.

Web Browsing

Apple iPhone 5 - 9 hours and 56 minutes
Sony Xperia Z - 6 hours and  37 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 6 hours and 27 minutes
LG Optimus G - 5 hours and 15 minutes

The Apple iPhone with the smallest and lowest resolution displays tops this test again. There are a lot of merits to a smaller screen. Samsung's Super AMOLED technology is not efficient in web browsing tests which predominantly use white or light colored backgrounds, but does well enough in this test. The LG Optimus G is a rather disappointing in this test, with a smaller screen and lower resolution than the Sony Xperia Z. The Xperia Z's battery is 10% larger, but the difference does not explain the result.

Standby (with 1 hour of calls, video playback and web browsing per day)

Apple iPhone 5 - 51 hours
Samsung Galaxy S III - 50 hours
Sony Xperia Z - 48 hours
LG Optimus G - 45 hours

Source: GSM Arena

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sony Xperia Z Battery Life

The Sony Xperia Z will be hitting retailers soon, and the one question many potential buyers will have about it is battery life. Powered by a powerful quad-core Qualcomm S4 chipset and sporting a 5-inch Full HD (1080 x 1920) display, the question is will the 2330 mAh battery will be enough. Given that it is not user replaceable, it will have to do pretty well since you are likely to keep it for two years at which point the battery capacity should be down to 70% or less of the original capacity.

I will compare it to the two leaders, the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Apple iPhone 5.

Talk Time

Sony Xperia Z - 16 hours and 3 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 10 hours and 15 minutes
Apple iPhone 5 - 8 hours and 42 minutes

The quad core Qualcomm S 4 processor seems to be very efficient in low powered tasks.

Video Playback

Apple iPhone 5 - 10 hours and 12 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 9 hours and 27 minutes
Sony Xperia Z - 5 hours and 39 minutes

The Apple iPhone with the smallest and lowest resolution displays tops this test. Samsung's Super AMOLED technology is also very efficient in video playback tests. The Sony with a 5 inch Full HD display consumes a lot of power in this test.

Web Browsing

Apple iPhone 5 - 9 hours and 56 minutes
Sony Xperia Z - 6 hours and  37 minutes
Samsung Galaxy S III - 6 hours and 27 minutes

The Apple iPhone with the smallest and lowest resolution displays tops this test again. There are a lot of merits to a smaller screen. Samsung's Super AMOLED technology is not efficient in web browsing tests which predominantly use white or light colored backgrounds, but does well enough in this test.

Standby (with 1 hour of calls, video playback and web browsing per day)

Apple iPhone 5 - 51 hours
Samsung Galaxy S III - 50 hours
Sony Xperia Z - 48 hours

Source: GSM Arena

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Philippines Will be Getting Both Versions of the Samsung Galaxy S 4

Some countries will be getting the LTE enabled version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 with a Qualcomm chipset. Other will get the non-LTE Samsung Galaxy S 4 with the Exynos 5 Octa-Core. The Philippines, we will get both.

Samsung Galaxy S 4's with a Qualcomm chipset and LTE will be headed to Globe Telecom and Smart Communications. The Samsung Galaxy S 4 with the Exynos 5 chipset will be targeted at retail sales and might be headed to Sun Cellular.

BlackBerry Z10 Offered at Smart All-in Plan 1800

Smart Communications previously announced that it was offering the BlackBerry Z10 on Smart Data Plan 2000. Smart has now announced that the BlackBerry Z10 will be offered on All-in Plan 1800 with a 30 month contract.

This is actually a better fit for the BlackBerry Z10 in my opinion. Users interested in internet apps and web browsing will probably lean more towards an Android phone or an Apple iPhone. If you are  still on a BlackBerry today, it probably means one of two things. It is a corporate issued phone leaving you with no choice, or you are a BlackBerry Messenger user.

All-in Plan 1800 lets you configure your services and can allow you to create the ultimate messaging platform. Bundle it with unlimited data and you get unlimited BBM, Facebook Messaging, WhataUp, GTalk, Yahoo Messenger and Viber (coming soon). Add select the Php350 per month SMS add-on and you have 2,500 SMS to all networks. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sony Xperia Z Available for Pre-Order at Php29,990

Sony's flagship smartphone, the Android powered Sony Xperia Z is now available on pre-order from Lazada for Php29,990. The phone is available in three colors: black, white and purple.

Pre-ordered units will start shipping on April 8, 2013. Phone bought from Lazada on or before May 15, 2013 will also come with a free Krusell Donso FlipCover case and a chance to win a Sony smart watch.

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Benchmarks

Primate Labs, the developer of the Geekbench Benchmarks has posted the benchmark scores of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 equipped with a Qualcomm S600 chipset.  The benchmarks confirm that something we already knew. The Samsung Galaxy S 4 is fast. Clocked at 200 MHz faster than the HTC One, it is faster than its HTC rival. The new Qualcomm S600 chipset also smoke the older Qualcomm S 4 Pro found in the Nexus 4, LG Optimus G, HTC Butterfly and Sony Xperia X and XL. The Samsung Galaxy S 4 is twice as fast the Apple's iPhone 5.

But that it not really news. The Apple iPhone 5 was built around 2012 technology and is really more of a competitor to the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X. 

What is more interesting is how much progress is being made with each generation of smartphone chipsets in terms of power (higher is better).

Phone listed in order of release dates.


Apple iPhone 3GS - 272


HTC Nexus One - 477
Apple iPhone 4 - 368
Samsung Nexus S - 364


Samsung Galaxy S II - 998
Apple iPhone 4S - 622
Samsung Galaxy Nexus - 997


HTC One X (Tegra 3) - 1431
Samsung Galaxy S III (Exynos) - 1717
Apple iPhone 5 - 1596
LG Nexus 4 - 2040


HTC One - 2687
Samsung Galaxy S 4 (Qualcomm) - 3163

In four years times, smartphone power has multiplied by a factor of 10. The Qualcomm S600 in the Samsung Galaxy S 4 have as much power as Intel Core 2 Processor Duo processors released in 2008 and 2009! Now that is pretty amazing. 

Smart Communications iPhone 5 Wipeout Promo

Smart Communications is offering post paid subscribers discounts on their pre-termination fees for subscribers who want to avail of Apple's iPhone 5. The size of the discount depends on the number of months remaining on the contract.

  • 1-7 months remaining - up to a 75% discount
  • 8-13 months remaining - up to a 50% discount
  • 14-19 months remaining - up to a 25% discount

To find out if you are qualified, and how much your discounted pre-termination fee, you can text WIPEOUT to 2928.

You can get more details on Smart's iPhone 5 Wipeout promo at this link.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

GalaPad 7" WiFi

There are so many low cost Android tablets in the market, that I really cannot follow most. So I try to pick out a few interesting ones. One that caught my eye is the GalaPad 7" WiFi. The point of interest in this tablet is that it runs a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, just like the Google Nexus 7. Priced at Php9,200 is about 4 to 5K less than the retail price of a Nexus 7.

The GalaPad 7" does have lower specifications than the local version of the Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 is sold with 32 GB of internal memory, while the Galapad 7" comes with just 8 GB. The Galapad 7" does come with a MicroSD card slot, while the Nexus 7 does not. The GalaPad also comes with a lower resolution 1024 x 600 display instead of the HD, 1280 x 800 resolution on the Nexus 7. The lower resolution does mean less sharp images, on the other hand it also means better 3D performance as a Tegra 3 can run 3D graphics on a 1024 x 600 with ease. Finally the GalaPad has a smaller battery,  3500 mAh, as against the 4350 mAh battery of the Nexus 7. However, the lower resolution display will also be a more power efficient one.

The Tegra 3 processor on the GalaPad 7" does mean that it can take advantage of the Nvidia graphics optimizations found in some games. The GalaPad 7" also runs Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, so the operating system is current enough. I would probably just hunt down a Cherry Mobile Fusion Bolt myself. But if you want a Tegra 3 based system, and on a budget, the GalaPad 7" is worth a look.

Galaxy Nexus 4.2.1 update

Galaxy Nexus updating on a Smart Communications issued unit...

.. Android 4.2.1 flashing.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0 - Fiery Quad-Core Inside

Together with the Cherry Mobile Omega HD, the company launched another phone, the Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0. The Flame 2.0 is a 4.5-inch qHD smartphone running on Android 4.1, Jelly Bean. Powering the Flame 2 is a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor. The processor is backed by 1 GB of RAM. This phone is equipped with  1600 mAh battery.

The quad-core processor inside the Flame 2.0 is a Qualcomm S4 Play, specifically the MSM8225Q with a 1.2 GHz quad core ARM Cortex A5 processor and Adreno 203 grpahics. This is powerful enough to power displays as high as 720p displays and can handle HD video recording. The use of a ARM Cortex A5 processor and Andreno 203 graphics, has caused some to raise doubts. Cherry Mobile has released some pretty impressive benchmarks for its new Flame 2.0.

The Cherry Mobile Flame 2.0 is priced at Php6,999, and should hit the shelves early next month.

Cherry Mobile Omega HD - Awesome

When Cherry Mobile launched its Omega, two months ago, many were disappointed with the specifications. Omega is now launching a HD version of the Omega, the Cherry Mobile Omega HD. In truth, other the name, the Omega and Omega HD are rather different devices.  

Quick specs:

  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • 5-inch IPS HD display (720 x 1280)
  • 4 GB internal storage, expandable via a microSD card slot
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1 GHz dual core processor
  • 12 MP primary camera, autofocus with flash
  • 2 MP front camera
  • HSPA
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 2100 mAh battery

The suggested retail price is Php7,999. With 1 GB of RAM, a 720p display and Jelly Bean at a price below 8K, this really is another game changer from Cherry Mobile. When I look at what is available at Php6-7K, it looks like you should really try to add a bit to your budget and pick up the Cherry Mobile Omega HD instead. The Cherry Mobile Omega HD also looks like a better deal than a lot of the lower mid-level phones in my March 2013 mid-level smartphone buyers guide.

But this phone offers more than just upgraded specifications. It also incorporates some interesting technology not found in phones at this price. It has scratch resistant glass using Dragontail Glass, a technology I am not familiar with. Both the front and rear camera use Backside Illumination Sensors, which should make for better low light performance.

Ultimately, not on does the the Cherry Mobile Omega HD bring HD and JellyBean at an entry level price, it also is a step up in terms of durability in camera technology from what you usually find at the entry level.

Now, one crucial piece of information is still missing, basically what ARM processor, chipset and graphics chip this phone is using. A 720p display requires a fair bit of graphics power for good performance. I will be following up this product closely.

Apple and its Retina Display Marketing

In a new marketing campaign to explain why Apple in its website is still the best smartphone, Apple mention it is the only phone with the "retina" display. While the Apple iPhone has many virtuous, this is probably one that should have been left out. Apple originally defined retina as a pixel density of over 300 pixels per inch (ppi), but Apple now uses the term retina for high resolution displays, on its iPad and MacBooks, with a pixel density even below 300 ppi.

"It's pixel density is so high, your eye can't distinguish individual parts."

Comparing the Apple iPhone 5 to the different flagship phone shows that it actually does not do too well these days in the sharpness department.

Apple iPhone 5: 4-inch, 640 x 1136 pixels (326 ppi)
Nokia Lumia 920: 4.5-inch HD, 768 x 1280 pixels (332 ppi) 
BlackBerry Z10:  4.2-inch HD, 768 x 1280 pixels (355 ppi)
Samsung Galaxy S 4: 5-inch Full HD , 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi)
HTC One: 4.7-inch Full HD, 1080 x 1920 pixels (469 ppi)

Basically, comparing the BlackBerry, Windows and Android flagship phones, with the Apple iPhone 5, the latter is the only sub-HD phone and has the lowest pixel density. This is the kind of marketing which has earned Apple the reputation of weaving "reality distortion fields." 

What will Apple say when is releases a phone with a higher pixel density? 

LG on the move - It is not All Samsung in the Android World

Every major Android smartphone, manufacturer, from HTC to ZTE, has released or officially announced their 2013 flagships, which comprise of 5-inch smartphones with 1080p displays (except the HTC One with a 4.7-inch 1080p display). The Samsung Galaxy S 4 appears to be the early favorite, and it does not look like the competition is offering anything that would derail Samsung ambitions of a having the best selling Android smartphone in 2013.

The fly in the ointment for Samsung could be LG. LG has already released a very interesting Phablet the LG Optimus G Pro which impressively places a 5.5-inch Full HD display in a package more compact that the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note II. Expected to hit the market in the second quarter of 2013, the more modern LG Optimus G Pro is expected to steal some sales from the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The LG Optimus Pro and might take some of the thunder out of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 as well.

Sometime early in the third quarter of this year, LG should be releasing an update to its 4.7-inch LG Optimus G (the basis for the Google Nexus 4), with the more powerful Qualcomm S800 processor and 3 GB of RAM. This phone is also rumored to come with a 5.2-inch display with on-screen buttons. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Apple iPhone 4 - Free from Smart at Plan 999

The Apple iPhone 4 is now nearly three years old, and is getting a bit long in tooth insofar as its specifications are concerned. Still, offered at a good plan it could still be an excellent choice, and Smart Communications has done just that.

Smart is offering the Apple iPhone 4 free at Plan 999 with the following bundled in:

  • 100 minutes of voice calls to all networks
  • 40 SMS to all networks
  • 250 MB of data

I would think many users would have preferred a little less voice call time in exchange for more SMS. Still, it is a nicely balanced Php999 a month package. 

Acer Smartphone E1 Liquid V360

In addition to its new Intel powered Android, the Liquid C1, Acer has released a more conventional Android phone in the Philippines. The Acer Smartphone E1 Liquid V360.

The Acer Liquid E1 has a 4.5-inch qHD (540 x 960) display and runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It is powered by a dual core 1 GHz processor, but I do not know what version of the ARM Cortex processor it is running on, or what chipset it is built on. The also comes with 1 GB of RAM. Internal storage is 4 GB, which is expandable via a microSD card slot. The phone is equipped with a 1760 mAh battery The phone has a 5 MP primary camera, and a VGA front camera. Wireless connectivity is via HSPA, WiFi and Bluetooth. 

The Acer Liquid E1, uses a Nexus like interface with on screen buttons, which give it a touch of class in my opinion. 

Priced at Php10,990, Acer Liquid E1 is placed in direct competition with the Lenovo P770 which is priced at Php11,790. The Lenovo P770 has similar specifications and comes with a larger 3500 mAh battery.

Acer Smartphone Liquid C1 i110 - Intel Inside

Acer has released a new Android smartphone in the Philippines, the Acer Smartphone Liquid C1 i110. Acer's new offering has a 4.3-inch qHD (540 x 960) display. Storage is 4 GB expandable by a  microSD card slot. The phone comes with two cameras,  a 8 MP primary camera and a VGA front camera. Wireless connectivity is via HSPA, WiFi and Bluetooth. The battery is a relatively large 2000 mAh unit.

What makes the Acer Liquid C1 unique is that it runs on an Intel processor. Inside the Acer Liquid C1 is single core 1.2 GHz Intel Atom Z2420 rather than the usual ARM processor you find on smartphones. Performance is about equivalent to a high end dual core ARM processor, scoring over 12000 points in the Antutu benchmarks. Given that the Acer Liquid C1 is priced at just Php12,499, that is a lot of power for the asking price.

Unfortunately, it still runs on an older version of Android, version 4.0, "Ice Cream Sandwich" with a lot of newer phones running on Android version 4.1 or 4.2, Jelly Bean.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sun Cellular is Offering the BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry is facing though time these days. Once the top smartphone maker in the world, BlackBerry is now fighting for survival. BlackBerry's newly release duo of BlackBerry 10 OS phones won't be enough for it to compete with Google's Android and Apple's iOS. BB10 is really about the fight for third place, which is the spot BlackBerry and Microsoft's Windows Phone will be fighting for this year.

In the Philippines at least, BlackBerry is of to a good start. Sun Cellular is also releasing the BlackBerry Z10, which means you will find the device on all three Philippine carriers (Note: Sun Cellular is now a subsidiary of PLDT which also owns Smart Communications).

Sun Cellular is offering the BlackBerry Z10 at Plan 1799 with a 30 month contract. The plan includes unlimited calls and text within the Sun network, 250 SMS to other networks, unlimited land line calls, 60 minutes of IDD calls to 10 countries and unlimited mobile data. Notably, you will not be getting LTE connectivity on Sun's network which is only HSPA capable.

Going back to its battle with Windows Phone, only one carrier is offering a Windows Phone device. Smart Communications is offering the non-LTE version of the HTC Windows Phone 8S. For now, BlackBerry has the jump on Windows Phone in the Philippines in terms of carrier support.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S 4 - Good Enough to Keep the Crown

This morning everyone in the tech scene is covering the new Samsung Galaxy S IV. Samsung itself has created a four minute video which runs down all the new features of its new flagship smartphone.

I am looking at the Samsung Galaxy S 4 in a different perspective. I am in the market for a smartphone this quarter, it probably being the right time to reitre my old faithful HTC Desire HD and move on to a more modern LTE enabled handset.

More images on PCMag

The new Galaxy S 4. looks a lot like last years Samsung Galaxy S III, but it is the more attractive. With a larger 5-inch display fitted in a case which is just as tall, and actually a bit narrower than last years offering you have a smaller bezel all around. The side have been squared off, and the phone is just 7.9 mm thin, 0.7 mm thinner than last years model. All in all, it is a more elegant looking Galaxy S III which is not a bad thing. Samsung has sold upwards of fifty million Galaxy S III's.

The case is made of predominantly of plastic, but I have no qualms about that. Plastic is strong, has good shock resistance, is not prone to scratches and does not interfere with radio signals. Ultimately, whether aluminum, glass or plastic it really does not matter. Everyone I know keeps their touchscreen smartphone in some protective plastic or silicone case anyway.

The Galasy S 4 is runs on the latest version of Android, version 4.2.2 with a TOuchWiz overlay. As expected it comes with a Full HD display. The 5-inch display of the Galaxy S 4 has a 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution with a staggering 441 pixels per inch. The display is also of the Super AMOLED variety which displays deep black and vibrant colors.

Inside, you have 2 GB of RAM and either a quad-core Qualcomm S600 or a octacore Exynos 5 Octa 5410, depending on the market. I would prefer the Qualcomm S600 with its system on chip LTE solution, but most likely we will be getting the Exynos version with a separate LTE chip in the Philippines.

The Galaxy S 4 has three internal storage options, with 16, 32 and 64 GB models. Most likely we will be getting the 16 GB model. Since Samsung still includes a microSD card slot, storage is not an issue. microSD cards up to 64 GB are officially supported.

The camera on the Galaxy S 4 has been upgraded to a 13 MP unit. I am not in favor of cramming more and more pixels in a small sensor, but lets wait for the actual photo quality tests. The Samsung Galaxy S III had the best camera in the Android world in 2012, and if the 13 MP unit on the new on is the same as is good as least years, I would be more than satisfied. The early image samples are promising, images looks sharper and have better low light capabilities as compare to an Apple iPhone 5. A flash and front camera are also provided.

The battery of the Galaxy S 4 has been upgraded to a 2600 mAh unit, which is no doubt to compensate for the higher power consumption of the new phone. This unit is larger than the 2300 mAh unit you find in the HTC One, and the 2330 mAh unit in the Sony Xperia Z. It is also user replaceable, which for me is a big thing.

One reason I have been happy with my HTC Desire HD for so long is because I have been able to replace the battery. It is now happily running like it was when it was new on battery number two. A third battery sits in a drawer and is used when I go on overnight hikes or other trips where a power socket it not easily accessible.

The Galaxy S 4 makes me smile in small ways. My favorite Android keyboard, SwiftKey is built-in. The only thing I do not like about the Galaxy S 4 is the physical Home button.

The Sony Xperia Z, chip set has not yet been released in the Philippines, but with its circa 2012 quad core Qualcomm S4 chip set it is already feeling like an older model.

The HTC One is the phone I really want to like, but it does not seem to offer any feature compelling enough to make me consider it over a Galaxy S 4. While the HTC One has a smaller 4.7-inch display, the phone is not more compact than the Galaxy S 4. The Galaxy S 4 even has the same IR hardware which will allow you to convert your smartphone in a TV a remote control. Most importantly, the HTC one does have a user replaceable battery.

All in all, I think Samsung has done enough to keep the momentum started in 2011 going. The Galaxy S 4 will likely be the top Android handset in 2013, and is enough to make old HTC users like me change camps.

The Galaxy S 4 should be available in the Philippine by late April or early May, on both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications.

One please... in Myst Black.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S IV Leaked Images

With hours to go before the official launch of the Samsung Galaxy S IV, a Chinese website has leaked high resolution images of what purports to be the Galaxy S IV.

You can view a full gallery of the purported Samsung Galaxy S IV pictures at this link. It looks like a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Source: through The Verge

Will All Eyes Be Fixed on the Samsung Galaxy S IV?

In less than twenty-four hours, Samsung will launch its Galaxy S IV. Each version of the Galaxy S series has outsold the previous version, and this model has elevated Samsung to the status of the premier Android handset. 

The Android set. In 2012, HTC got its HTC One X and One S, out of the door a month ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S III launch. For a month, the HTC One X, was the best smartphone in the world. This year, the Samsung Galaxy S IV will be announced even before the HTC One hits the shelves. 

For Sony, things do not look so good to. The Sony Xperia S and SL have been rolling out too slowly to take advantage of its early launch. Ultimately, it is more of a transitional handset, looking more like a last quarter 2012 handset rather than a true 2013 flagship. It is already playing second fiddle to the HTC One, which comes with the newer Qualcomm S600 chipset. It will likely be a third stringer after the Samsung Galaxy S IV is announced. Still, no matter what happens, Sony is in a better position in 2013, than it was in 2011 and 2012. 

LG's release cycle is out of sync with the rest of the Android world, so the Samsung Galaxy S IV will be more of a blueprint on what to target with their next flagship and they will simply lower the price of their LG Optimus G and Nexus 4, and try to steal sales from the Samsung Galaxy Note II with their LG Optimus G Pro over the next six months or so. The LG Optimus G is selling at Php24,490 locally, which should be a good 6K less than the price of the Samsung Galaxy S IV, when it hits the local shelves.

Huawei and ZTE, it is not a day of reckoning, and they would be more concerned with releases of entry and mid-level Samsung units. Things like the Samsung Galaxy Grand is more a cause for concern to them.

Apple. Apple, would also be concerned, but to a much lesser degree. While it sales are less affected by Samsung sales, than Android manufacturers, a truly amazing Samsung Galaxy S IV will slow down sales as people decide to wait for the Apple iPhone 5S or 6. With the Samsung Galaxy S IV launching two months earlier this year, speculation would start to swell around an earlier iPhone 5S or 6 launch.  While I have no empirical data to prove it, with each passing year the ecosystems keep more users staying with what they have. Apple's fate is in its own hands. It would take a disappointing release from Apple, rather than an amazing Samsung Galaxy S IV to cause a significant exodus to Android. Even than, it would be a small one. It would take two successive disappointing releases for iOS to start to crumble. Apple's iPhone is also the only phone that caters to users who want a smaller handset with top of the line features, and in that sense has a nice corner of the market all to itself.

Others. BlackBerry probably has no illusions about breaking into the market in a big way with their BlackBerry Z10 and Q10. BlackBerry would be happy enough if they are able to get existing BlackBerry users to stay with the platform.  Nokia is probably also less concerned with stealing Android and Apple sales, and will be happy enough convincing Nokia buyers to buy Nokia again. 

Game changer? Ultimately, the Samsung Galaxy S III was too successful for the Galaxy S IV to shake things up too much. The competition will be worried, but no matter how good the Samsung Galaxy S IV is, it will not be earth shattering enough, save for one company. It is really HTC who is the most concerned. Should its HTC One, wind up in second place again, it might be the last time it enters this arena.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE E135 (3359-A55)

Thinkpad's sell at a premium price. The Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE E135 with an AMD E2-1800 Accelerated Processing Unit is an example of this. This 11.6-inch laptop has the typical HD (1366 x 768 pixel resolution) display, 2 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, USB 3.0 and HDMI out. The laptop is reasonably light at 3.3 pounds and less than an inch thick. For an operating system you get Windows 8 (64-bit) The inclusion of a 64-bit version of Windows is a nice touch since you can upgrade RAM to 4 GB or more without changing the operating system. 

All this will cost you Php26,900.

For the same money you can get the Windows 8 powered touchscreen 11.6-inch Asus VivoBook X202e with a Intel Core i3 processor. For 3K less, at Php23,990 you can get a 11.6-inch Sony Vaio E which has the almost same specifications as the Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE 135. Is there any reason to select the Thinkpad? 

If you want a touchscreen, the Asus VivoBook X202e is the way to go. The keyboard on that unit has a lot to be desired, but it is bad enough to be a deal breaker for someone who wants a touchscreen. If you don't need a touchscreen, you can get better keyboard with the Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE E135 and the Sony Vaio E.

The keyboard on the Sony Vaio E is a good one, but I still like the keyboard on Lenovo's E-series Thinkpads better. The Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE E135 also comes with a larger battery than the Sony Vaio E. The 6-cell battery on the Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE E135 should give you 5-6 hours of real world use. You can expect only about 4 hours from the Sony Vaio E. The advantages of the Sony Vaio E, are the lower price and more RAM, at 4 GB.

Personally, I really like Lenovo's keyboards. That would make it the better choice for me among the low cost set, despite the high price.

Samsung XE700T1C-H02PH ATIV Smart PC with HSPA+

A few weeks ago I took a look at Samsung's new line of ATIV Smart Tablet PC's. The latest model, the Samsung XE7001C-H02PH ATIV Smart PC puts all the elements of what could define the next generation personal computer.

The Samsung XE7001C-H02PH ATIV Smart PC is composed of three elements:

The Tablet. The core of the Samsung XE7001C-H02PH ATIV Smart PC is a 11.6-inch Full HD (1080 x 1920 pixel resolution) tablet powered by an Intel Core i5 processor with 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD drive for storage. You get USB 3.0, HDMI out via a Micro HDMI port and a SDCard reader. For an operating system, you have the same Windows 8 operating system you have on a desktop. Basically, it is a fairly powerful PC in a tablet form factor.

At the same time, you get all the tablet hardware like a accelerometer, gyro, ambient light sensor, GPS and most notably, this tablet is a 3G tablet with HSPA+ connectivity.  

The Dock. An 11.6-inch tablet is a bit on the large size for a tablet, and weighing in at about 1.9 pounds is not the most comfortable thing to use in hand. But when it is mated to its dock, the large size all makes sense. A larger tablet, means that it mates nicely to a full sized keyboard dock. With the dock, it becomes a reasonably light 11.6-inch 3G capable laptop.

S-Pen. Most Windows 8 apps are designed to be used with a touchpad, and with the dock in place you will likely manipulate this device with the keyboard and touchpad. You may want to use your traditional Windows apps in tablet mode. The buttons and menu's on most Windows PC software are not designed to be manipulated by your finger. To facilitate the use of tradition Windows PC software a stylus, or S-Pen, is included. 

The S-Pen is also useful in graphic manipulation and drawing applications, adding productivity to your traditional Windows PC.

Cost. All this will set you back a hefty Php59,900. A 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 128 GB SSD will cost you less at Php50,990. Still, the additional 9K could be easily justified by the higher resolution display (Full HD vesus HD), the stand alone tablet functionality, the S-Pen and built in 3G. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S IV Teaser Image

Samsung Mobile US has released a teaser image of what I am guessing is the Samsung Galaxy S IV which will be officially announced in less than three days.

The image shows that the phone will follow the rounded counters of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S III. From the outline of the display, this is a picture of the front panel, but oddly enough there is no sign of a earpiece, front facing camera or ambient light sensor.

Well, will find out soon enough.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Microsoft Surface PRO 128GB Now Available

The Microsoft Surface PRO, the full Windows 8 version of Microsoft's Surface Tablet has hit local shelves at Php59,999 sans keyboard. The Php59,999 price does include a pen to manipulate the touchscreen, but getting the nicer Microsoft Surface Type Cover Keyboard will set you back another Php6,999. So the entire package of tablet, pen and keyboard will set Php66,998. 

At that price you get a 10.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display, a Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD. The 128 GB of storage can be expanded via a microSDXC card. This makes it the most powerful, but also the most expensive tablet in the market. But it will run all of your old Windows Vista and 7 apps. 

At this price, I do not expect to see many Surface PRO's to be sold in the Philippines. Still, high end Touchscreen Windows 8 devices are expensive, and this one seems to make more sense than a Acer Aspire S7, Asus Taichi or Sony Vaio 11 Duo. You may want to take a look at the MSI S20 Slider, which at Php49,900 is much cheaper, still the Microsoft Surface PRO is a much more portable device.

Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D-A03PH - 13 inch Macbook Air/Zenbook Killer?

When talk comes around to reasonable priced low cost 13-inch Ultrabooks these days, the discussion often centers around the Apple's MacBook Air and Asus Zenbook. Samsung wants to break into that party, with its Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D. 

The Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D comes in a sleek all metal body which is just 2.49 pounds in weight and 0.52 mm thin. This makes it 0.5 pounds lighter and 0.15 mm thinner than its Apple and Asus competitors. Priced at Php52,900 with a 128 GB SSD, it also shaves a bit off the price, being priced Php3,000 lower than the comparably spec'ed MacBook Air. The price includes a Windows 8 license.

The display is a 13.3-inch, 400nit display with a high resolution 1600 x 900 resolution making it a bit sharper than Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air. The display is also Anti-Reflective which provides better legibility outdoors. The display is not a touchscreen display though.

Inside, you have a sufficiently powerful Intel Core i5 3317U processor with 4 GB of RAM. The package has everything you expect with a Micro-HDMI port, a 3-in-1 card reader and USB 3.0. I do not have any information on battery life yet. 

The thinner aspect of this laptop does not appeal to me too much. But the 2.49 pound weight does. It tips the scales at the same weight as an 11.6-inch MacBook Air. This certainly makes the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D worthy of a long look if you are looking to buy a 13-inch ultraportable.

MSI X370x-E35+5H

I was a bit surprised finding a laptop like the MSI X370x-E35-5H being sold. The reason for the slight sense of shock was the MSI X370x-E35-5H is powered by a two year old AMD E-350 Accelerated Processing Unit. I did not even know AMD was still manufacturing this APU. Being a two year old chipset, it lacks USB 3.0, which is now standard on pretty much all laptops.

Still, despite being based on a two year old unit, with a price of just Php15,995, this laptop might be worth your consideration. The MSI X370x-E35-5H has a 13.4-inch HD display (1366 x 768), which is wrapped in a slim and light. The laptop is less than an inch thin and weighs in a about 3.2 pounds. 

The AMD E-350 APU is powerful enough to let this laptop to play HD content, and even do some light 3D gaming. The MSI X370x-E35-5H comes equipped with 2 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, a card reader and HDMI out.

For Php15,995 this laptop does not come with an operating system.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Why Chrome OS will Morph Into a Full Desktop Operating System

With the release of Google Chromebook Pixel I think we all get the feeling that the Internet giant is looking to make some major improvements to its desktop operating system: Chrome OS. Over time, this operating system which is based on Google Chrome browser and designed to run web apps will have more and more offline capability. 

Over the past year Google has added offline document editing, an offline email client, offline media player and a offline phone editor. The photo editor is rather on the basic side though limiting edits to cropping and rotating images, adjusting brightness and contrast and has a one button auto fix feature.

The next step in the Chrome OS evolution will be to integrate a Quick Office to provide offline document, spreadsheet and presentation creation. Hopefully, a more powerful photo editor is in the works. The Chrome OS Pixlr Editor, which is an online only app would be an excellent choice for an offline photo editor.

 But even when and if all these changes are made, it Chromebook's will still be a niche product for the casual user and for institutions which use Google apps. It won't run the apps and games Windows and Mac users are accustomed too.  

Still the Chrome OS fills a void in the Google ecosystem. For a user whose computing life is centered on a smartphone or tablet, Chromebook's will provide a low cost secondary or tertiary device for those actives where a smartphone or tablet are not the best choices for ergonomic reasons.

Eventually, Google has hinted that it will be merging Android and the Chrome OS. I would think the best way to do this is to simply allow Chrome OS to run Android apps. The touchscreen capability of the Chromebook Pixel is the first sep to such an effort. The 2560 x 1700 display on the Chomebook Prixel is aligned to the 2560 x 1600 display of the Google Nexus 10. Apps built for 10.1-inch tablets, should scale well enough with 11 to 13 inch Pixel type Chromebooks.

Chrome OS with the ability to run Android apps would really start to make Google's desktop operating system a threat to long dominant Microsoft Windows and Office environment.

Why is Google making the move now? Google foray into the operating system arena have been defensive in character. Google lives on revenue from advertising income and its ability to do so is enhance by its web services and browser.

When Apple iOS came with a closed ecosystem, Google unleashed Android. Microsoft's Windows 8 would like to see all apps migrate to the "Metro" interface with these new apps being sold through a Microsoft run app store.  With Microsoft closing the Windows ecosystem. Google will unleash a more capable Chrome OS.

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