Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Looking for a Dropbox compatible file manager for Android? Try OI File Manager.

For the past few months I have been using the Speed Software's free (and ad free) Explorer as my file manager. It is a nice powerful, non-frills file manager. Given that it is the sibling of Speed Software's powerful paid app, Root Explorer it has good genes. 

I use drop box on my phone to view files that I keep on my Dropbox account, which keeps my files on my two computers and smartphone in sync. I have had no problem uploading pictures and audio files to Dropbox, but when I tried to upload a Word document today, I realized that Dropbox needed different file manager as the Dropbox application for Android did not recognize Explorer.

After searching online, I decided to try OpenIntents OI File Manager. This app is free (and ad free) and will allow you to upload any file to Dropbox from your Android device. 

Profile of Philippine mobile phone users

In the Philippines there are approximately 91 million subscribers to cellular phone services.

Number of subscribers per network as of June 2011 (Source):

SMART Communications - 47.84 million
Globe Telecom - 28.42 Million
Sun Cellular - 15 million

Only about 2.6 million are post paid subscribers locked into contracts. Many subscribe to all three networks to be able to take advantage of the latest calls,  text and data promotions. 

Around the Web: Faster internet

PCWorld explains why your internet is faster today. "If you notice faster delivery of Web content today, consider yourself more than just lucky. In fact, you may well be a beneficiary of the Global Internet Speedup, a new, Google-backed effort to speed up the Web around the world."

Thanks Google & Co. :)

It got me thinking how fast Internet has gotten today, especially mobile internet. In 2006, I got a Globe Visibility internet connection from Globe Telecom, which has a maximum theoretical speed of 1.8 Mbps, and would hit 1.4 Mbps.

Globe Visibility Speed test from February 2007, from a Huawei modem on a laptop
Today, I can get those speeds from my mobile phone.

Smart 3G Speed test from August 2011, from a HTC Desire HD
The fastest mobile internet products available today is many time faster than that. SMART Communications has its prepaid only SMART Rocket which promises as mush as 12 Mbps. The SMART Rocket kit, which include a modem and a sim will cost you Php3,995. Use will cost you Php10 per thirty minutes. According to Yugatech, default charging will revert to Php200 per 180MB after September 30, 2011. You can also subscribe to Smart Always On Plans on the Rocket. It is still not clear if you can subscribe to Smart Communications Unlimited plans. Given the plans this would be more suitable for a dedicated mobile connection.

SMART Rocket - 4G HSPA+

Coverage is still limited, and since it is wireless technology, actually speeds may be reduced by obstructions between your device and the 4G tower. A list of the covered areas at this time can be found here.

Globe Tatoo Tonino Lamborghini - 10 Mbps 4G HSPA+

Globe Telecommunications offers its Globe's 10 Mbps Tattoo Tonino Lamborghini. Globe high speed package is a postpaid only plan. You get the sim and modem free for a monthly of Php2,199 under a two year contract. Since the plan is unlimited, I suspect many users may use this as their mobile and home connection. I am not sure if that is a good thing. Five years ago, some Globe Visibility were being used to power internet cafes causing network slowdown. But Globe Telecom has been down this road before so I think they know what they are doing. Mobile Internet from Globe Telecom across all plans tends to cost a bit less than mobile internet from SMART Communications.

How long can you resist before getting a 10 Mbps or faster mobile connection? Pick your own poison, but either way, the faster net is here. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The hidden cost of Apple ownership & AppleCare

Yugatech recently wrote an article about how he damaged the LCD of his newly acquired 2011 MacBook Air. Yuga wrote:

The adaptor of my MBA slipped from my hands and dropped around 7 or 8 inches from the keyboard (near the area where the power button is). Hit the F11 and F12 keys and bounced to the lower right corner of the screen. 
One reader commented:

That’s one disadvantage of getting a Mac. Premium parts and services.

In sum, the MacBook Air's 11.6-inch LCD screen needs to be replaced. Now, this kind of damage can happen to any laptop and warranty's do not cover damage caused by accidents and physical damage so the damaged laptop is not a point against Apple.
But the cost of replacement is. Yuga writes that the LCD replacement will cost between Php25,000 to Php30,000. A friend of mine with a damaged MacBook Pro was quoted a similar price for the damaged screen of his MacBook Pro.
Basically, replacement parts for Apple products cost 2-3x more than their competitors. One way to avoid the high cost of parts is to avail of an AppleCare extended warranty, and AppleCare warranty's are very popular because long time Apple buyers know that repairing their Apple will cost a lot. AppleCare packs will extend your warranty coverage to two years (iPad and IPod) three years (Mac's and displays), and will even cover the wear and tear on the battery once it goes below 50%.

AppleCare coverage is not cheap. Getting one for your Php49,900 11-inch MacBook Air will cost you Php13,490 (adds two years to the warranty). Getting a similar coverage for a Php23,990 iPad to will cost you Php4,190.

AppleCare still wont cover accidental damage, and I doubt whether iPhone owners can wait for their battery to go down to 50%. The high cost of replacement iPhone batteries is what makes external batteries for Apple iPhone so popular. But it does convert your nice slim iPhone into a rather Jurassic looking fat and heavy device. Given the high acquisition cost of an iPhone how much batteries cost these days, it would be nice if Apple offered lower prices on replacement batteries at least.

HTC Sensation @SMART

HTC Sensation. The HTC Desire S is a high end Google Android phone released by HTC in Q2 of this year. With a 4.3-inch 540 x 960 qHD resolution screen, dual core 1.2 GHz processor, Adreno 220 graphics, 768MB of RAM, 1GB of internal memory, a 8MP auto focus read primary camera with a dual-LED flash, 1080p video recording, a VGA front camera and full support for Adobe Flash. The phone was used as the launchad for the new HTC Sense UI 3.0, which I think is the best manufacturer designed user interface for Android, supported by several proprietary HTC apps, it promised to be the best Android phone for Q2 2011. 

Sensation v. Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II - Galaxy S II wins on a contract free purchase. The primary competition for the HTC Sensation is the Galaxy S II, and in this battle the Galaxy S II wins hand down. The HTC Sensation is actually a bit cheaper being sold about Php1.5k less than Galaxy S II, but that price difference is not enough to make up for the Galaxy S II's hardware advantages. The Galaxy S II's Super AMOLED display is the better of the two. The 1GB of RAM and Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Mali-400MP GPU, Exynos chipset makes the Galaxy S II the faster of the two handsets. While the Sensation comes with 1GB of internal memory with a 8GB Micro SD card, the Galaxy S II comes with 16GB of internal memory. This means the Galaxy S II's memory can be expanded all the way to 48GB.
The Sensation is a better deal on a data plan. The Galaxy S II is currently available from Globe Telecom at Plan 2499 on a two year contract (a limited time promo if you apply online), which makes it the best deal postpaid also, well at least if you don't plan to use the phones 3G connection too much. Globe Telecom's Plan 2499 can be bundled with 21 hours of free mobile data, but that really wont let you use a modern Android phone to its full potential. A modern smartphone is really not all that useful without a data plan, so if you plan to invest in one of these phones, you might as well factor in the fact that you will be spending on wireless data. If you want a device to drag around from WiFi hotspot to WiFi hotspot, we would recommend a tablet instead.

With unlimited data added on, the Galaxy S II from Globe Telecom you would now be paying Php3,498 a month. The other option would be to bundle the Globe locked Galaxy S II with 1GB of data a month which would give you a total monthly fee of Php2,998.

With SMART's Data Plan 3000 you can get the HTC Sensation free on a two year contract. Data Plan 3000 gives you 300 minutes of calls and 240 SMS to all networks, and you get unlimited data usage (subject to some restrictions). So while the Samsung Galaxy S II is the clear winner for the cash buyer looking to buy an open line phone, on a carrier subsidized handset, the HTC Sensation could be a better deal.

LG Optimus One P500 gets updated to Gingerbread

 LG Optimus One P500.  LG is rolling out the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) now rolling out for its popular LG Optimus One P500 smartphone. The LG Optimus One has been the best budget phone in the market since its release in November 2010 released at a suggested retail price of Php12,990. Today the Optimus One is being sold for as low as Php9,800. With a 3.2 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display, a 320 x 480 pixel resolution, a 600MHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 170MB of internal storage, and 3.2MP auto focus camera, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, a microUSB port and a built-in GPS transceiver with A-GPS support it is still the best budget Android nine months after release.  

Monday, August 29, 2011


HTC Desire S. The HTC Desire S is a high end Google Android phone released by HTC in Q2 of this year. With mid-sized form factor sporting a 3.7-inch 480 x 800 resolution screen, 1GHz processor, 768MB of RAM, 1.1GB of internal memory, a 5MP auto focus read primary camera with a LED flash, a VGA front camera and full support for Adobe Flash, it HTC's closest direct competitor to the Apple iPhone 4. 

The phone uses HTC Sense UI, which I think is the best manufacturer designed user interface for Android, supported by several proprietary HTC apps. The Sense UI is so popular, it had "copied" by other developers and offered in the Android Market.

The only downer in the package has been the price.

Desire S v. Optimus Black - Optimus Black wins on a contract free purchase. The HTC Desire was regarded by many as the best smartphone of 2010. When the HTC Desire S arrived in the market on the second quarter of this year, it was priced lower than the original price of the original Desire.  But this was not low enough as it was priced 15% higher than other models like the LG Optimus Black P970. The Optimus Black has a larger 4-inch screen, as against the 3.7-inch screen of the Desire S. The screen of the Optimus Black, a 700-nit IPS display is brighter than the S-LCD screen of the Desire S.  The slimmer 9.2 mm thickness of the Optimus Black makes the 11.6mm Desire S feel chunky. The Optimus Black, with 2GB of internal storage has almost twice the storage of the Desire S. The only specification where the Desire S is clearly ahead is in RAM, where it has 768MB versus the 512MB of the Optimus Black.

The lowest price we have found for the Desire S is Php20,400 which is still substantially higher than the LG Optimus Black with an official warranty is Php17,000.

The Desire S is a great deal on a Smart Unlimited Data Plan. The LG Optimus Black is not offered by any local carrier at the present time. SMART Communications offers the HTC Desire S free on a two year contract under SMART's Data Plan 2000. Under this plan, the Desire S is the best deal in the market at this price point. 

A modern smartphone is really not all that useful without a data plan, so if you plan to invest in one of these phones, you might as well factor in the fact that you will be spending on wireless data. If you want a device to drag around from WiFi hotspot to WiFi hotspot, we would recommend a tablet instead.

Data Plan 2000. With SMART's Data Plan 2000 you get 150 minutes of calls and 200 SMS to all networks, and you get unlimited data usage (subject to some restrictions - I recommend you discussed in detail with your SMART Communications agent when applying for the plan). If you look at the comparable phones in the market, the Google Nexus S from Globe Telecom, but that is at Plan 2499 bundled with 21 hours of data.

I use this plan use it to get my email and sync my calendar and contacts using the pre-installed Google apps. I do messaging mainly through the pre-installed GTalk and eBuddy (for Yahoo! Messenger and Facebook Chat) downloaded from the market  ( For social networking I use HTC's proprietary Friend Stream and Peep applications to keep me connected to Twitter and Facebook (it also has support for LinkedIn, Flicker and Plurk). I get weather updates through a HTC app and news through the pre-installed Android app. I get traffic updates using the the locally built Metro Traffic Navigator. Occasionally I surf the web on the browser, and yes make calls and send SMS too. All-in-all not bad for my Php2,000 per month.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Best deal on the Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II?

 Samsung's I9100 Galaxy S II is the best smartphone money can buy these days. Powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Mali-400MP graphics processing unit on the Exynos chipset, it is the fastest smartphone in production. The 4.3-inch 480 x 800 Super AMOLED display combined with a thin 8.5 mm frame combines a large vibrant display with a case the is easy to carry on the hand. With 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, it does not fall short in those department either. 

With a suggested retail price of Php29,900, and available for about 2K less on cash, it is about 15% cheaper than what you would expect to pay for a top of the line handset last year. Still 30K for a phone is a fair amount of cash.

Globe Telecom is offering the Samsung Galaxy S II on a postpaid plan with a two year contract at Plan 3799. That is the same plan that Globe Telecom offers the iPhone 4 for free too. But if you apply for your Globe Telecom line online, the Galaxy S II is available at Plan 2499 on a two year contract.

HTC ChaCha

The HTC ChaCha is a Google Android phone which ships Android 2.3 out of the box. It is a QWERTY messenger phone which combines a physical keyboard with a touchscreen. The display is a small 2.6-inch which has a high 480 x 320 resolution for a screen of this size, so fonts and images on the screen appear very sharp. 

QWERTY messenger form factor. If you are considering this type of phone, that is really the first issue you must resolve. Are you willing to give up screen real estate for a physical QWERT keyboard. Having shifted from a phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard six months ago, I have pretty much concluded that I will never be able to type as fast on a pure touchscreen phone as against one with a good old physical QWERTY keyboard. 

If your main purpose for a phone is calls, SMS, email, instant and social networking, this may be the best choice for you. If web browsing, ebook and document reading, photo editing and playing games is a main concern you are probably better off with a pure touchscreen phone with a larger (at least 3.2 inch) screen. Put simply, Angry Birds wont be as much fun on a 2.6-inch screen.

Hardware. The HTC ChaCha is nicely built with a metal bofy. The phone has a Arm v6 800MHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM. The phone comes with a 2GB MicroSD card, and storage is expandable to 32GB. The hardware is more than sufficient for those who want a phone for voice calls, email and messaging and social networking. Arm v6, means it has limited rather than full flash support in the browser, and as we said earlier it is not really a good gaming platform. "Power users" would be better off looking elsewhere.

The phone has a 5MP auto focus primary camera with a LED flash and secondary VGA camera for voice chat and the like. The camera is decent but nothing to get excited about. Other phone with 5MP cameras, like the Samsung Galaxy Ace and the HTC Wildfire S snap better pictures.

Facebook button. The HTC ChaCha has plenty of character with the trademark Android chin distinguishing from the typical QWERTY phone and a dedicated Facebook button to launch the phone Facebook app on the chin. This is a nice phone from the standpoint of build quality, but no matter what you do, the first thing people will notice if the blue "F" on the body. It tells a lot about the user.

Similar phones. The HTC ChaCha can be found at a price of Php13,500 which puts it in the same price range as other  QWERTY messenger phones like the BlackBerry Curve 3G and is substantially cheaper than Nokia E6. Among these three options the HTC ChaCha is a much better choice than the E6. Hardware wise, it is a better choice than the Curve 3G. The Curve 3G would only be a better choice if you plan to avail of BlackBerry Internet, Messaging or Social Services.

Samsung also has its Galaxy Pro B7510 with similar specifications to the ChaCha and can be found at about 2K lower. The Galaxy Pro B7510 has a lower resolution screen, and its plastic case is less impressive than the HTC ChaCha. Basically, the Galaxy Pro B7510 is cheaper, but the HTC ChaCha is the better build phone. The Facebook button is just another "plus".

If you do want a QWERTY messenger phone, I think this would be the best choice for most users.

Acquisition options. Despite being a nicely build phone the HTC ChaCha is probably going to be a hard sell at its Php13,500. It is not the phone itself, it is QWERTY messengers in general. Most buyers will find the 3.2-inch pure touchscreen form factor of the HTC Wildfire or the 3.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Ace more appealing at this price range.

The HTC ChaCha becomes a really good deal on a postpaid line. SMART Communications is offering this phone free at Data Plan 1000, which gives you 100MB of data, 40 minutes and 100 SMS to all networks. The Wildfire S is offered at Unlimited Data Plan 1500 while the Galaxy Ace is offered by two carries at Plan 1800.

If SMART's Data Plan 1000 fits your need, this becomes a very inexpensive and stylish option for keeping connection to your social networks.

Laptop buying advice: Keyboard selection

 LaptopMag posted an Article entitled "5 Things to Look For in Your Next Notebook Keyboard." Most important is the importance of a good palm rest, where LaptopMag noted "Make sure that both of your wrists fit comfortably on the palm rest. If your hands hang off the edge, your shoulder muscles have to lift the entire weight of your arms as you type, possibly resulting in shoulder pain and injury." Of my two laptops, it looks like one fails in this regard. This is something most of us do not think about when selecting a new laptop, and looks like it is something we  should consider. Ironically, the newer HD 16:9 screen resolutions now almost universally adopted will make getting a a good keyboard harder.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What Apple needs to do with its iPhone 4

Apple iPhone 5 rumors have been running around for months, and the delay of the release of the new phone has only made the rumor mill run harder. I don't think Apple has to do all that much to make its next iPhone a success.
Bigger camera. A 5MP camera just does not cut it anymore these days. The Sony CEO stated several months back that Sony will be building its excellent camera for the next iPhone. Expect at least a 8MP unit.

Larger screen. The iPhone 3.5-inch screen is really starting to look small, but I do not expect Apple to follow the Android manufacturers lead with monster 4.3 to 4.5-inch phones. A nice incremental increase to 3.7 to 4inches would a good step for Apple, giving a larger screen and maintaining the handy size. If Apple built a monster screened iPhone, it would have to release its top of the line product in two sizes, one with a smaller screen. Not everyone finds handling a phone with a larger 4.3 to 4.5-inch comfortable.

Dual core processor. Putting in the same 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU as the iPad 2 will be enough to keep user happy for the next two years. Putting this in a phone the size as the current iPhone will be an amazing technological feat on its own. No one has put a dual core processor in a phone as small as the iPhone.

LTE/4G. Most of the world does not need LTE or 4G yet, but if you are picking up a new phone to keep for two years, I think this in one feature many people will be looking for. If not, it will be deja vu. In 2007 when the iPhone launched without 3G.

SMART's Netphone

SMART Communications is about to release it's Netphone announced in Barcelona, Spains last February, and with it a new set of plans designed around the new phone.

The Netphone is a ZTE Blade, a Google Android 2.2 powered phone which has a 3.5-inch 480 x 800 screen resolution, a 600 MHz ARM 11 processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset and 512MB of RAM and a 3.2 MP auto-focus camera. 

It is being offered on SMART's regular postpaid plans, being offered free at Data Lite Plan 800 with a two year contract. Where the SMART Netphone package really shines is in the prepaid department.

First, the SMART Netphone is being offered for prepaid plans at a price of Php9,900. This pretty much makes it the value for money Smartphone being offered in the market today.

Second, the more interesting thing about the SMART Netphone are the new plans being offered with this phone. For Php999 you get unlimited access to your social networks via Social Stream and unlimited chat through Netphone Messenger and a chat service of your choosing (YM, FB Chat), 1GB of Data for surfing, and 200 minutes of calls and 3500 texts to SMART subscribers. Not bad at all for Php999.
They also offer similarly low priced daily plans for as low as Php10 per day (click on the image for details).

What we cannot say much about are the new services offered with the phone. The phone has its own proprietary messenger and social networking apps, with a global directory which stores your phonebook online under the SmartNet brand. SmartNet looks like SMART is creating a online community. There could be some privacy issues here, but we will have to wait and see.

While we are all interested in the new iPhone and Android Ice Cream phones to be released, the SMART Netphone looks like the most significant release for the Philippine market. A smartphone with an affordable service making it really smart.
You can learn more about the SMART Communications Netphone here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Around the Web: Happy 20th birthday Linux

Linux is now twenty years old. Time flies.

As Linux turns twenty, Linux Girl greats Linux happy 20th birthday in her Linux Insider Blog Safari. PC World, looks at how has Linux become indispensable to our world. OMG!Ubuntu joins in the birthday greetings by looking at where Linux started and how far it has gone. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The perfect Tablet PC

Lenovo has made Tablet PC's for a long time, but their over Php100K prices and their weight made them expensive and a but heavy for something to be carried in hand. I remember when I first saw the X41 Tablet six years ago and have been wanting one ever since. From a practical standpoint it was hard to justify. The Lenovo Thinkpad X41 Tablet weighed in at 3.6 pounds, and with an extended battery that would go up to 4.3 pounds.

Five years later, the same problem still hounds the Tablet PC. The current model Lenovo X220 Tablet weighs in at 3.9 pounds, and that is with a four cell battery. While 3.9 pounds is fine for a laptop it is a bit ungainly for a tablet. Lenovo does have its new light Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, with a detachable keyboard, but I really would prefer one that had a swivel to allow the screen to rotate and fold over the keyboard. I would also like it to have a larger keyboard than the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet.

Cut out some weight. Apple can build an 11.6-inch Intel Core i5 MacBook laptop and bring the weight down to 2.5 pounds. From Lenovo's Tablet PC's converting its ultraportables into a tablet adds about 0.6 pounds. It would seem feasible to built a 11.6-inch X220 Tablet type device at 3 pounds of less.

Starting with the 3.9 pound weight of the X220 Tablet, cutting its 12.5-inch screen to 11.6-inch should result in some reduction in weight. Inside, instead of an Core i5 processor which needs a design that can handle a thermal design point of 35W, I would be happy with AMD Fusion chip which only has a 9W TDP or even better, a dual core ARM processor which will only need a chassis designed to dissipate less than 4W of heat. Instead of a 500GB hard drive, 64GB of flash storage should be enough. What OS? Well if an AMD Fusion machine, than Windows or one of the Linux operating systems. If an ARM machine, Android or Linux. 

So how about it Lenovo? 

Symbian Belle

Symbian Belle, the latest updated to Nokia Symbian S^3 operating system will bring a pull-down notification shade, re-sizable widgets, a one-tap method to add them, a scrolling application list of icons and additional home screens, all in making Symbian OS decided Android looking. 

Copycat or not, it looks good, and one reason I chose Android was that it looks some elements I liked from the Windows Mobile and Symbian interfaces. Now I wonder whether Nokia needs Windows Phone 7 at all. They have brought Symbian to a level where its biggest problem is not the interface, but support since its end-of-life has been announced, and they also have a interesting MeeGo handset.

If Symbian Belle had been ready when the Nokia N8 had been release last year, I suspect things would be very different today.

Testing Smart 3G speeds

When I got my Unlimited Data plan for Smart Communications I was not expecting it to be too fast in general, since I had been using the time based service for several years. It was pretty fast in Makati CBD and The Fort in Taguig, but slower in other areas. I noticed it had become faster as of late, in areas where I am used to getting a average connection speed. So I started doing speed tests using Ookla's for Mobile App and I am pretty impressed with the results.

August 23, 2011 at Starbuck's Aguirre, BF Paranaque:

The test was conducted at 9:05 P.M.

August 25, 2011 at Starbuck's Powerstation, Macapagal, Pasay City:

The test was conducted at 10:39 A.M.

August 25, 2011 at Red Ribbon's, Km. 16 Aguinaldo Highway, Bacoor, Cavite.

The test was conducted at 1:49 P.M.

Steve Jobs steps down as CEO of Apple

The big news today is not some new piece of mobile technology but the resignation of Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple. Mr. Jobs will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Apple.

Apple will go on without Mr. Jobs directing its day to day operations, but the reality is that people like Steve Jobs really cannot be replaced. I new he would be retiring soon, but I thought he would wait till the release of the iPhone 5. I don't want to speculate on this. Every person deserves their privacy.

The impact Mr. Jobs had on the industry cannot be understated. While I always felt that Apple did not cater to developing countries like the Philippines, and if Apple had their way our computers and smartphones would cost more, the innovations brought about by Apple, directly or indirectly, benefitted us all.

The past thirty years has been quite a ride, and it was magical watching you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Globe Telecom use of the Tonino Lamborgini in violation of trademark? reports that the use by Globe Telecom of the Tonino Lamborgini name for its 4G broad band service allegedly infringes on the trademark of an Italian Company name Tonino Lambofghini s.r.l.

Tonino Lambofghini s.r.l. released the following statement:

BOLOGNA, ITALY - (Marketwire - Aug. 23, 2011) - Tonino Lamborghini s.r.l., an Italy-based company which is the sole lawful owner worldwide of the trademark "Tonino Lamborghini" hereunder

wishes to inform its customers that unauthorized people are currently trading online and through Globe stores a "4G Tatto Tonino Lamborghini" broadband stick which is a counterfeited product.

Tonino Lamborghini s.r.l. has never manufactured or authorized anyone to manufacture such a product which constitutes therefore a serious trademark infringement.

Moreover the advertising campaign "Feed your need for speed" featuring Marlon Stockinger, first Filipino to win a formula race in Europe, is deceitful and unlawful since it leads to a serious likelihood of confusion between two different and separate brands and businesses that is to say "Tonino Lamborghini" and "Automobili Lamborghini".

Tonino Lamborghini s.r.l. shall take any legal action to protect the brand.

Yours faithfully,

Dott. Gian Luca Filippi

Tonino Lamborghini s.r.l.

You can read take on the issue here.

Samsung has a new naming scheme for its smartphones

Samsung's naming scheme for it smartphone can get a bit confusing. We know the Galaxy S is the flagship, SL must mean "lesser S", and that you have the three named Ace, Fit and Mini and those who have no names and just have numbers, like the 551 and the 5.

Samsung has come up with a new more rational naming scheme for its Galaxy line of smartphones. The flagship Samsung retains the "S" designation. The next levels are the "R" which is one level lower than "S", and than and the "W". These all considered high end phones. Mid-level phones will be sold under the "M" label while entry level Galaxy phones will be sold under the "Y" label. Those with physical keyboards will be named "Pro". For example "Galaxy M Pro". 

Samsung's upcoming Galaxy M Pro and Galaxy W.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet: Productivity tablet done right

The Android 3.1 Honeycomb Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is now available for sale abroad. I hope this hits Philippine shores. It is the productivity tablet done right. The ThinkPad Tablet has a 1280 x 800 multitouch display, 1GB of memory, front- and rear-facing cameras and a NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor, full sized USB ports and SD card slot. The 16GB model is priced at $499, a 32GB version a 32GB version for $569 and a 64GB option for $669. Basic specs and price-wise, the ThinkPad Tablet is on par with the Apple iPad 2 and its Android competition. Most Android tablets which match iPad pricing do not fare very well, and while the ThinkPad Tablet is targeting a more limited market, I think it will do very well in its target market.

Like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, the ThinkPad Tablet has a detachable keyboard. When not in use the tablet can fold over the keyboard so it can be carried around just like a laptop. You can attach a physical keyboard to the iPad too, but this is designed more like a desktop keyboard and is not as handy to carry around. So if you want a Tablet which can double as a laptop, the Transformer, which has been selling well, and the ThinkPad Tablet are your best bets,

The Transformer is cheaper than the ThinkPad Tablet at US$399, with the keyboard the price is US$549. While the ThinkPad Tablet starts at US$499, with the keyboard it comes in at US$599, reducing the gap to just US$50. You can also add a stylus to your ThinkPad Tablet for another US$30.

The ThinkPad Tablet comes with 25 pre-installed productivity, security and entertainment apps which include includes Good Technology's Good for Enterprise mobile app suite, Cisco AnyConnect secure VPN client, Absolute Software's Computrace Mobile device tracker, DataViz' Documents To Go, Printer Anywhere's PrinterShare and McAfee Mobile Security. This is clearly a tablet target at the mobile professional. 

If you are looking for a tablet, which can also replace your laptop this is the one. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet will not challenge the iPad 2 in sales, and is not designed to be an iPad 2 killer. But for the mobile professional, this looks like the best tablet in the market.

Lower cost Apple iPhone "4" in production?

GSM Arena reports that a cheaper Apple iPhone is under production "with a lower memory capacity and the new 8GB flash drive is being manufactured by an undisclosed Korean company" targeted at emerging markets. The current iPhone 4 has 512MB of RAM, and it seem possible to cut this to as little as 256MB, since the first generation iPad only has that much memory.

No word on whether the cheaper iPhone 4 will retain the current 640 x 960 pixels, 3.5-inch retina diplay of the iPhone 4 or the lower resolution 320 x 480 pixel 3.5 inch screen of the older iPhones. Since the new iPhone 5 (or 4S or some other similar name) will reportedly have a larger screen it seems to make sense that the cheaper iPhone will have a retina display.

How much? The current iPhone sells off contract at a bit over US$600, depending on your location. A new cheaper model should sell at the US$300-400 range. If Apple wanted to create an even lower end model, they could just continue producing the iPhone 3GS.

Android with 480 x 800 screens are now available for as little as Php17,000, and I expect to see it going into lower end phones by later this year or early next year. The lower resolution 320 x 480 pixel resolution will become the standard for Android phone at the Php10,000 range, with the LG Optimus One already available with that specification at that the price.

Acer Iconia Tab W500, 32GB Tablet PC

I got a chance to get a look at the Acer Iconia Tab W500, 32GB Tablet PC. The W500 runs on the AMD Fusion C-50 APU I have seen. The AMD C-50 has a substantially slower processor and weaker graphics than the AMD Fusion E-350 APU. The main advantage of the C-50 is that it only requires a cooling system capable of dissipating a 9W thermal design point ("TDP"), which is half of what 18W TDP requirement of the E-350.

Despite the cool running nature of the AMD Fusion C-50, we have seen it being placed in laptops like the 11.6-inch Acer Aspire One 722, the Asus 1215B and even larger laptop which could easily cool a AMD Fusion E-350.  

With the Acer Iconia Tab W500 we see the best use of the AMD Fusion C-50. It is a mobile device with a 10.1-inch screen, weighing in at just 2.2 pounds, can play HD video (720p easily and 1080p works but not as smoothly as you may like)  and with 4-5 hours of battery life for Php28,990. Sound like a poor mans MacBook Air.

But it is not... 

Unfortunately, the AcerIconiaW500 is a Windows 7 Tablet. I am sure you are asking what is wrong with that?

Balance. Because it is a tablet, the processor, memory, storage and battery are all found in the "lid" making it top heavy when used together with the keyboard. 

Awkward carry. Unlike the Asus Eee Pad Transformer which effectively works like a laptop when you plug the tablet into the keyboard, Acer Iconia Tab W500 does not. You cannot fold the "lid" over the keyboard. Instead all you can do is to detach the keyboard.

This means when carrying around the tablet and the keyboard, they have to be carried around as two separate pieces. 

Using this technology to create the W500, Acer could have made a really nice 11.6-inch ultraportable laptop, instead Acer made a 10.1-inch Windows 7 tablet with a keyboard which just does not feel well thought out. 


- AMD C-Series processor C-50 (1GHz, 1 MB L2 cache, DDR3 1066 MHz, 9 W)
- 2GB DDR3 Memory
- 32GB Storage
- 10.1" HD 1280 x 800 (WXGA) resolution, high-brightness (350-nit) LED-backlit TFT LCD (Capacitive Multi-ouch Technology)
- AMD Radeon HD 6250 Graphics with 256 MB of dedicated system memory
- Acer Crystal Eye for dual cameras
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- HDMI Support
- 2-in-1 Card Reader
- Bundled with Keyboard Dock
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
-Microsoft  Office Starter 2010

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Smart 3G speed test from Starbuck's Aguirre, BF Paranaque

My mobile 3G connection speeds vary. Often times too slow to actually use the web browser, video streaming or downloading. But email, instant messaging, viewing streams and posting to social networks and most apps work fine.

Tonight, while at Starbuck's Aguirre, BF Paranaque, I noticed the connection was pretty zippy, so I tried to find out how fast. Using Ookla's for Mobile App I conducted a speed test. I was very happy with the result.

The test was conducted at 9:04 P.M. 

I have more Smart 3G speed tests here.

October is for "Ice Cream"

We are expect a new Apple iOS 5 touting iPhone in October, but really that will be an anti-climactic released. iOS 5 will bring in Android like notifications and Android like OTA updates, tighter Windows Phone 7 like social networking integration and Cloud computing which has been provided by to many different services to mention. The Apple iPad 2 already gives a good preview of what to expect from the hardware, and will be enough to keep the Apple faithful in tow. More interesting is whether Apple will be making a stab at the mid and lower tier smartphone markets.

What is more interesting in October is the release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream. This will merge the Android 2.x smartphone operating system with the Android 3.x tablet operating system into one unified operating system. Here things are a little more uncertain. The next Nexus phone would seem to have the following specifications, a 4.65-inch 720p (1280 x 720), a 1.5GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM a 16GB or more of internal storage. Hardware wise, this will be the most significant Android phone release since the Google Nexus One. But like the iOS release, this will be anti-climactic too. Think smaller Honeycomb tablet.

What is interesting is what happens to the lower end single core Android's after Ice Cream is released? Will they be doomed to Gingerbread forever? Devices with 3.2-inch screens and small, and 320 x 480 screen resolutions and lower are a large part of the Android market share. What does Ice Cream have in store for these devices.

So, in the case of the iOS and Android, we pretty much have an idea of what the main course will be. I am really more interested in the desert.

September is for Mango

I was expecting a new Apple iPhone in September, but that has been pushed back. Microsoft has been preparing its Windows Phone 7 Mango to be ready before the launch of the iPhone 5, for what I think will be the start of the final assault. The operating system is ready, we are just waiting for the phones.

HTC, which has a long history with Microsoft will be bringing its best foot forward this September. BGR reports that be announcing the HTC Eternity, a Windows Phone 7 Mango device featuring a 3.7-inch display and the HTC Omega with a whopping 4.5-inch screen. The 4.5-inch screen on the Omega is a bit smaller than the rumored 4.7-inch device HTC was preparing for Windows Phone 7. 

Samsung will be releasing two new Windows Phone 7 devices, one probably being similar in specifications to the Galaxy S II. I also expect to see new smartphones from Acer,, Dell,  LG and ZTE Corporation and of course, Nokia.

I expect all the devices to be launched will be targeting the mid and high end segment of the smartphone market. I don't expect to see lower cost Windows Phone 7 Tango devices till 2012.

This is either the start of Windows Phone 7 rise in the market, or the start of the end. We will all find out in a few months.

The car, the pick-up and the truck

More than a year after the Apple iPad's release, with more than 30 million sold, people still question whether the tablet is a practical device. The answer to that is a simple yes.
As the "Personal Computer" has evolved it, has moved from a machine designed for business, to a household device, and now is a personal communication,  entertainment and productivity device.

For years we were stuck with the desktop as our only personal computer, for reasons of cost. The laptop had been around for some time, since the Dulmont Magnum in 1985. But with the entry level model going for US$2,995. That was a lot of money in 1985, and it is still a lot of money today. It was only after the year 2000 that laptops started dropping in price and became available to the regular consumer as an alternative computing choice to the desktop. The tablet now gives you a third choice.

The tablet is the car of the computing world. A good choice to take you around day to day, but with its primary function being people transport. A tablet is useful for someone whose computing needs is mainly web browsing, reading and writing email, note taking, instant messaging, listening to music, basic photo editing, watching movies and playing games. Some in the industry call it the "media" tablet, and that is pretty much correct. A tablet is a great computer for someone who does not use the computer for work. I know many will disagree with this. 

The laptop is the pick-up truck of the computing world. Small enough to be a daily driver, and capable enough to do some serious work. Many people chose a laptop for lack of choice, but if you do not spend much time typing documents, preparing spreadsheets and the like, a keyboard is not all that important. If you don't use a keyboard much, the virtual keyboard of the tablet should be sufficient. You could add a keyboard to a tablet, but than it really just becomes a ARM powered laptop, with a touchscreen and a detachable keyboard.

The desktop is the truck of the PC world. The desktop is still the platform of choice for those who need a computer for a dedicated task, whether that task be a workstation or a hardcore gaming machine. The highest end desktop components still have a little more power than the highest end laptop components.

Which one is best for you? It really depends on your needs. Do you need a car, a pick-up or a tuck?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 16GB WiFi + 3G @Php25,400

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 3G is now available at CMK Cellphone's for just Php25,400 with a official one year Samsung Warranty. Yikes! If you bought the Samsung Galaxy Tab on pre-order during the Samsung Promo for Php26,990, you will be wondering why it is not being offered for Php1,590 cheaper the day after your pre-order pick-up date. Well for Php26,990 on pre-order you do get a free leather sleeve. It better had been a very nice sleeve.

Samsung better get its promo's in order because the way I look at it:

Php25,400 for a SGT 10.1 = Php26,990 for a SGT 10.1 + Sleeve

So basically, there was no "promo" or you might have been better off not availing of the promo.

Anyway, at Php25,400 with 16GB or internal storage and WiFi/3G is Php5,500  cheaper than the Apple iPad 2 WiFi + 3G which sells for Php30,990. 

Globe Telecom's BlackBerry MAX plan

BlackBerry's are primarily desired not for the technological prowess of the phones itself, but the email, instant messaging, web browsing and other internet services which can only be assessed to BlackBerry's.

Data plans for local telecommunications providers pretty much give you now allow users of Android, iOS and Windows devices services similar to what is provided by BlackBerry plans. Globe Telecom has a unlimited Data Plan for phones is at Php999 per month while Sun Cellular has a data plan at Php749 per month. Smart's data plan are part of a call and SMS package, with the data aspect costing you about Php1,200 per month, though this plan comes with some restrictions on use and a 1.5GB cap. 

This made getting a BlackBerry less desirable, since a unlimited BlackBerry plan with full email, instant messaging and web browsing access would cost you Php1,200 per month.

Globe now has a new lower price on its BlackBerry MAX Plan which gives you unlimited web browsing, email, instant messaging, social networking, downloading and streaming at Php599 for 30 days. This gives the BlackBerry the cheapest unlimited data plan in the market. 
This is good news for BlackBerry owners (on Globe anyway, but I suspect Smart and Sun will follow soon with similar offers). If you are looking to buy a phone, this might give you a good enough reason to get a BlackBerry rather than an  Android and iOS device.

Globe Telecom volume based data plans

In response to Smart Communications Always On data plans, Globe Telecom has added volume based data plans under its PowerSurf packages.

Right now the plans are offered as a promo valid until November 15, 2011. Subscribers with Globe Postpaid Plan, My Super Plan, My Fully Loaded Plan, or My Super Circle Plan can avail of this offer except those on Load Tipid Plans, Load Allowance Plans, Globe Broadband Tattoo Plans or My SuperSurf Plans.

Once you subscribe to the service it auto-renews after the expiration date. If you want to unsubscribe you have to text PowerSurf Off to 8888.

You should select the right volume for you. If you consume allocated volume the expiry period, you will be charged the regular Php5 per 15 minutes rate. SMS notifications are sent out to users at 50% and 100% usage.

Plans like this will allow many users to get the full potential from their smartphones. I hope the offer become permanent.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mobile computers: The Desktop Replacement still rules

A recent article on LaptopMags Blog was rather eye opening. The mobile computing world is not as mobile as we think. For the first quarter of 2011, The breakdown of mobile computer sales for the period are as follows: 

Tablets - 13.8%
10-inch netbooks/laptops - 16.3%
11 and 12 inch netbooks/laptops - 4.3%
13 and 14 inch laptops - 27.1%
15 inch laptops - 33.6%
16+ inch laptops - 5%

The world is going more mobile, but not as fast as we think. Better than one in three laptops sold had a 15-inch screen, with another 5% having even larger screens. This is the category of laptops often referred to as desktop replacements typically weight six pounds or more by buyers who do not expect to carry their devices around too much. This is lower than the previous year, so there is a trend towards smaller and lighter.

Q1 2010

15 inch laptops - 35.2%
16+ inch laptops - 8.9%

Total: 44.1%

Q1 2011

15 inch laptops - 33.6%
16+ inch laptops - 5%

Total 38.6%

Netbook sales have slowed down, but not as fast as we think. Sales of 10-inch laptops for Q1 2010 and Q1 2011 were as follows:

Q1 2010 (10 inch netbooks/laptops) - 17.1%
Q1 2011 (10 inch netbooks/laptops) - 16.3%

The real difference is not volume, but price. Netbook prices have been dropping since the introduction of the tablet, which should mean smaller margins for a product that was already producing small profit margins.

Tablets are popular, but mainly in North America. The figures of tablets sold in Quarter 1, 2011 were as follows:

North America - 24.8%
Worldwide - 13.8%

iPads are popular, but mainly in North America. The figures of iPads sold in Quarter 1, 2011 were as follows:

North America - 22.6%
Worldwide - 10.7%

Basically, the exciting new gadgets which are the darlings of tech writers are not as popular and do not sell as well, as old clunky desktop replacements.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Milestone GSM Androids

Wondering why your shiny new droid starts to loose its luster quick, it looks like the Android product life cycle is 6 months or less, while most other gadgets are refreshed on a yearly basis. Here is a look at some of the milestone Android phones for the past three years.


HTC Dream (Released February) - 3.2 inch TFT 320 x 480 screen, 192MB RAM, 528 MHz ARM 11 processor, Adreno 130 GPU and full QWERTY keypad.

HTC Dream (Released June) - 3.2 inch TFT 320 x 480 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 288MB RAM, 528 MHz ARM 11 processor and Adreno 130 GPU.

Motorola Milestone (Released November) - 3.7 inch TFT 480 x 854 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 256MB RAM, ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz, PowerVR SGX530 graphics, and full QWERTY keypad.


Google Nexus One (HTC)(Released January) - 3.7 inch AMOLED 480 x 800 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 512MB RAM, 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm QSD8250 Snapdragon chipset, with four capacitative buttons.

Samsung I9000 Galaxy S (Released June) - 4.0 inch Super AMOLED 480 x 800 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 512MB RAM, 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, and Hummingbird chipset.

HTC Desire HD (Released September) - 4.3 inch TFT 480 x 800 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 768MB RAM, 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU and Qualcomm QSD8255 Snapdragon chipset.

LG Optimus 2X (Released February) - 4.0 inch TFT 480 x 800 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 512MB RAM, Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor and ULP GeForce GPU and Tegra 2 AP20H chipset.

Motorola Atrix (Released April) - 4.0 inch TFT 540 x 960 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 1GB RAM, Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor and ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 AP20H chipset.
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II (Released June) - 4.3 inch Super AMOLED 480 x 800 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 1GB RAM, Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, Mali-400MP GPU, Exynos chipset.

What do we expect before the end of 2011?

The next Android- 4.7 inch Super AMOLED 720 x 1280 screen, Gorilla Glass Display, 1GB RAM and Dual-core 1.5GHz processor.

One day this will slowdown as the platform matures, but right now you can expect the smartphone technology to move at this blistering pace. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The app bubble

A few days ago, I wrote a post entitled "App stores and markets, by the numbers" where I recounted that five months after having gotten an Android phone

"... I have downloaded over 100 apps in five months (some came pre-installed but have updated by me so they count as a download). This  puts me above the iOS user average. I have browsed through maybe 1,500 apps in five months. Lately, I just check the top and trending app charts. I have not seen more than 1% of the apps on the Android Market, and the number I have tried is about 1 app in every 2,500 available.

I have kept 47 of the apps I downloaded, of which 42 came from the Android Market, four from the HTC Hub and one from Gameloft. My biggest source of Apps is from Google itself with twelve of my apps being developed by Google. 

Of my 47 apps, after checking, I really have never used nine of them except to try them a decide that I might need it sometime in the future."

Apparently, my limited use of apps is well above that of the average Android user. Ryan Kim of GiGaom writes:

"Android users have about 250,000 apps to choose from but most have little use for any of them outside the top 50. x x x  the top 10 Android apps account for 43 percent of the time spent on all mobile apps by Android users. And when you look at the top 50 apps, 61 percent of the time spent is on these apps. That means that if you’re an app maker on Android, you’re facing long odds at being used if you’re even in the bottom half of the top 100. And if you’re lost among the rest of the 249,550 apps, good luck getting any usage."

While Ms. Kim has no similar data on Apple users, when you consider that the 2.5 billion US dollars in revenue Apple boast as having paid to its developers, divided among 300,000 apps (the Apple App stores has 425,000 apps but about 20-30% are free), is an average profit to developers of below US$9,000 per app. Some app developers are earning in the millions, so for the rest, lets just say it is not enough to quit your day job.

With everyone getting into it, I wonder if this is the next internet bubble which will burst. Well for many developers at least.

Symbian Anna now available for download (Nokia N8, Nokia C7, Nokia C6-01 and Nokia E7_

Nokia Press Release:

Symbian Anna now available for download

Published August 18, 2011

Espoo, Finland - Symbian Anna - the latest software update for Symbian smartphones - is available for download starting today*.

Symbian Anna significantly enhances the user experience on the Nokia N8, Nokia C7, Nokia C6-01 and Nokia E7. A new user interface, virtual QWERTY keypad in portrait mode, split-screen messaging, enhanced Nokia Maps, better web browsing and stronger security are just a few of the improvements that people will be able to enjoy. Symbian Anna can be downloaded using the latest version of Ovi Suite (version 3.1.1) on a PC, or over-the-air directly to your smartphone**.

"Nokia's Symbian smartphones are used by millions of people around the world every day, addressing specific consumer needs and providing choices at many price points," said Ilari Nurmi, Vice President at Nokia. "Symbian Anna represents a significant update to the experience those users have and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Symbian, which will see up to 10 more phones introduced over the next 12 months, further updates to the user experience and support for the software until at least 2016."

Key features with Symbian Anna:

- User interface: Symbian Anna brings a fresh new look and feel to the Nokia N8, Nokia C7, Nokia C6-01 and Nokia E7 with crisp icons and multiple usability enhancements. Typing on the touchscreen is much easier with a split screen, so you can see message threads, webpages, contacts or email view while typing on the virtual QWERTY keypad - now also available in portrait mode.

- Maps and navigation: Symbian Anna enhances Nokia Maps with better search functionality, new public transportation routes and the ability to check-in to favorite geo-social network sites like Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter

- Browsing: A faster, easier-to-use browser, delivering quicker page loads and improved device navigation allowing people to connect more easily to their favorite sites on the go.

- Better for business: Symbian Anna brings true business-grade security with improved data encryption on Nokia smartphones. Business users with a Nokia N8, Nokia C7, Nokia C6-01 or Nokia E7 can now easily and securely access their company intranet with IPSEC and SSL VPN enablers.

- Near Field Communications (NFC): The Symbian Anna software update also activates the NFC hardware in the Nokia C7, so people can now simply tap their Nokia C7s together to share contacts, photos, videos and play games; easily pair with NFC-enabled accessories from Nokia and others; and read NFC tags to check-in and more

*The precise rollout schedule of the Symbian Anna software update varies from market to market.

**Method of delivery of the software update differs from market to market and operator to operator.

Almalence HDR Camera and HDR Camera+ for Android

Having a wide range of light intensity like bright lights, back lighting,  reflecting light and shaded areas is really a problem for photographers. Much more when your tool is mobile phone camera with limited settings. HDR technology allows you to capture details in bright and dark areas and have them merged in a single photo, balancing the bright and light areas. This is done by taking several differently exposed images in series, which are than aligned and merged. 

Almalence has a free Android app called HDR Camera, and a paid version (US$2.99) called HDR Camera+. The free version has a nag screen which can be disabled for US$1.99. 

Basically, this is what it can do:

Picture with the default camera app. All those light sources are a nightmare.
Same shot, with HDR Camera.

The free HDR Camera app has the following features:

- Full resolution
- Take HDR image in one tap
- HDR image fused and tone-mapped on device within seconds
- Don't have to be rock-solid while shooting
- Correct handling of moving objects and de-ghosting
- You can control tone-mapping parameters: contrast, micro-contrast, color vividness, exposure
- Save original exposure bracketed images

The paid HDR Camera+ app adds the following features:

- Location tagging
- Shutter sound can be muted
- Support for Flash on/off/auto

With free and paid versions available, there really is no reason not to have it in your phones application arsenal.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The rumours of Nokia's death have been somewhat premature

While it has been widely reported that Apple and Samsung are now the No. 1 and 2 in the smartphone world, that is only true if you count units shipped. If you look at units sold in the second quarter of 2011, Nokia is still number 1. Fox Business reported that "Gartner, which counts sales of mobile handsets to end users rather than units shipped by individual handset makers, said Nokia sold a total of 97.87 million units in the second quarter compared with 111.47 million units a year earlier, and had a total market share of 22.8%, down from 30.3%"

With the impending shift to Windows Phone 7, Nokia re-seller channels are keeping stocks low and trying to sell existing stock. Microsoft which looks panicky about its Windows Phone 7 operating system and seems to clings to every bit of news as some sign of a future for its mobile operating system should really just be pushing Nokia to get its Windows Phone 7 devices out the door. 

Something not realized by plenty of technology writers based in the United States, where Nokia has about a 2% share is that in Asia and some other parts of the world, the name Nokia is a trusted brand and could boost Windows Phone 7 sales.

Each day of delay in the release of a Windows Phone 7 device by Nokia risks the migration of a existing Nokia user to another platform.

Price point.
A Windows Phone 7 device today still cost a fair amount of money. You can always find grey market units for lower prices, but the cheapest Windows Phone 7 device we found in the Philippines with an official warranty is HTC 7 Mozart, which is now retailing for just under Php20,000. Nokia S60 smarthpones today start at around Php6K. If Nokia can manufacture and sell Windows Phone devices at substantially the lower price points remains to be seen, but a variant of the Windows Phone 7 operating system, called "Tango" is design to do just that.
If Nokia can hand Microsoft a 10% share of the smartphone market when it fully migrates to Windows Phone 7 devices by the second or third quarter of 2012, that will be more than enough. Apple's iOS operating system smartphone operating system has a 18.2% market share for the first two quarters of 2011, while Smartphones running Google;s Android operating system only had a 17.2% in 2010. In other words, 10% is not a bad start (Source: Gartner cited by Fox Business). The only  question is, whether Nokia can use it name to get Microsoft back into the smartphone game.

When? "So just when will Nokia take delivery of their first Windows Phone smartphones? Well apparently Nokia Windows Phone devices are being manufactured by Taiwanese firm Compal and the latest word is that Compal will begin delivering Windows Phone handset to Nokia sometime in September" (Source: Phones Review).

How many? Even when the Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices start shipping, which sold almost 100 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2011, appears to have only ordered 2 million Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices (Source: Phones Review). That is not a lot.

Too little too late? I think we will have to wait for the end of the first quarter of 2012 to find out where this is going, by than Nokia will be knee deep in Windows Phone 7 devices or will be headed to becoming a full time feature phone maker.

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