Friday, December 30, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Nexus coming to Smart Communications

Smart Communications has announced that it is adding the Samsung Galaxy Nexus to its list of smartphones this January. Smart already has one on display at their Jump Center at Megamall.

The Galaxy Nexus was launched by Google and Samsung as the first Android 4.0 device. It features a curved 4.65-inch HD (720 x 1280) display, a buttonless interface, dual core processor and 16GB of internal storage. The Galaxy Nexus is the reference design for future Android smartphones.

Still no word on pricing and plan availability.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to get more free space from Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud computing service which can sync files between Windows, Mac OSX and Linux personal computers, and make those files retrievable from Android, iOS or BlackBerry device or any web browser.

Dropbox gives you 2 GB of online storage free, and you can earn up to 8 GB more by making referrals at the rate of 250 MB per successful referral. If someone referred you to Dropbox you both get an additional 250 MB. You can also buy more online storage. 

There is another way to earn more storage from Dropbox. You can complete some Twitter and Facebook related tasks and earn another 640 MB of storage at this link.

All in all, you can get 10.6 GB of free cross-platform online storage from Dropbox. Here is a link to the Dropbox website. Give it a look.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Note offered at Smart Data Plan 2000

Smart Communications is offering the Samsung Galaxy Note free at Data Plan 2000. The Galaxy Note is an Android-powered mobile phone (or a tablet with phone functionality) with a giant 5.3-inch 800 x 1280, a dual-core 1.4GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor with Mali-400MP graphics, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a 2500 mAh battery. The Samsung Galaxy Note also comes with a stylus. Apparently, this promo has been quietly running since December 19, 2011 and runs until December 31, 2011. I say quietly, since I only found out about this promo from a thread in TipidCP, a local mobile phone forum and online marketplace.

I confirmed the promo with @SMARTCares on Twitter, and they did confirm the Samsung Galaxy Note is being offered at Data Plan 2000, but did not confirm whether or not the promo is ending on December 31, 2011. 

If you have been wanting one of these devices, Data Plan 2000 is a very good option for getting one given that it retails for at least Php31,000 in the market. It would be best to apply for one before the end of the year.

3G tablet shootout: Apple iPad 2 WiFi+ 3G (16 GB) versus the Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

The Apple iPad 2 is the tablet to beat, starting at Php30,990 for the 3G capable model. With 16 GB of memory it is a bit expensive, but when you look at the competition it is reasonably priced. Since Samsung did not release a 16 GB model of its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the cheapest Galaxy Tab 10.1 with 3G and a 32GB of internal storage cost a bit more than the iPad 2 WiFi+ 3G 16 GB. 

Apple iPad 2

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 with a 8.9-inch screen, 3G and 16GB of memory could be had for about Php29,900. It has added phone functionality which would make it a better choice than the iPad 2 for some. Still, with the Apple iPad 2 and its 100,000 dedicated iPad apps just 2K away, the iPad 2 is the more tempting device.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Plus 7.0
Samsung has released another Galaxy Tab. This one is the successor of its original tablet Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. It is priced at a point that will give tablet buyers reason to pause and think.

Price.  Samsung's P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus offering is priced all of 7K below the Apple iPad 2 3G.
  • Apple iPad 2 WiFi+ 3G (16GB) - Php30,990
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (WiFi and 3G, 16GB) - Php23,990

Screen size is an important issue. The Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has a smaller 7-inch screen versus the 9.7-inch screen of the Apple iPad 2. Physically, it is half the size.
  • Apple iPad 2 - 9.7-inch -(768 x 1024)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus - 7-inch (600 x 1024)

If you are looking for a larger screen, the Apple iPad 2 is the better choice. If you are looking for the more portable unit, the Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 is much easier to lug around.

Physical size and weight. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is almost half the size and weight of Apple iPad 2.
  • Apple iPad 2 - 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm, 607 g
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus - 193.7 x 122.4 x 9.9 mm, 345 g

Storage. The Apple iPad 2 comes with 16 GB of non-expandable memory. For Php35,990 you can get a 32 GB model. For Php40,990 you can get one with 64 GB of storage. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has 16 GB of internal storage expandable to 80Gb via MicroSD card.
  • Apple iPad 2 @Php30,990 - 16GB
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus - 16GB expandable to 80Gb via MicroSD card.

Connectivity. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has the edge in 3G speeds.
  • Apple iPad 2  - WiFi, HSDPA 14.4 Mbps
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus - WiFi, HSDPA+ 21.1 Mbps, Bluetooth file transfer.

Video. Nothing too exciting here.
  • Apple iPad 2  - 720p
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus - 720p

  • Apple iPad 2 - iCloud, Facetime
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus -Full GSM phone functionality (call and text). Paid apps are offered free at the Samsung Hub.

Which one is better? Both of these tablets are fast modern dual core tablets. Yet, the two are so different that a user will really pick based on size. I think the Apple iPad 2 is the best large tablet on the market, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus is the best mid-sized tablet on the market.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gameloft Android Market Promo

Gameloft, a well known developer of games for Android and iOS, has announced that it will be offering discounts on all of its games on the Android Market. The games will reportedly be offered at a discounted price of 99 cents. This means you can get games like Modern Combat: Fallen Nation which regularly sells for Php305 for as low as Php44.

Gameloft will announce the beginning of the discount on both Facebook and Twitter.

December 30 Update: The promo has started.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Android users are from Mars, iPhone users from Venus...

From the top 150 apps downloaded on each platform in November 2011, non-gaming apps on Android generated 91.5 million downloads in November compared to 33.4 million for games. On the iPhone, game downloads in November 2011 totaled 71.6 million while other apps received 25.6 million downloads.

Games accounted for 27% of the downloads from the Android market while games accounted for a whopping 74% of the downloads from the iOS App Store. 

The top publishers of Android apps were Google and Facebook, while the top publishers of iPhone apps were Glu Mobile and Gameloft, with Google and Facebook not coming in the top 25.

There are many ways to interpret this data, but it does look like in addition to phone functions, Android owners are more likely to use their devices for social networking while iPhone owners are more likely to use their devices as mobile gaming platforms.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Flagship smartphones on Smart Communications

Postpaid. Smart Communications offers the lowest prices on Apple's iPhone 4S for prepaid subscribers starting at Php33,200 for the 16GB iPhone 4S. As compared to Globe Telecom, Smart prices are 4-7K cheaper for a prepaid kit.

If you are looking for a top end Android though, you are better off buying one unlocked rather than getting one from Smart. Take for instance Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Sensation XE,  HTC EVO 3D and HTC Sensation. All these phones are 4.3-inch Android phones running on dual core processors. They will cost you at least Php6,000 less than an iPhone 4S. 

So despite Smart lowering the bar on iPhone pricing, the iPhone is still not a great bang for the buck proposition prepaid.

@Data Plan 3000. Smart has very interesting offering at Data Plan 3000. Data Plan 3000 gives you the following:
  • 300 minutes calls to all networks
  • 240 SMS to all networks
  • Unlimited data
While Smart All-In Plan 2500 is actually a better plan, getting a Data Plan 3000 is tempting because of the devices Smart bundles in with this plan. You can get a Samsung Galaxy Note or Apple iPhone 4S 32GB free at this plan.

The Samsung Galaxy note is a massive Android phone or small tablet with phone function depending on how you look at it. It has a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED HD 800 x 1280 display. Inside it has 1GHz of RAM, a dual core 1.4GHz A9 processor and Mali 400MP graphics which makes it the biggest and baddest Smartphone in the Philippines. It has an 8MP camera. For storage it comes with 16GB of internal storage  expandable to 48GB via a MicroSD card and even comes with a stylus.

If you are okay with the size, it is one amazing device and is more powerful than even the much publicized Google/Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

But the Galaxy Note is a love-it-or-hate-it device. 5.3-inches is just too big for me as a phone (I use a 4.3-inch HTC Desire HD). On the other hand, if you like making calls with a Bluetooth headset, this could be the best device on the market.

The other option, the iPhone 4S needs no introduction. It is a fast dual core phone with an excellent camera and excellent high resolution display. The only spoiler in our opinion is the small 3.5-inch screen. Still, it is a very handy phone, and if you like this size, it is the best smartphone at 3.5-inch more or less.

@Plan 2500/2499. Smart Communications' best plans are its new All-In Plans. At All-In Plan 2500, you can bundle unlimited calls to other Smart mobiles, 2000 SMS to all networks, and unlimited data. The best Android-powered device offered free (with a two year lock-in) at All-In Plan 2500 is the HTC Sensation. Smart also offers the Windows-powered HTC Mozart at All-In Plan 2500. This is the way we recommend you configure your All-In Plan 2500:
  • Unlimited calls within the Smart network
  • 2,500 SMS to all networks
  • Unlimited data
  • Php650 consumable for calls to other networks, NDD and IDD calls and SMS over 2,000 a month.
Smart offers the iPhone 4S 16GB at a similarly priced plan, the Smart iPhone Plan 2499 which gives you the following:
  • 300 minutes calls to all networks
  • 300 SMS to all networks
  • 1 GB of Data
The biggest downer in this plan is the cap on data at 1 GB. For the iPhone 4S to take full advantage of iCloud and Siri, unlimited data is a must.

At around Php2,500 for a monthly plan we would recommend getting the HTC Sensation instead with unlimited data and the ability to fire away 2,500 SMS a month. It is a good phone with a large 540 x 960 display and a dual core processor. It is not the best Android available, but it is good enough.

@Data Plan 2000. At Data Plan 2000, Smart offers the HTC Sensation XE, an upgraded version of the HTC Sensation with a faster 1.5GHz dual core processor, a larger battery and Beats earphones. Another option at this price point is the Nokia N9.

This 3.9-inch touchscreen phone runs on the MeeGo operating system and its novelty is that it has no hardware buttons, which is now also the course taken by the latest version of Android. With a 1GHz processor a single core processor this phone is really more of a mid-level offering, but it is Nokia's flagship phone in the Philippines until the Windows Phone-powered Nokia 800 hits local shores.

You can also get an iPhone 4S 16 GB at Data Plan 2000 for just Php2,500 cash out.

@Lower plans. Smart also offers the iPhone 4S 16GB at lower plans but these plans do not make much sense. If you get the iPhone 4S at Data Plan 1500, you cash out Php12,500 for the phone. At Plan 999 you cash out Php999 a month for 24 months for the iPhone 4S 16GB.

  • iPhone 4S 16GB @Data Plan 2000 - (Php2,000 x 24 months) + Php2,500 cash out = Php50,500
  • iPhone 4S 16GB @Data Plan 1500 - (Php1,500 x 24 months) + Php12,500 cash out = Php48,500
  • iPhone 4S 16GB @ Plan 999 - (Php999 x 24 months) + (Php999 x 24 months) = Php47,952
Might as well pay more for the plan (and get to use the Phone more) than pay more for the phone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

Samsung has released a successor to its popular (at least locally) Samsung P1000 Galaxy Tab. The P1000 Galaxy Tab was Samsung's first tablet which ran on Android and sported a 7-inch screen, 1GHz processor and phone functionality. The new P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is an updated version of the original.

The Good. The P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has received the expected speed bump with a dual core 1.2GHz processor and Mali-400 graphics. The new Tab is 20% thinner (9.9 mm) and 10% (345 g) lighter than the previous model. It also supports HSDPA 21.1+ connectivity, whereas last year's model only came with an HSDPA 7.2 Mbps chip. The new P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus also runs on Android 3.2, a tablet OS, unlike the previous model which runs on a phone operating system.

Internal storage is still 16GB, but it now supports up to 64GB MicroSD cards which can give you a full 80 GB of internal storage.

The bad. Unfortunately, you do not get a new HD screen with the Galaxy Tab. Unlike other Android tablets which have 800 x 1280 displays, the P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has the same 600 x 1024 display of the previous model.

Also despite having a dual core processor, video capture is listed as being limited to 720p instead of the 1080p most dual core devices are capable of.

The other specifications are similar to last year's model, with a 3.2 MP primary camera, 1.3 secondary camera and a 4000 mAh battery.

Price. At Php23,900 it is priced at the same level as a 16GB WiFi only version of the Apple iPad 2 or a BlackBerry PlayBook, which makes the P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus a rather reasonable choice since you do get 3G connectivity and full phone functionality with it.

The only real let down in the screen resolution, but then again the larger 9.7-inch iPad 2 "only" has a 768 x 1024 resolution and the PlayBook has the same 600 x 1024 resolution, and many people (myself included) are satisfied enough with that.

What would be really nice is if Samsung released a lower cost WiFi only version of this device without phone functionality.

Flagship smartphones on Globe Telecom

Globe Telecom offers the two best smartphones in the Philippine market. Globe has Apples iPhone 4S and Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II. While the Galaxy S II is no longer Samsung top phone, that spot being taken over by the Galaxy Nexus, it is still a formidable smartphone.

Prepaid. If you are opting for the prepaid route, Globe offers the iPhone 4S at the following prices:
  • 16GB: Php 37,690
  • 32GB: Php 43,490
  • 64GB: Php 49,290

Globe does not offer the Galaxy S II on a prepaid kit, so if you want one for use on the Globe network, your best bet is to get one from an authorized dealer. The Galaxy S II can be had for Php26,500 with an official one year warranty. This puts the Galaxy S II all of 11K cheaper than the iPhone 4S. You can get unlocked iPhone 4S units from the grey market for about Php34,000, but this means foregoing the manufacturer warranty.

I wont waste your time if you are looking to go the prepaid route. The Galaxy S II is a much better choice.

Postpaid @Plan 2499. Postpaid is where is gets interesting. Both the iPhone 4S 16GB and the Galaxy S II can be had free at Plan 2499. 

Which one is best for you. Comparing the iPhone 4S with the Galaxy S II is like comparing apple with oranges, or in this case iOS with Android. The two phones have different operating systems and different app stores. Suffice it to say that in their ecosystems both the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II are fast enough to run any app made for their operating system and both app stores have more apps than you need.

Display size and physical size. The Galaxy S II has a larger 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen. The iPhone 4S has a relatively small by present standard 3.5-inch display, but it does have 640 x 960 screen. But phones have excellent displays and in that will probably be a buyers primary consideration in deciding between these two options.

With the increasing functionality of smartphones today, a larger screen is better. It allows for better surfing, gaming and eBook reading experiance. Less squinting basically. For some the the 66.1 mm wide Galaxy S II may be a bit too wide for their hands to comfortable manipulate the entire screen with one hand.

Basically, with the phone in hand, you should be able to sweep your thumb across the entire display and reach the corners of the screen. If you cannot, it is probably a bit too big for one handed operation and that may make the iPhone 4S with its narrower 58.6 mm case for some, more comfortable to use.

The Galaxy S II is actually the thinner and lighter of the two phones at 8.5 mm think and 116 grams in weight. The iPhone 4S is ticker at 9.3 mm and weighs more at 140 grams. Best bet is to try each out in your hand.

HSDPA connectivity. When it comes to data connection speeds, the Galaxy S II is the clear winner, supporting HSDPA+ 21.1 Mbps connectivity, which is what Globe is rolling out these days. The iPhone 4S uses last years technology and only supports HSPDA 14.4 Mbps speeds.

Storage. The iPhone 4S comes in three models with 16, 32 and 64 GB options. The locally available Galaxy S II comes with 16GB of internal storage expandable to 48 GB via a MicroSD card. Upgrading to a 32 GB iPhone 4S will only cost another Php4,800 cash on Plan 2499 which is not all that much more than the cost of a good 32GB SD card. Upgrading to a 64 GB model will set you back Php10,080 at Plan 2499.

If you need more storage, up to 48GB, the Galaxy S II can provide your more storage for a lower price. 

Higher plans. At higher plans like Plan 3799 you get the the iPhone 4S 32 GB free. There is no upgraded Galaxy S II for higher plans. But higher plans are not all that good these days. A iPhone 4S or Galaxy  S II at plan Plan 2499 plus adds ons like unlimited Globe-to-Globe calls and text will cost less and offer more utility at a much lower price than getting a phone at Plan 3799. If you want more storage on the iPhone 4S, pay more cash out and forget get it on a lower plan.

Lower plans. At plans below Plan 2499 you will get better deals on the iPhone 4S. Unless Globe has revised its Galaxy S II plans, the iPhone 4S 16 GB is can be had for Php4,800 at Plan 1799. The Galaxy S II is an almost 16K cash out proposition at Plan 1799.

Best choice? Pricing plays a big part. Prepiad, the Galaxy S II is a much better choice. Postpaid on lower plans, the iPhone 4S looks more tempting.

At Plan 2499, well it is a hardware decision. It depends on the whether you want the bigger phone or the smaller one. If you are used to 4 to 5 inch large phones you really wont be happy with a 3.5 inch screen. One the other hand, if you want a handier package, you may find that the 4.3-inch Galaxy S II is a bit bigger than is comfortable.

Oh, I forgot about Globe BlackBerrys... I suggest you do too until BlackBerry 10 comes out later in 2012 :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

700,000 Androids Activated Daily

Android gets bigger

GSMArena reports that 700,000 Android devices are now activated daily. Google only counts a device once and if it connects to a wireless service provider. No mention was made about Wi-Fi only devices or those that have been running on multiple custom ROMs.

This is up from 400,000 in May 2011. At this rate, Android should hit a million activations per day in the first quarter of 2012, unless Apple or Microsoft manage to cripple it through litigation.

Samsung i9250 Galaxy Nexus

WidgetCity has listed the Samsung i9250 Galaxy Nexus in their mobile phone offerings. 

Multitasking on Android 4.0

The Galaxy Nexus is the template for next generation Android phones. It introduces a new operating system, which fully takes advantage of multi-core processor technology and merges the Android phone operating system with the tablet operating system. It does this mainly by providing for a scalable interface that can be configured to work on smaller phone screens, mid-sized tablets and the larger 10.1-inch tablets.

Hardware wise, it also officially introduced a new format for Android phone displays moving from the 16:10 to 16:9 aspect ratio used for most Android tablets. Several previous Android phones have already moved to the 16:9 aspect ratio like the Motorola Atrix and HTC Sensation. In addition to the new ratio, the Nexus line moves from the 480 x 800 screens they have been using for the past two years to a higher resolution 720 x 1280 screen.

Another change is the absence of physical buttons. Instead of having physical buttons, the controls are now all on the screen. A larger 4.65-inch display is used to accommodate the buttons. 

Other than those changes it is not really all that different from the Samsung Galaxy S II released six months ago. Like the Galaxy S II, it has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The Galaxy Nexus is powered by dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 with PowerVR SGX540 graphics on a TI OMAP 4460 chipset which is not really more powerful than the dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9  and Mali-400MP combo on the Orion chipset found in the Galaxy S II.

Like the Galaxy S II, the Galaxy Nexus supports the HSDPA+ 21.1 Mbps standard. This still is notable since its primary competitors, the Apple iPhone 4S and HTC Sensation XE still use the older HSDPA 14.4 Mbps standard. Since both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications are rolling out HSDPA+ 21.1 Mbps networks, this is something to consider.

Unlike the Galaxy S II, the Galaxy Nexus does not come with an SD Card slot, so storage is limited to 16GB while the Galaxy S II can be expanded to up to 48GB. The camera on the Galaxy Nexus is a 5MP unit rather than the 8MP unit found in the Galaxy S II.

Why all the comparisons with the Galaxy S II? Well it is because you can get a Galaxy S II for Php26,500 with an official Samsung Warranty, while the Galaxy Nexus is being sold at Php34,500 with a service warranty. If you want to be an early adopter, it is going to cost you a bit. There really is no reason for this phone to cost more than the Php31,000 Samsung Galaxy Note with its 5.3-inch 800 x 1280 screen.

It is an amazing phone, but I do expect to see it south of Php30,000 with an official warranty in a month or  two.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Globe iPhone 64GB 4S versus the Smart iPhone 64GB 4S - Postpaid options

We already compared Apple iPhone 4S postpaid plans for the 16GB model and the 32GB model. For the 64GB model, only Smart Communications offers it free on postpaid plans.

@Smart Data Plan 4000. Smart offers the iPhone 4S 64GB at its Data Plan 4000, which includes the following in the plan:
  • 400 minutes calls to all networks
  • 300 SMS to all networks
  • Unlimited data
Basically, this is a Php96,000 commitment over a period of two years.

If you won't fully utilize this particular plan, you may consider a lower Data Plan, like Smart Data Plan 1500, Data Plan 2000, Data Plan 3000, iPhone Plan 2499 or Plan 999 which will require you to pay some cash to get the iPhone 4S 64GB.

Data Plan 4000 
Cash out: Php0
Two year commitment: Php96,000

Data Plan 3000 
Cash out: Php5,000
Two year commitment: Php77,000

iPhone Plan 2499
Cash out: Php400/mo. over two years (Php9,600)
Two year commitment: Php69,576

Data Plan 2000
Cash out: Php12,000
Two year commitment: Php60,000

Data Plan 1500
Cash out: Php22,500
Two year commitment: Php58,500

Plan 999
Cash out: Php1,200/mo. over two years (Php28,800)
Two year commitment: Php57,576

If you are getting an iPhone 4S, the 64GB model looks like a better choice than the 32GB model.

@Globe Plan 3799. Globe does not offer the 64GB iPhone free at Plan 3799, but only requires a reasonable Php4,800 cash out. Plan 3799 includes the following:
  • Php2800 consumable
  • Unlimited data
  • 7 freebies 
A: 10 mins of calls & 200 SMS to Globe/TM
B: 5 mins of call & 25 SMS to other networks
C: 10 mins IDD & 10SMS to 10 international destination
E: Unlimited Call & Text to 1 Globe/TM number
This is a higher commitment of Php96,776 over two years.

You can also add cash to a lower plan.

Plan 3799
Cash out: Php4,800
Two year commitment: Php96,776

Plan 2499
Cash out: Php10,080
Two year commitment: Php70,056

Plan 1799
Cash out: 15,096
Two year commitment: Php58,272

Like the Smart offerings, the additional cash out for a 64GB iPhone seems to be worth it. Especially given that the phone's internal storage is not expandable.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Globe iPhone 32GB 4S versus the Smart iPhone 32GB 4S - Postpaid options

We already compared Apple iPhone 4S postpaid plans for the 16GB model at this link. Both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications offer the 32GB model free on postpaid plans.

@Smart Data Plan 3000. Smart offers the iPhone 4S 32GB at its Data Plan 3000, which includes the following in the plan:
  • 300 minutes calls to all networks
  • 240 SMS to all networks
  • Unlimited data
Basically, this is a Php72,000 commitment over a period of two years.

If you won't fully utilize this plan, you may consider a lower Data Plan, like Smart Data Plan 1500, Data Plan 2000, iPhone Plan 2499 or Plan 999 which will require you to pay some cash to get the iPhone 4S 32GB.

Data Plan 3000 
Cash out: Php0
Two year commitment: Php72,000

iPhone Plan 2499
Cash out: Php200 mo. over two years (Php4,800)
Two year commitment: Php64,776

Data Plan 2000
Cash out: Php8,000
Two year commitment: Php56,000

Data Plan 1500
Cash out: Php17,500
Two year commitment: Php53,500

Plan 999
Cash out: Php1,200 mo. over two years (Php28,800)
Two year commitment: Php52,776

If you look at this comparison, getting a 32GB iPhone 4S at Data Plan 1500 or Plan 999 are not good deals. If you want an iPhone 4S 32GB, start at Data Plan 2000.

@Globe Plan 3799. Globe does not have a plan to match Smart's Data Plan 3000 but offers the iPhone at a higher plan, Plan 3799 includes the following:
  • Php2800 consumable
  • Unlimited data
  • 7 freebies 
A: 10 mins of calls & 200 SMS to Globe/TM
B: 5 mins of call & 25 SMS to other networks
C: 10 mins IDD & 10SMS to 10 international destination
E: Unlimited Call & Text to 1 Globe/TM number
This is a higher commitment of Php91,976 over two years. If you are considering this plan, you might want to take a look at Smart Data Plan 4000 which comes bundled with a iPhone 4S 64GB phone instead.

You can also add cash to a lower plan.

Plan 3799
Cash out: Php0
Two year commitment: Php91,976

Plan 2499
Cash out: Php4800
Two year commitment: Php64,776

Plan 1799
Cash out: 10,080
Two year commitment: Php53,256

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Globe iPhone 16GB 4S versus the Smart iPhone 16GB 4S - Postpaid options

Both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications have conjured up numerous plan options to get you an Apple iPhone 4S on a postpaid plan. Both companies' offerings are more extensive than they have done on any previous phone. In comparing the two, it is best to take it slow. This article compares Globe and Smarts plans for the iPhone 4S 16GB variant.

@Plan 2499. Both Globe and Smart offer the iPhone 4S 16GB free at Plan 2499. Globe Telecom offers it under its regular Plan 2499 Data Plan.

Globe Plan 2499

  • Php1500 consumable
  • Unlimited data
  • 5 freebies 
A: 10 mins of calls & 200 SMS to Globe/TM
B: 5 mins of call & 25 SMS to other networks
C: 10 mins IDD & 10SMS to 10 international destination
E: Unlimited Call & Text to 1 Globe/TM number
Smart created a specific plan for the iPhone, a Plan 2499 data

Smart iPhone Plan 2499

  • 300 minutes calls to all networks
  • 300 SMS to all networks
  • 1GB of Data

Comparing the two, it is Smart that offers a better deal. For those heavy on voice calls, you have 300 minutes a month. If you did this with Globe's Plan 2499 and made 300 minutes of calls within the network and calls outside the network and sent 300 SMS, your bill would be near or over 3K, even counting the freebies. But if there is one Globe number you call a lot or the IDD freebies appeal to you, this could negate Smart's call advantage.

Globe offers a better deal on the data and SMS. If you are not heavy on voice calls, Globe offers unlimited data and you can consume the entire Php1,500 on SMS.

Both are great plans, but choosing between the two, I like the Globe offering better. iPhones have iCloud, Siri (which uses data) and 425,000 apps (many of which use data). 

At Plan 2499, Globe looks like the better offering. It is a smartphone, and smartphones work best with unlimited data. But depending on your use, the Smart plan may be better.

Smart Data Plan 2000. But actually Smart has another option to get a iPhone 4S 16GB, Smart Data Plan 2000.

Smart Data Plan 2000

  • Cash out Php2,500
  • 150 minutes calls to all networks
  • 200 SMS to all networks
  • Unlimited data

This is the plan I use right now and my bill has been Php2,200 or less for the past eleven months, so this is the Plan which fits me best. If I got an iPhone, I would choose this plan.

Globe Data Plan 1799. Globe has a plan that can match Smart's Data Plan 2000.

Globe Plan1799
  • Cash out Php4,800
  • Php800 consumable
  • Unlimited data
  • 3 freebies 
A: 10 mins of calls & 200 SMS to Globe/TM
B: 5 mins of call & 25 SMS to other networks
C: 10 mins IDD & 10SMS to 10 international destination
E: Unlimited Call & Text to 1 Globe/TM number

Smart Plan 999. Smart has a Plan 999, but we don't like this one.

Smart Plan 999

  • Cash out - Php999 a month for 24 months
  • 100 minutes calls to all networks
  • 40 SMS to all networks
  • 250MB of data

If you are paying Php1,998 a month you might as well cash out a bit a get one on Smart Data Plan 2000 or Globe Data Plan 1799.

For prepaid options follow this link.

The Globe iPhone 4S versus the Smart iPhone 4S - Prepaid options

With Globe Telecom no longer being the exclusive distributor of the Apple iPhone in the Philippines, we were hoping for lower prices, and we did get it. Still the prices on prepaid are not as low as hoped for. On postpaid plans, the Apple iPhone 4S comes is some very sweet deals.

Today, we will focus on the prepaid offerings only.

Price is still disappointing. The Apple iPhone 4S sells at US$649, US$749 and US$849 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models unlock and contract free.

If you compare it with the Apple iPad 2 which starts at US$499 and sells from the local Apple store at Php23,990 that means that it is being sold an exchange rate of approximately Php43 to US$1, and 12% VAT is added to the price.

Using this same rates, the iPhone 4S, unlocked and contract free, should be priced as follows:

  • 16GB: Php31,200
  • 32GB: Php36,100
  • 64GB: Php40,900

But prices are still better. From the local carriers this is the pricing you get:


  • 16GB: Php 33,200
  • 32GB: Php 38,200
  • 64GB: Php 43,200


  • 16GB: Php 37,690
  • 32GB: Php 43,490
  • 64GB: Php 49,290

Smart is selling at roughly Php2,000 higher than US prices, while Globe is selling roughly Php6,000 to Php9,000 higher than US prices. And yes, that already accounts for VAT. Globe is maintaining the same rates they had, more or less for previous iPhones.

Globe will be offering a trade-in promo for older Globe locked phones, which will make it cheaper to buy a iPhone 4S from Globe for existing subscribers, but the details of that are not out yet.

In sum, you do not get a carrier subsidy for buying a locked phone. But let us not look at a gift horse in the mouth. With Smart now in the iPhone game, the iPhone has gotten much cheaper, especially on postpaid plans.

While Smart wins the pre-paid iPhone wars, Globe has very competitive, and I think better postpaid options. We will write about that tomorrow.

Postpaid options for the 16GB model at this link.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Last Day of the 10-cent Android Market Sale

Well, it is the last day of the 10-cent per app sale at the Android Market. This is what Google brings us today, a total of 12 apps instead of the usual 10.

Well, it has been fun, but these are the last of the 10-cent offerings. Grab what you can :)

Smart iPhone 4S plans

Free a Plan 2499!

As for prepaid units, they are available at P33,200 for the 16GB model, and P38,200 and P43,200 for the 32Gb and 64GB models respectively.

Apple iPhone 4S launch parties

Globe Telecom and Smart Communication will be holding launch parties for the Apple iPhone 4s tonight, Thursday, December 15, 2011. Globe's event will start  at the Ayala Museum at 8:00PM on December 15th and will be officially launching the iPhone 4s at 12am on December 16. Smart is having their event at the same time at the Rockwell Powerplant Mall on the 15th from 8:00PM to 4:00AM the next day.

Though unverified, rumour is the Globe iPhone 4S will cost just Php4,000 cash out on Plan 1799 with a two year lock-in. Prepaid units will start at Php30,000 for the 16GB units. This seems about correct given the starting price of US$649 retail price for unlocked iPhone's. If this is true than competition has brought down the price by about 20%.

Smart is going to raffle Gift Certificates from Zara, Massimo Dutti, Kenneth Cole, Mango, Lacoste and other vendors, raffle away 94 gadgets and keep you entertained with a whole line-up of events. I am not sure if this is limited to those who have registered.

Day 9 of the 10-cent Android Market sale

It is now the second to the last day of the Android Market sale, and for Day 9, this is what Google is offering at 10-cents a piece.

It's a good day. I picked up ezPDFReader (already have Swiftkey).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SMS attack can disable the Windows Phone Messaging Hub

Winrumors reports that a Windows Phone SMS attack has been discovered which  reboots device and disables messaging hub. They posted a video demonstration on YouTube.

For more details, visit the Winrumos site at this link.

Update: The Verge reports that Microsoft has confirmed the existence of the flaw and is working on a fix.

Would you buy a supercharged Acer Aspire S3?

A few weeks ago we saw the Acer Aspire S3-951-2464G34iss. A 13-inch Intel Core i5 powered laptop weighing in at 3 pounds which at Php44,900 made for a low cost alternative to a MacBook Air or Asus Ultrabooks. The Acer Aspire S3's hybrid drive which combined a 20GB SSD with a 320GB conventional hard drive made the S3 a fair bit slower than the MacBook Air and Asus Ultrabooks. Still at 20K cheaper than the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Air, it was worthy of consideration.

Now has the Acer Aspire S3-951-2634G52nss, which has a more powerful Intel Core i7 and a larger 500GB hard drive at Php59,900. This get dangerously close to the 13-inch MacBook Air and Asus Ultrabooks and the Acer S3 still does not have an all SSD drive solution.

Would you buy a supercharged Acer Aspire S3? Our advice. At 60K, a MacBook Air or Asus Ultrabook are much better options.While the hybrid drive solution was fine for a low cost Ultrabook, at 60K the Acer Aspire S3 should really replace the conventional hard drive and SSD combo with a pure SSD solution.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 7 of Google 10-cent app promo

 Here are the discounted offerings for day seven of the Android Market 10-cent app sale:

Day 6 of Google 10-cent app promo

Day six of the Android Market 10-cent app sale sees eight new apps and the return of two: Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro and Great Little Whiine 6: Asphalt HD.

Returning apps is not a bad thing. After passing on Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro on Day 1 because I do not need it, I reconsidered my lifestyle and decided and should change it so that I do need this app. I also picked up SimCity.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 5 of Google 10-cent app promo

A bit late, but here are the current offerings:

Unfortunately, I could not buy Pano with my credit card on the discounted price through my phone Market App (it gives me the message that my card is not valid for payment for this transaction) though I have bought others at the 10-cent price. I decided to try from the desktop and was able to buy Pano! I wish I new this two days ago :(

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 4 of Google's 10-cent app promo

It is now day 4 of Google's 10-cent app promo... and here is what we have today.
I did not buy anything in Day 3 and wondering when they give Flight Track is offered for 10-cents (it is in the banner after all). I will leave you to ponder what to buy as I do the same.

Android 2.3.5/HTC Sense 3.0 update starts rolling out for HTC Desire HD

It looks like Vodafone branded HTC Desire HD's are getting Android 2.3.5/HTC Sense 3.0 OTA updates. As updates are rolled out rather than being made available to all HTC handsets simultaneously to prevent overloading the servers, the rest of us should be getting it in a few weeks. 

No word on whether the HTC Desire HD is getting Ice Cream Sandwich, so this may be the last official update for this phone.

Smart Data Plan speed tests

Here is another Smart Data Plan speed test, this one conducted from Greenbelt V in Makati City.

Earlier speed tests I have conducted are as follows.

Starbuck's Aguirre, BF Paranaque:

Starbucks in Greenhills:

Resorts World, Newport City:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Third day of Google 10 cent app promo

We are now in the third day of Google's 10-cent app promo in celebration of reaching the 10-billion download milestone on the Android Market. I picked up three of the first 20 apps on promo: Sketchbook Mobile, Soundhound and Read It Later Pro. For some reason I could not buy Paper Camera and Sky Chart while they were on discount with my credit card. I guess it has something to do with minimum authorized purchase prices across some jurisdictions. 

I noticed the new apps for the day start showing up at about 12-noon UTC. The apps of the previous day continue to be on discount for a few hours after the new ones show up, so as many as 20-apps are on discount.

HP Pavilion DM1-4012TU Intel Core i3-2367M

There seems to be a shortage of low cost 11-12 inch Intel Sandy Bridge ultraportable laptops in the market. Acer did not release a successor to the popular Acer TimelineX 1830T of 2010, no new Intel version of the Sony Vaio YB has been released in the market. For 2011, most of the low cost 11-12 inch ultraportables we have seen have been powered by AMD's Fusion Accelerated Processing Unit. 

HP has released a very successful laptop in this category, the HP Pavilion DM1 which we first saw with with an AMD E-350 APU and has now been updated to AMD E-450 APU late this year. Another version of the HP DM1 is available in the market, this one sporting a Intel Core i3-2367M 1.4 GHz with Intel HD 3000 graphics.  It comes with 2GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive and the usual connectivity options you see in today laptops like Bluetooth, HDMI out and WiFi. Unfortunately, it does not have a USB 3.0 port and instead comes with three USB 2.0 ports.  The operating system is Windows Home Basic 64-bit.

Priced at Php29,990 is priced about 6-7K more than its AMD E-450 competition, which seems to be reasonable considering that the Sandy Bridge package offers more punch then an AMD E-450 system. 

Smart Communications is offering the HTC Sensation XE at Data Plan 2000

Smart Communications is offering the HTC Sensation XE, with Beats Audio, at Data Plan 2000. Considering that the phone retails for about 26K, Data Plan 2000 is a great deal for this device.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

10-cent (Php4.33) App promo at the Android Market - Day 2

Looking at the Android Market on its second day of it 10-cent app promo we noticed the following apps are being offered at the discounted price:

I decided to buy Read It Later Pro.

The ten apps offered yesterday at 10 cents are still being offered at the discounted prices as of this writing.

This promotion is part of Google celebration for the having reached the milestone of one billion downloads from the Android Market.

Apple does not own "iPad" in China

Apple, Inc. lost a trademark dispute in China against local monitor vendor Proview Technology. Proview registered 'iPAD' and 'IPAD' as its trademarks in 2000 in China and several other countries.

Last Apple filed two lawsuits against Proview claiming that the latter infringed on its trademarks. 

In 2009, the Taiwanese subsidiary of Proview sold the 'iPAD' and 'IPAD' trademark to UK company IP Applications. In 2010, IP Applications  sold them to Apple for about $55,000.

However, the Court in China ruled that the transfer of the trademarks was not valid since it was the Taiwanese subsidiary which carried out the sale and not the Chinese parent company. and thus the parent company retained the right to use the trademarks on the Chinese mainland. Am a bit hazy with this part since it seems that the court recognized the transfer of the iPad Trademark, just not its use in China.

Proview has filed its own trademark infringement lawsuit against Apple, and is after US$1.5 billion in compensation.
Apple can appeal the decision, but it  may have to settle with Proview if it want's to sell its iPad under the "iPad" name in China now.

LG Optimus Hub - How does it stand up to other entry level offerings?

LG's Optimus One held the title of the best budget Android for almost a whole year. A few weeks ago, the replacement of the LG Optimus One, the Optimus Net became available. Like the Optimus one it was a Android powered touchscreen phone with a 3.2-inch display. The Optimus Net has 200MHz more processor clock speed and faster HSDPA 7.2 Mbps connectivity. Now priced as low as Php8,700 it is a decent choice.

It main competition comes from the 3-inch Sony Ericsson's Xperia Mini which comes with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor with flash in browser support, a better camera and 720p video recording and playback capability which can be had at a few hundred more, at Php9,500.
While we think 3-inch and 3.2-inch screens are too small for continues use, when looking at entry level offerings, compromises can be made. Still budget conscious buyers can opt for the Smart Netphone with its 3.5-inch high resolution 480 x 800 display, at Php9,900.

Basically, while the Optimus Net is a decent phone, it is not the ground breaking entry level Android phone that the Optimus One was.

LG has brought in another entry level offering, the LG Optimus Hub, with a 3.5-inch 320 x 480 display. Available for a low as Php11,500 it is priced higher than out current budget phone favorites, the Sony Ericsson's Xperia Mini and the Smart Netphone. 

The Optimus Hub compete with the 1GHz Snapdragon found on the Sony Ericsson's Xperia Mini. If a 3-inch screen is okay with you, the Mini is the way to go.

For those who want a larger screen, it fair a bit better against the Smart Netphone. Both have 3.5-inch screens, which are is as large as a screen on an iPhone. The Netphone has a higher 480 x 800 resolution as against the Optimus Hub's 480 x 800 display. The Optimus Hub display is protected by Gorilla Glass which might be enough for some to forgo the higher resolution display of the Netphone. Overall, the Netphone looks like a better choice from a display standpoint.

Looking at speed parts, the LG Optimus Hub has an 800 MHz Arm v6 processor and Adreno 200 graphics. The Smart Netphone has a 600 MHz Arm v11 processor and Adreno 200 graphics. Both have 512MB of RAM. Performance wise, the Optimus Hub should be faster, but not dramatically faster. Both have 150MB of user available storage expandable via MircoSD Card. In terms of connectivity, the Optimus Hub use a old radio, with HSDPA 3.6 Mbps and upload speeds of only 384kbps. The Netphone has HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 5.76Mbps capability. It is a close fight, but I would give the edge to the Netphone.

Where the LG Optimus Hub shines as against the Smart Netphone is in the software camera department. In the software department, the LG Optimus Hub runs Android Gingerbread 2.3.4, while Netphone is upgradeable only Android 2.2 (Froyo). The Optimus Hub has a 5 MP auto focus camera with a LED flash as against the 3.2  MP auto focus camera with no flash on the Netphone. The Optimus Hub's 1500 mAh battery is also 20% larger. 

In terms of price, the lowest price we have seen is Php11,500 versus Php9,900 for the Netphone and Php9,500 for the Mini.

All-in-all it is a good choice among entry level Androids, but it is not the king of the hill. It will have to share the entry level limelight with Sony Ericsson's Xperia Mini and Smart Netphone. I think buyers would have a hard time picking among the three, but the Mini and the Netphone are probably better options.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...