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Smart Communications announces the Netphone at Mobile World Congress 2011

Written by Jayvee Fernandez

EDIT: A more accurate post about the Netphone Project

Today, SMART Communications launches the Netphone at Mobile World Congress 2011. It is an Android 2.2 device with SMART branding and features that are exclusive for SMART subscribers.

With the phone being announced, Filipinos are definitely excited about the unit’s hardware (see press release below). However, on a more global scale, the Netphone from SMART is more than just a phone. It is a proof of an actual WAC enabled device.

What the hell is WAC? WAC stands for Wholesale Applications Community. WAC is an organization composed of telcos and suppliers around the world having the goal of helping developers easily create apps for multiple platforms. Here’s an example: there are many versions of Android running on different devices across several telcos around the world. If you were a developer, it would be a big hassle to create apps across so many versions. With WAC, a developer needs only to create one app which then becomes compatible across all devices globally. What does this mean? For instance, let’s say you have a Jollibee Delivery application for Android. This app can be installed by any telco globally which means that your OFW dad can always order Jollibee for his kids in the Philippines using a different carrier and version of Android.

PRESS RELEASE

Smart Introduces Pioneering Emerging-Market Smartphone

(14 February 2011) BARCELONA, SPAIN – Smart Communications, Inc.(SMART), the Philippines leading wireless communications provider, unveiled today the Netphone™ — a path-breaking smartphone designed for emerging markets.

The Netphone comes with a suite of applications that provide users one-touch, one-screen access to the most popular communications and social networking services, as well as relevant customer account services.

The phone is specially designed to enable users to access the Internet in bite-sized amounts.

Powered by the Android 2.2 Froyo operating system, the device is highly customizable by the user. Moreover, the Netphone comes with its own branded software and applications relevant to emerging market customers.

The Netphone provides simultaneous access to Facebook, Twitter and MyGroups social networks. Beyond that, the device combines Yahoo Messenger, Facebook Chat and other chat services in one seamless interface.

Netphone users can also find out his prepaid airtime balances with one touch.

These customized applications are compliant with the specifications of Android and the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), a global alliance of the world’s leading telecoms operators, applications developers, handset manufacturers, and operating system owners that is defining open industry applications standards.

“With the NetPhone, Smart can rapidly deploy new widgets, applications and services over the air, continually enhance the Netphone’s value to our subscribers, and in the process create healthy revenue streams,” said Napoleon L. Nazareno, Smart President & CEO.

Orlando B. Vea, Smart Chief Wireless Adviser, said: “By providing easy, bite-sized access to the web, the NetPhone perfectly complements our Internet For All advocacy. Designed for emerging-market mobile phone users, this device further democratizes access to the Internet just as Smart led in putting cell phones in the hands of millions of Filipinos.”

Danilo J. Mojica, Smart Wireless Consumer Division Head, explained further: “Smartphones are powering tremendous growth in mobile Internet usage. Last month, Smart began offering our subscribers a line of affordable Android-powered smartphones combined with even more affordable mobile Internet rates. The introduction of our Netphone also at an attractive price point offering relevant services is a major enhancement of our strategy to unlock this new revenue stream.”

A founding member of the WAC, Smart has received numerous international innovation awards including two from the GSM Association for its breakthrough services Smart Money, the world’s first cash card linked to mobile phones, and Smart Load, the world’s first prepaid airtime electronic loading service.

Nota Bene: Images taken of the unit are in no way indication of the final product. This is a pre-beta unit which will be officially launched sooner than later in 2011. Stay tuned! 🙂

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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