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“How to Troll the Telco Industry” by SMART Communications and SUN cellular

I had a similar idea. But not with a Nokia phone. If you check my review of the Lenovo A60, you’ll realize that this is the perfect Android device that can feed both SUN and Smart. At a retail price of PHP 8,900.00 the phone can be offered for free at a very low plan. Add to the fact that you’re running an Android 2.3 device, it’s too epic to refuse.

Microwarehouse Year End Sale 2011: Spend! Spend! Spend!

Hope you got your Christmas bonuses early because the sale is already this December 11 and 12 2011!

As always, Microwarehouse has learned from all of the previous sales. Make sure you bring friends as usually, a lot of the items are buy 1 take 1 and it would be great to split the cost among others. The Macs go by really fast. If you’re looking for speakers, this is the best place to buy.

SmartNet (Netphone) running on iOS 5

The telco industry is always exciting. And when the competitions exchange blows, there’s always the aftermath of awesomeness that, in the end, gives more choices to consumers. In the end, they win.

This is a photo of SmartNet running on iOS (Yes, the iPhone 4s now has Netphone capabilities). Way back in February, I talked about my trip to Barcelona and divulged the whole deal with SmartNet and the Netphone which is essentially Smart’s plans to turn itself into one big social network and make mobile Internet more affordable via smartphones. You, like me, might be thinking “Hey I already use mobile Internet on my phone!” but the truth of the matter is, the Twitter and Facebook we see everyday is one big bubble of the same social circles we have in real life. There are still millions of Filipinos who do not have Internet access but amazingly have found the first entry into cyberspace not from a computer, but from a phone. This credit is actually due to Nokia who sold many GPRS/EDGE-enabled phones in the last 5 years. And that’s the hole SmartNet tries to fill.

SmartNet is rather ubiquitous on Android right now — the 5.3″ version for the Samsung galaxy Note just came out. Another juicy development is that Smartnet is also coming to iOS5 via the iTunes store so that’s a lot of added value if you’re a Smart Subscriber. So the “grand plan” is showing signs barely a year into the Netphone project with Smart releasing the SmartNet platform for both Android and iOS, the top two smartphone platforms in the world. Other platforms coming.

Oh and this company I work with is pretty damn agressive. Just take a look at Social Mention:

Pre-order the iPhone 4s now with SMART. There’s a lot more added value with this telco. Plus the data network is much better.

It Begins: Holiday Online Shopping Spree

As a gamer and well, an all-around geek I look forward to the months of November and December for one reason: the beginning of the holiday sales.

Take note: this period starts from the day after Thanksgiving which has been coined as ‘Black Friday’ in the USA which symbolically marks the start of the holidays. This is the time of the year when stores offer insane discounts and as the all0around geek that I am I frequent three sites: Board Game Geek, Amazon (doh!) and the digital PC gaming store called Steam.

Nightfall: Martial Law

Wrote my first piece for GeekOut. Finally, a place where I can talk about board games and card games.

I recently acquired a copy of Nightfall: Martial Law created by AEG after having spent a couple of months researching for a new deck building card game I could play with my regular board game group. The ‘Nightfall’ series is a fairly popular franchise in the gaming community set in a world where vampires, zombies, werewolves and the human “hunters” duke it out to control what’s left of civilization. And before you get illusions of “vampires” and “werewolves” of either being sparkly-clean or abs-endowed, nope this isn’t Twilight.

Read more.

Hands on with the HTC Sensation XE aka HTC Beats

Last week, HTC launched their new ‘Beats’ line of smartphone composed of the HTC Sensation XE and the Sensation XL. Main difference of both is that the XE comes with a 4.3″ screen while the XL comes in a hybrid 4.7″ form factor. I have the XE version at home so here’s a quick unboxing and weekend first impressions.

The release of HTC’s ‘Beats’ is exciting as these phones come bundled with a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre in-ear earphones which are some of the best in the industry.


Really excited about: True 3D projection technology

Remember R2-D2 projecting to the rebel alliance? Remember Robin’s tactical overlay in Young Justice? I’m really excited for the “next phase” in display. Although it may take an additional 10 years to be improved and adopted by consumers, there’s hope in the horizon!

Digital Signage: Although the demonstration shows monochrome colors, full color projections are possible with the use of red, green and blue lasers. Imagine getting rid of all the ugly billboards along EDSA and instead have lasers projecting only in certain spots. But the key take away here is that these signs can be turned off anytime to give way to bluer skies.

EastWest Bank wants you to win a BlackBerry Torch (and more!)

You know, it’s OK to admit that your wallet seems to empty itself during the holiday gift giving routine. It’s the same story every Christmas — that I either decide to buy bulk gifts for all my friends (i.e. my blog themed cupcakes from way back) or individual gifts for people who are really memorable to me during the year. Now it’s usually the former, but one thing that I always had a hard time doing was budget my expenses. Well. Because even if let’s say I set a budget of PHP3,000-PHP5,000 for gifts (excluding family) I find out at the end of my shopping spree that I’ve emptied my wallet! I think “sales” are a consumer trap, especially if you’re into gadgets.

Hands on with the 5.3″ Samsung Galaxy Note

Been playing with the Samsung Galaxy Note for the past week. It’s a peculiar device, being the biggest smartphone to date yet doesn’t seem to have that bulky feel compared, say to Dell’s Streak. I’ve shown this phone to a lot of friends and the most common reaction is that of intrigue accompanied by the question, “would I look stupid carrying this around?”

Interview with Justin Gary, Creator of the Ascension Deck Building Game

OK. So here’s another side to my geekiness. Board games.

I’m hooked on Ascension. It’s the staple board game (sorry, Bang!) I play with my regular gaming group next to 7 Wonders. It’s fast, easy to understand, doesn’t require much setup, and you can play with 2-4 guys. A 30 minute game is already long. So I was thrilled at the chance to interview Justin Gary of Gary Games, creator of Ascension. For those who enjoy deck building games like Dominion, Ascension takes direct precedence as a more compact but still epic deck builder. This interview talks about how Ascension was conceived as well as the latest expansion, Storm of Souls.

SMART Communications to offer iPhone 4S by end 2011

The Inquirer reported this evening that SMART Communications would be offering the new Apple iPhone 4S come end of 2011.


MANILA, Philippines—Wireless telecommunications giant Smart Communications is set to heat up competition in the offering of telco services bundled with Apple products with the rollout of Apple’s game-changing smartphone iPhone to premium subscribers within this year.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Smart’s parent firm Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., confirmed that Smart was in talks with Apple to launch the latest version of the iPhone—iPhone4S—before yearend.

Similar to what happened to bigger markets like the United States, Germany and Canada, consumer electronics giant Apple has abandoned the regime of exclusive iPhone distribution.

With the lapse of the exclusivity deal with Globe Telecom, the original iPhone official carrier in the Philippines, Smart is now getting ready to launch iPhone4S as well.

The article also mentions the possibility to bring in Apple iPad tablets with data plans.

It seems that a Twitter hashtag campaign has started called #smartiphone. You can try to follow this for more developments. This development is rather interesting as SMART has already cornered exclusivity deals with HTC for their Android phones. WIth the iPhone 4S deal, has SMART locked in the smartphone business for both Android and iOS?

Aside: During the launch of the Netphone 701 and SmartNet platform at the Jump store, one of the execs did hint of being in talks with Apple for something related to smartphones. It seems like the cat is out of the bag. Are we going to see a SmartNet app pretty soon on the iTunes Store?

[N.B. There is a general disclosure on my blog’s about page on who I work / consult for.]

5 Things I Learned from the ASUS Zenbook launch in El Nido, Palawan

I spent my birthday in El Nido, Palawan together with some media friends and the ASUS crew. Here are 5 things I took home after ASUS presented their product lineup for Q4. In the evening of our first night, Jamie Ysrael together with Gabe Mercado (a good friend and fun host) launched the drool-worthy ASUS Zenbook.

On the side, I was also able to take several underwater photos from a dive fronting Miniloc island together with Intel’s Wowie Wong and Randy Kanapi.

So here’s what I learned:

My Solution to Watermarks

I don’t watermark photos. That’s because the photos that I sell are always printed on canvas anyway and I never give out the high resolution files so it’s really not a big deal for me if people grab my shots and post them all over the place. I’d love a linkback but if that’s not given, well, welcome to the Internet. So unless photography is your bread and butter I don’t see the need for you to batch watermark everything. Here’s a work-around solution to watermarking photos.


Tadah! Watermarks!

I think this is actually makes more sense than having a huge www.mywebsite.com at 50% opacity in the middle of your photo. It’s informative and you can even get creative with the use of empty space in your shots. I prefer doing text because I can’t draw but if I did, I’d doodle on them (<--- that cooking blog is amazing). What do you think?

Is the Samsung Galaxy Note too big? Here’s our actual hands on!

EDIT II: Want to see the Galaxy Note UNDERWATER? Check it out.

EDIT: Hands on with the Galaxy Note here.

I have a conspiracy theory about the worldwide consumer IT industry. Every year, all the manufacturers (except Apple — coz they’re not fun) add 1 inch to the screens of their smartphones to make consumers look more and more ridiculous when using these devices.

OK, but no, that’s probably too far from the truth but you have to admit that on paper, having a device that has 5.3″ of screen real estate can barely be called a phone anymore. In theory it all sounds bizarre, but this is one of those times where actually holding the device gives you that “aha!” moment. In short: The Samsung Galaxy Note works.

Top: Side by side with the Samsung Galaxy S II (4.3″ screen vs 5.3″ screen on the Note)

Read on for more photos and comparison.


Nokia N9 Preorder with SMART Communications comes with FREE Wireless Headset

The beautiful Nokia N9 is now available for preorder under new post-paid plans with SMART Communications.

The Nokia N9 comes free with Unlimited Data Plan 2000 for the 16GB model and free at Unlimited Data Plan 3000 for the 64GB model. The phone also comes free with the new All-In Plan 3500 for the 16GB model. PRE-ORDER NOW! You will be able to pick up the phones on the 21st of November. If you pre-order you will receive a free Nokia Wireless Music Receiver.

If you’re not familiar with the new All-In plans these are essentially fully customizable plans that give you really good options for saving A LOT of money. IMHO, it’s even better than pre-paid. Here are examples of services that the All-In plans offer:

80 minutes calls to all networks – PHP 250 / 30 days
2,500 SMS to all networks – PHP350 / 30 days

The Nokia N9 is a looker running on the MeeGo OS platform led by Intel. If you loved the N8 (everyone did!) the N9 is a step up to a good experience despite the stigma of Nokia “being left behind” by iOS and Android. Before you make judgements, I do suggest trying out the Nokia N9 in experience stores soon when you have the chance. It is great.

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