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After drinking the Kool Aid and taking a step back to absorb my Barcelona trip (I’m at the Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge!), here are some things that SMART should consider to make the Netphone a success in the Philippines:
Affordability to Mass Market. We’ve seen the first Netphone — a touch screen Android 2.2 device. How much do you think this costs? Affordable for everyone reading this blog, but to the mass market who earns an equivalent of one Wendy’s Baconator a day, would they even consider using this device? Before we even talk about features, can the masses even afford it? How much should the entry level 3G-enabled phones cost? PHP 3k? PHP 2k? PHP 1k? Remember, the Netphone is SMART’s solution to the adoption of 3G for the mass market so before we start looking at our BlackBerries and HTC’s being Netphone enabled, let’s take a step back and see how SMART will push these to the tingi market.
Utility. I was having lunch with Mantosh Malhotra of Qualcomm a week before MWC and he told me that the adoption of 3G for the mass market will only succeed if they can find a real benefit for it. This isn’t about Facebook or Foursquare or Twitter “conversations”, but having applications that give the daily market price of fish to fishermen so they don’t need to go through a middle man. It’s apps that have a direct impact to their livelihood. 3G isn’t an end in itself. 3G is a mere headfake when you bring real benefits to people who don’t see the value of using Facebook.
Strong Developer Relationships At the end of the day, a platform is only as good as the apps made available in the ecosystem. During the MWC panel on the growth of Apps, Bong Mojica of SMART mentioned that telcos in general have been very unfriendly with developers in the past and in the new web, this has to change. The “telco 2.0″ is a web company, focusing on developing relevant applications using its handsets (not individual operating systems) as a unifying platform. It’s about having independent developers see the telco ecosystem as a viable source of income (so they can quit their day jobs and focus on being creative), rolling out apps for entry level, mid-range and high end phones within the telco’s stable of devices.
Strong Community Relationships If you read through the Netphone’s features you will be blown away with opportunities for community building. The Global Address Book, Chat and eCommerce facilities have huge potential. But beyond all these services are the people, divided into the many organizations and clubs they are a part of. If SMART will be investing a lot of money into the marketing, it should target communities that are able to adopt the Netphone as a platform in the same way most communities and businesses make use of Twitter and Facebook as their home on the Internet.
It could purely be coincidence that the Microsoft Booth is located adjacent to the Nokia booth (which was promoting MeeGo by the way). On display were several HTC devices (the HTC Trophy feels just like the Mozart) and the new Sasung OMNIA with a big ass screen.
The Nokia booth focused more on developers and had nothing about the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia to produce smartphones running Windows Phone 7. Quite understandable as this announcement was made a day before MWC 2011. What is interesting to note is Nokia’s push for MeeGo as a platform being ‘currently developed’ as a long term open source project. Does this mean Windows Phone 7 is a filler? Only time will tell!
Rumor: The HTC ChaCha may just be part of SMART’s Netphone project. Again, the Netphone is not a single phone nor is it confined to a single OS. *wink*
We were invited by SMART into HTC’s huge pavilion to sit in a meeting. Lo and behold I was in for the shock of my life when I saw Darren! As in Darren formerly from Apple. It was a happy surprise to see him in Barcelona and now working at HTC (I showed him my HTC Mozart). Anyway, Darren showed us the lineup of HTC for this year — including the HTC ChaCha Facebook phone and the HTC Flyer.
So it appears that the Netphone isn’t just one phone. It’s a brand! I was made privy (well, me and all 60,000 people) to prototypes of future devices that carry the Netphone branding that will be launched by SMART.
Seen here are the Netphone tablet, an entry level Netphone running on Brew (the white one) and the Netphone we’ve previously seen running Android 2.2. All these are part of the WAC initiative, meaning the Jollibee app you see can be made available across several platforms (i.e. Android, Brew, etc) without having to create multiple apps for different platforms. In the same way, telcos from other countries that are part of the WAC initiative can also choose to apply these apps to their store.
SPECULATION: This is actually big. Remember the Sandbox project I helped move forward several months ago? In a way, this is it’s second iteration. Imagine a BlackBerry Messenger-like service but applies to everyone who has Netphone devices. SMART is re-building its own community of subscribers by interconnecting them to one another. So instead of committing to one device platform, WAC enables SMART to use several phone platforms to interconnect. This definitely makes sense since the Philippines is primarily a feature phone market (i.e. the white Brew-enabled Netphone) but recognizing the fact that smartphones and tablets are the big thing for the upper income brackets. END OF SPECULATION.
The HP Veer is definitely going to sell.
Long hair na long hair si HP at the Mobile World Congress.
Located right across the BlackBerry booth, it almost seems like HP is telling RIM something. Amidst the many laptops on display, everybody knew that these were just fillers for the real spectacle: the webOS environment and their gadgets.
OK let’s back it off a bit: I was an active member of group called Mapalad.org founded by Jason de Villa (who is now editor in chief of Technoodling.net) back in the early 2000′s. This was an officially recognized Palm OS user group in the Philippines. So you can imagine my excitement to see the spiritual successor of the Palm OS.
They’ve gone through a lot: Palm’s founders put up an offshoot company called Handspring. Palm buys them back. Palm renames to palmOne. Then renames back to Palm. Then after so long a time attempts to launch a netbook. Fails to do so. Launches new devices under a new platform called webOS. Doesn’t really make it. Gets bought by HP. HP removes the Palm logo. Now it’s just HP. And I must say, on paper, HP is doing an excellent job. I think they want a chunk of the BlackBerry market share with what they’re showing us.
We were treated to three things: the HP TouchPad, HP Pre 3 and the sexy Veer. The TouchPad is of course the giant’s corporate tablet solution while the Pre 3 and the Veer are their smartphone solutions. All three run the new webOS operating system. Both phones have a touch screen interface with pull out QWERTY pads. During the demo, we weren’t allowed to hold the units – if we wanted to test it out, the guy had to hold the unit while we played with its many features.
If the Pre 3 and Veer make it to Philippines, these will make a killing in the market. Finally, we have smartphones that looks chic enough to make you want to ditch the iPhone. The Veer is a smaller version of the Pre 3: it’s so small, and yet comes with a very nice keypad (it’s not rubber or plastic; silicon / gel perhaps and feels really good on the fingers). Yeah, I really have to highlight the keypad — the demo guy saw that we had a BlackBerry on us and challenged us to take the comparison test. Maganda ang keypad. They’ve done it.
The new webOS apps are compatible with both the tablet and smartphone so HP is really betting on this platform ecosystem.
One of the sexiest booths in MWC belongs to NVIDIA. Not much on the outside, but a lot to offer on the inside. NVIDIA went all out to demonstrate the new Tegra 2 mobile GPU for tablets. This is essentially the technology that will allow your tablet to do high end graphics and a bunch of other cool stuff. If your tablet is running on Android, you need to have at least Honeycomb 3.0 installed to become compatible with NVIDIA’s latest chip. Examples of such devices are the Motorola Xoom and the LG Optimus Pad.
In the video, I go through the following:
Motorola Atrix 4G – an Android phone that attaches to an external dock. The dock serves as the charger, desktop display, keyboard and mouse. The phone automatically converts your screen orientation from phone to desktop mode. After docking, it takes roughly 7 seconds for the desktop dock to refresh and show your new screen.
ASUS Slider and Transformer – The ASUS Slider is a Honeycomb enabled device that comes with a pop-up keyboard. It’s 10 inches bitches! On the other side, the Transformer is a detachable 3.0 tablet. Both sport the Tegra 2 chip.
Motorola Xoom – The first Android 3.0 device in the market is definitely sexy. I had a bit of time to immerse with the new Samurai game that takes advantage of the processing power of the Tegra 2. Same goes for the LG Optimus Pad
After reading all of this, I suggest you do yourself a favor and hold back on that Tablet purchase you were about to do this month. 2nd generation tablet technology (1st gen was the one Microsoft tried to espouse) is about a year old and there’s so much room for growth. What I’m showing you are up and coming devices to be launched this year.
Parting shot: Andi9 with the Motorola Xoom. Or is it the LG Optimus Pad. Gee, they’re all looking the same!
Andi and I walked into Hall 1 to officially start our MWC ’11 sojourn. After ogling after some booth babes (a post reserved for another time), my eyes met a tiny booth with a very familiar bird sitting on the counter.
Yup it’s the ROVIO booth. Rather humble actually. All eyes were on us as we picked up the last plush toy as the others had already been stolen! Sadly the guys were occupied with matters of great importance (they were playing Angry Birds) to answer questions but I’m hell bent on coming back tomorrow for more!
They gave us stickers. I want more. I’m going back tomorrow.
The organizers and administration have really cool MWC 2011 pins. They’re on video! Here’s what they look like!
You’ve seen it here folks. Looks like Jollibee will be raking in a new market demographic. Since this app is WAC-enabled, it will allow any telco to house the application. The app has the potential to integrate with your payment gateway (in this case either COD or SMART Money). Watch the video.
EDIT: Latest posts are below! Scroll down for more!
To make it easier to digest the event, I’m creating a post that summarizes all MWC-related coverage between myself and Andi9. This will be updated daily. Follow me on Twitter @jayvee for live updates from the floor.
Photos taken using a Canon S95 from Canon Philippines
EDIT: Found the app! Courtesy of Miss Google Earth Philippines, Aileen Apolo-De Jesus
I was able to get a sneak peek into the Google Android booth before the conference. I must say, this is THE booth to visit for MWC 2011. They’ve practically got everything ‘Android’ here including schwag, phones, tablets (yes they have the Motorola Xoom but I wasn’t allowed to touch it just yet since the conference hasn’t officially started). So for your entertainment, here are photos of their kick ass booth (that lets you slide down from the second floor)!
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.
Left Manila yesterday at 8PM. Arrived in Barcelona via Zurich about two hours ago. I’m at Catalonia Avinyo for the night. We change hotels tomorrow as the city of Barcelona is fully booked. While we were claiming our tickets from Zurich, the counter girl asked us “Why is everyone going to Barcelona?!”
We’re here for Mobile World Congress 2011. Anyone that matters in the industry of cellphones, tablets and wireless connectivity are here. Except Apple. ‘Coz they’re smug like that.
My mobiles for this trip include a BlackBerry Torch from RIM and my HTC Mozart. The latter has really bad battery so I brought along my portable charger and the extra phone as reinforcements. On the camera end, I’m taking along Chie’s G11 and a S95 which was lent to me by Canon.
Oh, did I mention we flew business class? Business class! Big thanks to SMART for flying us over to cover MWC 2011.
That’s me and Andi Manzano on the plane to Zurich from our Hong Kong stopover.
Everything is a bit taller in Zurich.
Flying Swiss implies an overload of Swiss Chocolate.
And a magnificent view of the Swiss Alps.
From Manila to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong to Zurich. From Zurich to Barcelona. We’re here! And behind us, our cabs.
And this is the view from my hotel room. Presenting the lazy Sunday streets of Barcelona.
Lunch in a bit and then we’re going to
check out the conference venue find something to do!!!
I leave tomorrow night for Barcelona, Spain to attend Mobile World Congress 2011. For the unfamiliar and non-geeks, let’s just say that if the fashion industry has Fashion Week, us nerds have Mobile World Congress (formerly known as GSM Conference).
In the same way that fashion week is a gathering of designers and brands to dictate what’s in and what’s not, MWC ’11 is a gathering of all the telcos and phone manufacturers around the world to unveil everything that will be launched in 2011. If it’s got a SIM card or a data plan, it’s in MWC.
Conferences and product launches in the morning, cocktails and parties in the evening. I’ll be covering the floor together with Andi Manzano of Magic 89.9. So apart from daily summaries which you can read here, I’ll also be Tweeting (follow @jayvee on Twitter) and updating Facebook from the floor. You can also view global updates using the hashtag #MWC2011
On Wednesday late afternoon (exact time to be confirmed) I will also be on live video via Flippish to do a mid-week wrap up of the events thus far. Since it will be live, feel free to join the Flippish chatroom so we can discuss the new products and services that are being unveiled.
Wish me luck! In my next post, I’m going to show you the gadgets I’m packing to cover the floor live.
It’s been ages since I made a new dive video. Here’s everything we did in December ’10 – January ’11 compressed into 2 minutes and 6 seconds. These were dives done from Anilao Beach Club and Dive 7000. It’s also the first time I’m actually in the videos while shooting with ‘Bruno’! Thanks to Chie Clemente for filming everything.
I’m not sure about the math, but you can probably buy a lot of concrete with USD $20,000.00. I’d move into the business of creating artificial coral reefs as tourist attractions. I’d probably go further than this and move for the creation of underwater art. Like this.
Get a celebrity altruist-artist involved. You can build these artificial reefs in sandy bottoms where no corals exist. Nothing to lose, really. If coral life starts, then all is well and good. If not, then you still have a great tourist attraction that can spur the SCUBA industry further. Get the diving community involved to help seed these underwater. They’d be more than willing to help. At 40ft depth with relatively strong currents, you can probably mix these designs with giant clams to help accelerate the growth of the reef as a whole. Get the locals to protect the area. Educate. It’s pretty much like establishing more protected marine zones but you have more control over the results because the stuff you seed is man-made. It goes further than just dumping concrete into the water.
To make the project sustainable, get corporations to sponsor reefs of their own. Imagine an artificial reef sculpted to look like a Coca-Cola vendo machine with tables and chairs and people — all made of concrete. The selling proposition would be simple: not only do you directly help the environment, you also create new and enduring tourism properties with your corporate branding.