Mostly Everything

Plants vs Zombies II: It’s About Time

CG intro, plants (and more plants!) and the hint of time travel with the neat Back to the Future reference. It’s about time for Plants vs Zombies 2! However — based on the details on the website, the game will be launched exclusively on iOS for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch this coming July 2013.

Regarding the exclusivity, a Popcap representative had this to say:

I will keep putting this info out there today but I want the community to know, we are only exclusive to Apple first. We have plenty more info to hand out just not quite yet. When I have more news to share, I will indeed. And we are reading your comments and understand your concerns. That’s why I keep trying to post replies in here so you all know what’s up!

So it seems that the word “exclusive” actually means first to launch and that it should be available on other devices (Mac, PC, Android) after a period of time.

crazy man saves world

Mostly Everything

SMART LTE Launch Plan: PHP 3500 for 10GB per month; comes with USB dongle at 42mbps

The cat is out of the bag (also, I apologize for the many updates with SMART). Though not officially announced by SMART Communications, the pricing for the highly anticipated LTE was leaked yesterday in some blogs. I was able to confirm the pricing scheme as well with people from SMART and it seems that the strategic leak worked quite well to their advantage — SMART was on Engadget earlier today.

Again, LTE stands for Long Term Evolution which marks the true beginning of the next generation of mobile Internet for everyone. If 3G brought about mobile apps usage like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it is exciting to see what LTE can bring about.

The August 25 launch (everyone is invited!) will announce the current pricing scheme:

– LTE will debut in the Philippines at PHP 3,500.00 per month
– it will already come with a LTE USB dongle for free; early last year we confirmed the price of the USB dongle was somewhere in the PHP 10,000 range so yeah, you’re saving ten grand by subscribing
– the USB dongle will be capable of speeds up to 42mbps; this is the same (if not similar) dongle I used during the beta test period. Note that 42mbps is the maximum capability of the dongle but the network can handle, technically up to 100mbps. That’s 100 megabits per second. To know the difference between megabits and megabytes, read my primer.
– the initial offering caps data at 10GB per month.


To be honest I was actually surprised with the sub 4k price point of LTE. Pundits were expecting SMART to launch the service in the PHP 5,000.00 area or thereabouts and this can only mean that with a relatively low price point for LTE, it can only get more affordable from here (either by increasing bandwidth or by making it even cheaper or by offering new handsets once they arrive). The Philippines is one of the first countries in Asia to have this sort of Internet and it’s exciting to see what the next 6 months will be like.

Mostly Everything

SMART Postpaid Freedom Plan: Who is it for, really?

The blogs have been abuzz with the new Freedom Plan from SMART Communications. For those unfamiliar, this plan is essentially (1) a postpaid line that (2) does not require you to present a lot of documentation for approval. All you need is a valid ID. There is no need for an employer’s certificate or proof of income which can be a hassle to acquire especially if you’re a freelancer or a consultant. The plan also (3) does not have a fixed monthly fee to pay. If you don’t use it, you don’t pay anything. If you only spend PHP 1.00 to send a text, that’s all you’re billed for. The plan also has (4) an automatic 600 peso credit limit. The third feature is what confuses most people — if it’s a postpaid line, why is there a credit limit? Actually, all postpaid lines have credit limits which you can assign to your account. This is obviously there to prevent you from getting overcharged. The limit is usually twice the amount of your monthly bill but this can easily be changed from your MySmart online site (I’ve kept mine at PHP 6,000.00 for the past 7 or so years).

So who is this plan for? Why not just apply for a “regular” line or simply buy a prepaid line?

1. Full time freelancers. I have many friends who are full time bloggers but have problems when it comes to getting a postpaid line with a telco. That’s because the prerequisites are rather tough — proof of employment and statement of monthly income are the two documents that are not readily available to freelance folks. The thing is, they can readily afford to pay for the monthly bills (as some may make more money than those in a regular job) but just can’t show for it.

2. People who leave the country a lot. Because you don’t have to pay anything if you don’t use it, you can keep the line without having to worry if the SIM card / number will expire because of non-use. If a friend or relative comes home once a year for a few weeks, this is the perfect plan to give him or her. You don’t have to keep on re-sending a new number to friends to call or text because the line will always stay active.

3. For people who need an emergency second line. A secondary line will always come in handy (you can keep it in your bag or leave it at home — it doesn’t matter. Since you don’t need to top it up with credits, you’re guaranteed PHP 600.00 worth of calls and text in cases of emergency.

4. For people who need to monitor bill usage. Since you don’t really get a statement of account for prepaid lines, the Freedom Plan is an easy way to deploy hundreds of new numbers across the workforce. You will be able to monitor consumption and usage because it is attached to a monthly billing system which you can see.

N.B. If you’re curious to how the PHP 600.00 credit limit thing works, say you want to avail of the PHP 1,000.00 unlisurf package for your plan. Since you start out with a PHP 600.00 credit limit you’ll need to pre-pay at least PHP 400.00 to make the balance so you don’t end up hitting your credit limit. As you stay longer with your plan, the credit limit can be increased.