Summary of the SMART + HTC Partnership party and the launch of the HTC ChaCha Facebook phone. This event trended on Twitter worldwide.
That event was epic. SMART announced their exclusive partnership with HTC for carrying all their smart phones. It’s part of their positioning as the Android brand in the Philippines.
Disclosure: I’m a consultant for SMART Communications.
EDIT II: Made a correction with the DX900 – it has a 3MP camera, not 1.3MP. The technical paper had a misprint.
Today, I’m inspired to write about a bit of history in the tech scene. Back in 2004 an obscure brand of hardware running what is now known as Windows Mobile came to the Philippines. That brand was E-TEN, and though the name in local tech has been forgotten it was one of the more brazened competitors to the O2 XDA line which was the most popular brand of “PDA Phones” during that time. Of course, O2 wasn’t a manufacturer in the strict sense, but a telco – and the XDA device was manufactured by HTC, O2’s OEM (O2 was a EU based telco that just strapped the brand onto the units). HTC grew in proportions, at least in the Philippines, overtaking E-TEN. They rebranded to DOPOD and then back to the HTC we know today, responsible for such sexy devices like the HTC Touch line.
But what happened to E-TEN (the last thing I wrote about them was with regards to the M600 Communicator)?? They became famous in the European market as they were the first to integrate GPS onto their smartphones, a MUST in the region. E-TEN made very decent phones, slightly cheaper to the O2 XDA. But they weren’t well marketed and have thus since faded locally.
… Until they relaunched into their new commercial brand — Glofiish. And this late December of 2008 and pushing forward to 2009, Glofiish is invading Philippine shores. I needed to give the backgrounder because not only is the history interesting, it is also a way for me to say that Glofiish isn’t at all a newbie in the mobile space. As a trump to this, ACER acquired Glofiish in March of 2008, a subtle way of saying that they will be moving into mobile phones this 2009. Watch for it!
I’ve had the privilege to break the local news (the devices are all over the Internet, but not in local cyberspace) on two “new” Glofiish devices that is, if I am not mistaken already available in the handheld market: the Glofiish DX900 and the Glofiish X610. In summary, the DX900 is a Windows Mobile 6.1 handheld that runs on dual SIM technology while the X610 is an affordable Windows Mobile 6.1 handheld at less than P20,000.00
Let’s get on with the show and tell.
Glofiish DX900 (P29,990)
The DX900 is a dual SIM Windows Mobile 6.1 device. It needs to be noted that although both SIM cards can be active, only one SIM supports HSDPA while the other can only support EDGE. This isn’t really a disadvantage in itself as usually, one telco has better data rates and connectivity than the other. In the photos, I’m running a Red Mobile SIM and a SUN Cellular SIM for illustration.
In terms of specs, the DX900 comes with all the bells and whistles of a Windows Mobile 6.1 device – WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.8 inch screen and GPS tracking. The unit is powered by a Samsung 533MHz processor and can store 128MB of RAM (256MB ROM). TV out and a built in accelerometer are added features, apart from a decent 3MP camera and secondary VGA camera in front.
In terms of real estate design, the DX900 is probably one of the best Windows Mobile devices I’ve held because the finish doesn’t oil easy. Unlike other flimsy devices that doesn’t have any sense of grip, the DX900’s outer face grips easy and isn’t “boxy.” In fact, if not for the logo, it could be mistaken for an HTC Touch device.
Glofiish X610 (P19,990)
The Glofiish X610’s strength is that is very affordable, without compromising essential features for a Windows Mobile device. In the past, WM enabled smartphones go for above the P30,000 mark, so the X610 is a rather promising device given its price point alone.
Unlike the DX900, the X610 doesn’t sport 3G connectivity. It has a 2MP camera and 64MB of RAM (128MB flash ROM).
The DX900 and X610 both come with the SPB UI, a custom interface built into Glofiish devices in the similar way that the Sony Xperia, Samsung OMNIA and the HTC Touch line have a customized home screen over and above the default Windows Mobile Start menu. The interface supports multitouch features allowing you to flip your thumb through the screens in the same way an iPod touch / iPhone works. It isn’t as versatile, but it is nonetheless a breath of fresh air as there is almost no UI lag in the screen flipping.
Above is a shot of the X610 in “mid flip.”
The Glofiish X610 and DX900 will without a doubt appeal to fans of Windows Mobile. This platform has been around for quite sometime and has overtaken Palm by more than a mile (that is, until we see Palm 2.0?). Still, if you’ve been barricaded by the price point of most WM-based devices you can now breathe a sigh of relief as we now have a sub 20k device that runs on Windows Mobile 6.1. We also have a dual SIM option for those who want to stick to WM because of investments they made into the OS for app purchases.
As for technical support, Glofiish will have local servicing and warranties as well.
So Art “no rice” Samaniego (inside joke, folks! 🙂 ) calls this the “Ugly Betty” of the mobile phone industry. It is by far the most interesting piece of technology since the iPhone because it is the first implementation of Google’s Android OS. So it is indeed curious, and thanks to Art I was able to take a few shots of the G1, which was manufactured by HTC.
More photos and extensive first impressions after the jump.