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Introducing the HUAWEI Ascend W1, Windows Phone 8 for only PHP 8,990

huawei ascend w1 philippines price

Whoa! Windows Phone 8 for less that P10,000? Nice! Last week, Microsoft Philippines together with HUAWEI unveiled a sub-10k smartphone running on the latest Windows Phone 8 operating system. Historically, there have been other Windows Phone devices that have been released for less than P10,000 yet cannot be upgraded to the latest OS.

Here are the specs:

480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches
5 MP, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Qualcomm MSM8230 Snapdragon
Dual-core 1.2 GHz Krait with Adreno 305 GPU
microSD expansion up to 32 GB
Internal 4GB storage with 512MB RAM

Ascend W1 Huawei's First Windows Phone 8 Smartphone Now Out at P8990_12April2013 (6)

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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.

SMART LTE BORACAY

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.

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SMART Communications launches LTE

By the time you read this post, I’m still in the middle of the ocean, finishing our last day of diving Tubbataha Reef. When I get back, I fly, almost immediately to Boracay. I’m there with my partner-in-crime Andi9 so we’ll be streaming live soon!

SMART is launching LTE technology and doing the entire demo in Boracay.

LTE is a modulation technique that is designed to deliver 100Mbps (DL) per channel and give individual users performance comparable to today’s wired broadband. It was bound to happen. The question was when. To put things into simpler terms let’s have a look at a short history of how mobile phones work:

2G GSM Technology
Remember your Nokia 5110 and 3210? There. Calls and SMS. That was 2G connectivity.

2.5G Technology
This was the first shot into surfing the Internet with your phone but we were using WAP sites. Remember WAP? Yung parang pangit na website designed for mobile phones using GPRS? That was it. Add your ringtones and picture messages. It got a little better when phones started using EDGE connectivity (popular with BlackBerry then) but that was still not …

3G and 3.5G Technology
This is Internet today. It’s workable but not comparable to the wired connections we have at home. You could surf, email, chat, do your social networking, but it was honestly a bit hard to do things like online gaming and downloading huge files.

4G Technology
This is the next generation of connectivity. 100MBPS. On your phone. Built on top of existing technology. No, you cannot use your current phones or USB dongles to access these speeds. The only phone I know that’s capable of accessing this network is the HTC Thunderbolt. Yeah I think SMART is deploying LTE at the same time as Verizon in the USA. Not sure if the Thunderbolt is launching here though because there’s a slight difference in setup with the LTE here and the one in the USA. I heard they’re shipping in dongles.

So yes if you’re planning on buying a new USB dongle for mobile Internet, I suggest you wait a few. That’s because you can practically achieve faster speeds with costs similar to your current plans.

I’m not sure when exactly SMART is making the commercial announcement (i.e. data plans and rates) but if you leave a comment here they will probably get back to you as a number of them read this cute site.

Oh and just one more thing. In case you’re wondering what the difference between LTE and WiMax is, well the former is GSM-based technology: phones. While WiMax involves a completely new set of hardware and is designed for WiMax-enabled devices.

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Mostly Everything

Day 0: HUAWEI U8300 with cool form factor

At MWC we also cover gadgets that don’t make it to Philippine shores. Here is a phone that I hope will for the sole reason of form factor. Classic brick size, robust QWERTY keypad and BlackBerry Pearl like navi-ball (careful, this is prone to getting dirty!).

Specs: