Mostly Everything

Dual SIM Starmobile Jupiter B305 has removable Bluetooth headset built into phone; only PHP 2,990

With all the hubbub on the smartphone space, let’s take a short break and look into the recent happenings in the feature phone market. Out of nowhere, we have a local phone company called Starmobile launching a stable of new non-smartphones that have a rather interesting twist to the typical offerings.

Mostly Everything

Today I found a pressure cylinder in Makati and actually used it

That dear friends is a pressure canister. Look at it. Just look at it! It’s geeky. Although I had taken my new right out for snorkeling, I still needed to take the whole thing down to at least 60 ft to see if the pressure would give way to flooding. While at the Neo event, Ilyong from Intel suggested I drop by Nautilus as they had a small pressure canister used to test for dive gear leaks.

You see, this was my dilemma: it is common practice to take a new underwater casing down for one dive with tissue paper in the stead of an actual camera to test for leaks. I had not the chance to do this in Anilao over the last weekend as I had a bit of work to finish. The catch is, my next dive would be in Apo Reef — one of the gems of biodiversity in the coral triangle of South East Asia and it so happens to be in the Philippines. A failed Apo – Tubbataha transition journey thanks to Expedition Fleet added to the fervor of really wanting to document this next trip to Apo. Bringing down my gear sans camera would waste one dive worth of documentation.

So I looked for options. According to Ilyong, Jerome had his replacement dive computer brought to Nautilus and submerged in water, sealed simulating the pressure increase to several dozens of meters below sea level. The pressure canister is a cylinder about the size of a beer keg with water and a hose for pumping in air to simulate an increase in pressure. I brought in my case, oiled the O ring, and dumped it in. In nearly 10 seconds, my case was subjected to the equivalent pressure of 100 ft underwater. Wow!

Oh and since I found out all about this during the Neo event, here’s a short commercial:

This is the “new” high end Neo B4105. Look at it! Just look at it! This affordable 14 inch lappie includes an Intel Core i5 430M processor at 2.2GHz (1066 MHz), 3MB L3 Cache, hyper threading and turbo boosting technology, 2GB DDR3 RAM, DVDRW drive, 320GB hard disk space and integrated video. It’s got a 1.3MP webcam, Bluetooth 2.1 and HDMI output. It comes with Windows 7 Starter. Buy it now for only 35,999 (PHP 3,000 0% 12 months). Buy it now!

Also, special thanks to Carol of Nautilus for letting me geek out on her cylinder. If you’re ever in need of a pressure chamber for dive gear and resin, here’s the info:

Nautilus Dive and Sports Center
839 A. Arnaiz Ave. (Formerly Pasay Road)
Midland Mansion, Unit 1/GF Makati City.
(632) 8177293
(632) 8122848
Cell No.
Office Hours
11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Monday to Friday
11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Email address:
[email protected]
Contact Person:
Solomon Young / Carol Young

Mostly Everything

TORQUE GD55 and G88: Cheapest Dual SIM Android Phones

I was in the tail end of nursing a fever when the doorbell rang and a messenger dropped off two Torque phones. Usually, deliveries such as these would come with a lot of PR information but in this particular case, all it came with were the two units (not boxed, no accessories) and a sheet of paper with both IMEI numbers and units. Before turning these things on, I had a feeling what I was going to expect — I once told the guys from TORQUE that they should launch Android based phones soon and win the market share by sheer price. My guess was right when, upon turning on both phones, I was greeted with the Android logo.

Android phones are great — except that they’re a tad expensive. Ladies and gentlemen, these are the cheapest android phones in the market. These units are NOT YET AVAILABLE to the public and DO NOT HAVE a price attached as of late. These are prototypes so what I show you today may change in the next few weeks. What I write here is a fresh look on the two units, straight from my camera and initial tinkering.

Initial Observations:

The main differences between the GD55 and G88 is twofold. The G88 is a DUAL SIM Android phone with a 5MP camera. The GD55 comes with one SIM slot and a 3MP camera. Both units have Bluetooth and WiFi.

There’s a reason why it is priced lower than usual: the GD55 and G88 user interface isn’t as sleek and polished as other Android devices. You can tell from the UI lag. There doesn’t seem to be a way to drag the bottom menu upward as well. You will need to click on the “menu” icon to reveal the main menu. From here, you can drag applications out into the desktop screen.

UPDATE: After typing a few sentences, not once did I get a misspelled word. After using the device’s keypad for quite some time surfing the web, I realized that the keys towards the edges of the screen are cramped up, causing me to misspell some words. The only solution here is, apart from having really adept fingers, is to tilt the device to landscape view.

There is no Android Marketplace installed.

Charging and sync is via miniUSB. After plugging it into my Mac, I didn’t get a notification that I docked the device. I’ll try it with Windows later.

I will try to get more information with regards to the pricing and features (i.e. app store compatibility). TORQUE has a history of producing really good phones for the Philippine market. They have a rather impressive list of products including the F1 Imitation phone, the D100 that uses Nokia BLC batteries and the E72 clone. Now they’ve gone to bringing in more “valued” products with the launch of their Android line. This is Android for Everyone.

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Dual SIM TORQUE F1 Metal at PHP 3,999.00

I’m intrigued with TORQUE’s latest flagship phone for a couple of reasons. In terms of its positioning, it’s supposed to be the classiest of the el cheapo dual SIM phones (LOL!). The mobile’s real estate is covered in metal with the familiar red and black F1 Ferrari colors in leather on the upper back of the device. So while Apple is enjoying its aluminum Macs and HTC is going the teflon route, TORQUE loves the cold embrace of metal. Curious too that this isn’t an official F1 release, but just like a lot of phones from China, this one mimics it quite well.

Read on for my first impressions and more photos.

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Catching my attention with the Sony VAIO F series

Apparently there were three sets of launches yesterday — one for the morning shows, a mid-day “lunch launch” for the media and an evening with the online community. I made like a BLT and sandwiched myself into the noon event.

Great event. Sony launched the new VAIO line, which was shown in CES last year. Although the Z line is their highest tier unit that was showin on a rotating pedestal (main feature is the “speed” vs “stamina” switch turning your VAIO into a Crysis suit), the price point for me was too high at PHP 150,000.00 I’m currently running a VAIO CW prototype (that’s the sexy part — no serial number) which is stock fit for gaming. So the laptop that wow-ed me during the launch was their multimedia VAIO, the F series. The “F” stands for “F*ck you, I have a numerical keypad!” It’s bad ass.

8GB of stock RAM. Just look at it! Just look at it! And a GT330 video card to boot. It is very hard to find a laptop that is stock full of features that allows you to play games. At one point there’s always a compromise. Also, “gaming rigs” sold by most companies come in cheesy packaging. At least this F series is silent about it, preferring the elegant finish of Sony. Also … I cannot reiterate more how it has a numerical keypad!! It’s again, a silent way of saying this monster has a big screen.

I guess Sony’s biggest problem is the import taxation that makes their products more expensive in the Philippines. During the launch, “buying from Hong Kong” was brought up as the price differences are huge. The fact that most of these devices have international warranty also brings about a conundrum. Hm.

On a lighter note, the new Sony netbooks are now more eco-friendly as they don’t come shipped in a box. When you buy one, you get your VAIO in this cute eco-friendly bag.