Mostly Everything

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.

Mostly Everything

BlackBerry Torch 9800: You want one. No, really you do! Buy it. Buy it. Buy it.

EDIT: Here’s a post from my friend Eric on his BB6 experience.

Wow. Talk about delayed. The BlackBerry Torch you see here was released in the middle of 2010. It’s only now I’m reviewing it. To be fair, I haven’t seen a lot of people using this phone as it arrived late in the Philippines. In fact, back at Mobile World Congress, RIM’s booth was all over the Torch and their tablet, the Playbook which is supposedly out globally this April.

Mostly Everything

“Jayvee, you’re the first person outside Microsoft Philippines to see this”

EDIT: My friend Johnny Benitez from Microsoft has also posted his first impressions on Facebook.

Before I continue let me just say that I haven’t felt the adrenaline of chancing upon a gadget like this since the early 2000’s. Back then when it was a battle between Palm and Windows Mobile, I’d have Elbert Cuenca calling us to hurry over to Microwarehouse to see a then flagship m515 in the flesh, complete with blurry photos. I had been working on getting this scoop for a while and finally, effort paid off.

This is an industry exclusive. I’m apparently the first person outside Microsoft Philippines to be able to hold the new HTC Mozart, the first Windows Phone 7 device launching before the holidays. Thinking of an iPhone for Christmas? Hold your horses first.

Above: The new events calendar is color coded to match different synched accounts (via email including Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange Server) and yeah even Facebook Events … all color coded baby.

Here’s what you need to know:

Mostly Everything

Unboxing the iPod nano (6th Generation 2010)

This is it. This is what everybody’s been raving about. The “flagship” iPod product that caught everybody’s attention and stole the show is the new 6th generation iPod nano. It’s more than an iPod — it’s an accessory. Add a strap and it’s a watch.

Mostly Everything

2010 Honda City: Thoughts after the first 1,000 km check up

Some of you may have heard about the unfortunate “Almost Tubbataha” ordeal which I went through together with several other diver friends last month. I came home with a broken vacation, low spirits, and the nervousness of not having our money reimbursed. This all pulled through of course, but that’s not the point of this post.

I came home very frustrated so I called Honda and pushed them to try their very best to deliver a 2010 Honda City which I had been processing since about two months ago, with the help of Hotwire guru Mitch Genato. They pulled through. I would have expected the car when I had gotten back from my dive trip, but I thank Honda for lifting my spirits, even for a bit, with an early delivery.

Initially I was thinking of getting a Toyota Vios, but the timing of the recalls, reinforced by Mitch’s advice convinced me to get a Honda. My first Honda (my first car, really, with my own hard earned money). In our family, we have a history of Toyota loyalty and a Mazda MPV somewhere there. If I had waited longer, the Ford Fiesta would have been a good choice as well. Had I the money, the up and coming Mazda 6 would also have been a great choice (geeky remote door locks without having to push a button and headlights that turn to follow the curve). I’m not really a car guy — but the geeky appeal of the Mazda 6 is too hard to resist.

Alas, I had neither leisure time nor money to spend so I “settled” (settled is a bad choice of word) for the 2010 Honda City.

It’s beautiful. It’s autobot front grill synchronizes macho and sexy into one menacing front. The trunk space is huge (it frikken’ fits this monster Core i7 rig that Intel lent me) and for the most affordable series (I got the cheapest version of the City, the “A” series with manual gear shift), it looks like Honda gave me more than what I was asking for. After my first drive, I had no regrets to foregoing the Vios. The 2010 City is elegant and edgy.

Compared to the new Civic that seems rather sporty, the City seems to have taken the place of the Civic’s reputation in form and shape from 3-4 years ago. Which is why Civic owners have complained about the “low end” City being the new flagship as there isn’t anything low end about it. Overall, the car drives smoothly, and unlike the Jazz or the Mazda 2, it presents a commanding view of the road with the driver’s seat elevated a bit higher than the passenger seats. I had thought this was the only thing that provided the illusion of being high, but after checking out other cars, the City really is taller. The commanding cockpit view, the smooth drive, the silent hum of the engine … all excellent.

Perhaps the most exciting thing it came with was an AUX port for any 3.5mm compatible player so this is where the iPod fits snuggly. And the potential for 5 cup holders. Hee.

I need to stress the trunk space. I can fit over 3 crates full of dive gear into this thing. I love the trunk. It’s like a small portable apartment without the mini bar.

I decided to write this “hands on” after reaching my first 1,000km mark (whoops I’m at 1,400 already!) Honda seems to be a very efficient and friendly customer service program. After having the car delivered, I received a call from Honda Cars Quezon City confirming if everything was OK. The car was delivered in great condition but there was an extra piece of spark plug on the left door handle. Well, no biggie. After my 1,000km check up, I also got a call from Honda asking how the service went. In between these, I got SMS surveys from them asking about the quality of the service. Neat. I feel loved.

2010 Honda City – PHP 680,000.00
I got mine on a 20% downpayment with 60 months to pay. Not really into the reselling of cars after 3 years. According to Honda Cars Quezon City I am eligible for a media discount and this can be processed as a refund even after my purchase. Cool.

The City is an ubiquitous car. With other such vehicles claiming edgy rides, luxury, or sporty feel, Honda released a car that can be a little bit of something for everybody. And that’s not to drown out what it is — an economical car that packs a punch and looks good on the road.

Any 2010 City owners here? I’d appreciate to hear more about the local auto industry … as it comes to no surprise to people that I’m not very adept with car reviews.