ACER has officially entered the Philippine Windows Mobile market with the launch of the DX650. if you want to be updated with more news about mobile phones and gadgets in the Philippines, you may subscribe to this blog.
The unit that was sent to me comes running with Windows Mobile 6.1 and like its Glofiish predecessors also comes with the SPB Shell GUI. There doesn’t seem to be any difference with this version compared to the previous one found in the DX900 and X610.
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 I recently got myself a SUN prepaid kit. I had to. Let’s just say that a number of factors led to me finally spending P70.00 for a new SIM by recommendation of Kenna — figures she works for SUN — I had to get one for my blog to make it easier for people to contact me, whom I didn’t know personally.
The two three motivators were a series of seminars to be conducted for a non-profit group this coming Friday, a small social experiment with Jonas Diego, Fritz, Marcelle, Jeff and a few more bloggers for Axe (yes! the deodorant!). It’s a viral campaign they’re doing and I’m pretty hyped about it – the schedule is fit for a rockstar: invading three bars from 9 PM to 4 AM on Friday. I hope I can keep up with THE Fritz. And yeah, I opted to get a second SIM for this purpose, more for security reasons. Hyuk! My number is here.
Oh and yeah, the last motivator is really to find a SIM for my spare review phones. For the past couple of months I’ve been using my uMobile SIM for spare units. I mean why not, right? It’s the proper way to review telecommunications products without the hassle of swapping my SMART SIM (I’m on a BlackBerry consumer plan but the BlackBerry Pearl is still somewhere in Canada for repairs).
Confession time: I lost my uMobile SIM. Yep. Misplaced. Got blown away by the wind. Got sucked by the vacuum cleaner. Oh well. So I’m on SUN again (used to have a SUN SIM back in 2006 and boy the service was bad). I think everyone deserves second chances, albeit first impressions were not that happy – there’s no signal in my room. Between Globe, SMART and SUN, the latter has the weakest signal – no signal at all! On the upside it allowed me to do something really geeky and connect my phone via Bluetooth to the desktop and use the desktop SMS function that wirelessly transmits the message to the phone outside the room. Really unnecessary. But geeky though.
I’m reposting the Verzio Envii review I wrote a couple of months ago for MANUAL. Credit goes to MANUAL Magazine, July 2008 Issue. And might I add, it’s silly that I’m running my secondary line on a more advanced phone! Review after the break.
Sadly I wasn’t able to take a photo. I was in the middle of a meeting when a friend pulled out a Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1, SE’s latest Windows Mobile enabled device. The phone was smaller than I had anticipated, although heavier than my Nokia N82. It is perhaps the most elegant Windows Mobile devices I’ve ever held, with the slight sexy curve that tilts the screen and keyboard for easier viewing.
The XPERIA X1 is a matured device in the sense that it runs on one of the most popular operating systems (Windows Mobile 6) and yes, it does have a good camera. I got the shock of my life. Perhaps Sony did lend it’s imaging technology to make Windows Mobile imaging a better place.
What I found a little off was the usability of the menu system that was haphazadly inspired by the iPhone and HTC Touch. The menus would move around in a cascade or column but the truth is, I found this to be eye candy than utility, because I’d always end up on the Windows Mobile “Start” screen if I wanted to find something.
The XPERIA X1 is a conversation piece because of its elegant looks. It is also expensive, at above the P40,000 price range, which is typical for the higher end devices powered by Windows Mobile. If you’ve been meaning to upgrade your WM6 smartphone to something more elegant, this may be the device for you. Nice camera too.