While Asus may have had the early advantage in the ultra-portable laptop race, the rest of the pack is catching up as their second generation devices are slowly trickling in. To be more specific, Dell has unveiled their next netbook offering, the Inspiron Mini 12. This new version comes with a large 12-inch display, a first in the netbook industry. Two variants will be offered under this new line: a 1.3GHz Atom Z520 model and a 1.6GHz Atom Z530 version. Windows XP and Ubuntu will still be the OS options for 2008 but come 2009, Windows Vista will likewise be available as well. There will also be 60GB or 80GB HDD options and a 6-cell battery upgrade that’s definitely a welcome treat. The Mini 12 might be larger due to the bigger screen, but it’s also slimmer measuring in a mere 21mm thin. It’s scheduled to roll out internationally in November, but it will still depend on the local distributors on when it will exactly become available in their respective markets. The US starting price is $600 or close to P29K when converted using a $1=P48 exchange rate. It's not exactly cheap, but with a thinner profile and a size that's close to regular laptop, this might be the best netbook to date as far as form factor design is concerned. With the Inspiron Mini 9 yet to become available in the market, it makes you wonder; will Dell Philippines completely skip out on the Mini 9 in lieu of the Mini 12 or will they just push back the debut of the Mini 12? I’m hoping that it’s the former since this looks like a better deal than what the Inspiron Mini 9 has to offer.
October 2008 Archives
Looking like a blast from the past, the new Motorola Aura is bringing back into fashion the old switchblade design and pimps it out to great new heights. The Aura has a grade 1 62-carat sapphire crystal lens to protect its screen, a stainless steel body that has been electro- and hand polished, and Swiss-made and custom-engineered rotating mechanism with 130 precision ball bearings. Plainly put, this is one well crafted mobile phone for the discerning buyer. Unfortunately, as luxury phones often go, you won't find high-end features on this baby. It only comes with a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, EDGE, and text and e-mail capabilities which is about as standard as it gets when dealing with mid-range mobile phones of today. So, how much will this baby cost? You can land yourself one if you've got $1,999 to spare. Look for it to be released anytime now as its scheduled availability date is in the beginning of the 4th quarter of 2008 which is just right about now. Will it be available locally? I don't see why not though an exact date of its release is anybody's guess at the moment.
While the MSI Wind may already be considered a success in the local market, it is apparent that MSI is not content with just one netbook under their name as they’ve announced the Wind 2 set for a November debut in Asia. You can expect a new body design, SSD storage options, 3.5G modem, and of course, an Intel Atom processor. While the price is not yet definite and no exact figure has officially been given, rumor has it that it might cost roughly $600 or P28K. It’s really not that affordable, but hey, considering the Wind ranks as one of the top netbooks in the market today in sales as well as in performance, this second iteration might just be worth it. If you’re on the hunt for a netbook that’s worth investing in, I would suggest you wait for the Wind 2 (U120) to arrive first before making any purchases at the moment. Besides, if you don’t like it, its presence in the local market will drive current prices down which will result in giving you a better deal in the end. Let's just hope they stay true to the November release date so we won't have to wait long for its availability. As for current MSI Wind owners, you can download the latest BIOS to get some added speed for your soon to be outdated netbook.
It seems like HP’s taking another shot at the mobile phone biz as they’ve just recently unveiled two new iPAQ Messenger handsets. The HP iPAQ Data Messenger is a touchscreen phone that also has a QWERTY keypad hidden underneath its 2.8-inch 320x420 pixel touchscreen display. Slide it out sideways and you'll get the convenience of a full keybaord plus the added appeal of a touchscreen device all in one phone. It comes equipped with a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3G/HSDPA connectivity. It also has 128MB SDRAM for applications, 256MB flash ROM, microSD card slot for additional storage options, and runs on Windows Mobile 6.1. The HP iPAQ Voice Messenger, meanwhile, offers more or less the same features in a candybar form factor. It doesn't come with a touchscreen display, but also incorporates a full QWERTY keypad albeit the keys being much smaller than the Data Messenger. The HP iPAQ Voice Messenger is expected to cost $570 while the HP iPAQ Data Messenger will fetch for $680 when they both become available in the US this coming November. That's roughly P27K and P32K respectively in the local currency. While both iPAQ Messengers seems to be decent enough for the present market, the lack of something new to offer in terms of design and functionality might be its biggest disadvantage. However, if its performance is a lot better than the other phones in its category, then these new iPAQ Messengers might just be the pair that finally puts HP on the global mobile phone map. No word though on international availability, but a safe assumption would be in the early part of 2009.
Those looking to juice out more performance out of thier MSI Wind netbook will be happy know that aside from adding RAM, you can now likewise overclock its processor beyond its normal rated speed. This is thanks to the latest BIOS v1.09 update released by for the Wind. With a simple press of the FN and F10 buttons, you can speed up performance speeds up by 8%, 15% or 24%. According to someone who has already tried this new BIOS out on the Wind, the update allows up to 30% added performance which will come in especially handy for processor intensive programs such as Photoshop and some games. With most netbooks featuring almost similar specs, this new BIOS update might just give the MSI Wind the upper hand in the fast growing netbook market. If you're already an MSI WInd owner, download the new BIOS here. For those of thinking of buying a netbook, this latest news might convince you to get the Wind as opposed to the other more affordabel options available.
We're every bit as curious about the new Asus EeePC S101 as the next hopeful netbook owner out there. While we have yet to hear about its release date, thanks to the interent, we now have some unboxing pics to feast our eyes on. As you can see, Asus didn't hold back in terms of design. The laptop itself is a million times better than the original and current EeePC line in terms of aesthetics and features, and they sure didn't hold back in the packaging department as well. It's housed in a big, sturdy black box and comes with an equally elegant looking sleeve which you can use to carry it around in when on the go. Personally, I love the bigger keyboard and thinner profile, but some of it is a bit over the top and the S101 can do without. With a rumored price of almost $700, Asus could have exercised a little restraint in order to make the price a little bit more reasonable. Anyway, I guess the EeePC S101 isn't exactly for the everyday Joe, and with the extra time and effort they’ve put into its packaging, they've made sure that whoever gets to buy one won't have any second thoughts about the EeePC S101. Who knows, maybe Asus is cooking up a similar looking netbook with less of the bling that's more affordable for the average consumer. That, I think, will be a major hit if and when it does become available.
We’ve got great news for all those Sony Ericsson loyalists and techies who have been patiently waiting for the arrival of the XPERIA X1 locally. We’ve received confirmation that the XPERIA X1 will hit Sony Ericsson concept stores nationwide on Nov. 14, 2008. Sony Ericsson Philippines will also be putting up a dedicated site for the XPERIA X1 which will go live on November 1 for those who wish to make an advanced reservation to be guaranteed a unit when it becomes available. Of course, this is still on a first-come first-serve basis so it still pays to sign up early. As for its price, let’s just say that P40K will be enough to get you one. For our part, we’re cooking up an XPERIA X1 review as we finally got our grubby hands on one, but it’ll take a little bit of time since this baby’s got a ton of features we’d like to go through first before releasing our take on this long awaited smartphone. Is it worth the long wait? We'll soon find out. Just stayed tuned as we've got a lot to say as far as the XPERIA X1 is concerned.
There's no doubt that we the rise of netbook models flooding the market, the ultra-portable and affordable laptop industry is flourishing, but how well is it exactly doing? A recent study done by IDC took into account the combined sales in the European, Middle East and African market and found out that netbook sales made up 7% of total sales for laptops and desktops in the 3rd quarter of 2008. That's roughly 2 million units sold in those regions alone, with Asus and Acer bagging 80 % of units sold. Asus comes as no surprise since they practically gave birth to this new industry, but Acer's inclusion only goes to show how their positioning of the Aspire One, the inclusion of 3G capabilities and tie up with local telecoms in certain regions has led to their success. The IDC also predicts further growth in the market, and considering how the entire world is facing a global economic crisis, we believe in their prediction. As consumers become more wary of their expenses, the netbook is providing hopeful laptop owners with an affordable option that is capable of meeting the daily computing needs of the average user. With the findings of this study, manufacturers will now be more reassured that all their efforts are not going in vain. I guess it's also safe to assume that we can expect better and more affordable products in the months to come. I can't wait to find out what 2009 has to offer as far as the netbook industry is concerned.
While it's already confirmed that both Globe and Smart will offer the BlackBerry Bold in the local market, we have yet to receive news of when and if the touchscreen-equipped Storm will make it to Philippine shores. Now, to further complicate things for the frugal shopper, word on the net has it that RIM has a 5-megapixel camera phone and a successor to the Storm already in the works.
According to two independent sources, the 5-megapixel phone will feature an auto-focus camera, 1GB RAM and a "near HD quality" display. If everything goes according to plan, this will be the best imaging BlackBerry device to date. Design wise, it could look like a fusion between the Storm and the Bold which could mean a touchscreen phone that's equipped with QWERTY keypad. No details were divulged regarding the Storm 2, but we're guessing it's the one that will support 850MHz and 1900MHz 3G spectrum bands for use in more countries. So, with this bit of info regarding new and better BlackBerry devices in the pipeline already, are you still interested in getting the BlackBerry Bold when it comes out? Personally, I'd wait, but hey, in the world of gadgets and technology, everything will eventually become outdated anyway so it's really all up to you if you'd rather get what's available right now or wait for the next batch of device to come out first.
While the Nokia N96 holds a better ranking in the Nseries hierarchy as opposed to the yet-to-be-released N85, a review has confirmed our earlier suspicon that the N85 is better than the N96. True, the N96 migh have DVB-H and a larger 8GB internal memory, but these two features aren't necessarily deal breakers in the greater context of things. DVB-H usage, particulary, is limited to a particular network locally and has very little application internationally. The 16GB capacity, on the other hand, can be addressed by available memory cards in the market. Meanwhile, the N85 does have something that everyone will immediately appreciate and the N96 sorely misses; a brilliant OLED display. Apart from that, they more or less are the same in terms of deisgn and features which makes the N85 seem like a better choice. However, since the N85 is yet to become available locally, the N96 is still currently the best option as far as Nseries phones go. Nevertheless, if you can muster up enough patience, it would be advisable to wait for the N85's debut before making any impulse buys at the moment. Provided, of course, that the N85 won't be more expensive than the N96 when it does go on sale, then it would be definitely be a more suitable alternative to the hyped N96.
The HTC Touch HD sure made a good first impression when it debuted on the internet, and many were left wondering when it will become available and how much it will cost. Well, good news folks as we now have learned that it will hit the European market on November 6 with an estimated price of 649 Euros. Based on today's exchange rate, that would roughly amount to P42K which is just a hair more expensive than the local price of the 8GB 3G iPhone (prepaid kit). No word though on its international roll out, but I figure we'll be hearing about it pretty soon. Knowing how much it might cost, are you still interested in getting the HTC Touch HD if and when it does become available? Sure, you can make a case about its large screen and better camera, but does it have enough features and specs to make it a worthy buy at that price point? If you're looking for a serious mobile imaging phone, I would recommend you look into the latest offerings from LG and Samsung; the KC780, and the M8800 Pixon. Yeah, the 5-megapixels of the Touch HD sounds impressive, but IS, face-detection, and other similar features on a phone sounds better. The large 3.8-inch display is unique to the Touch HD, but are you willing to spend P42K for a phone that you know will eventually be out-classed by something better down the road with a more or less similar price? Without a doubt, the HTC Touch HD does have some very notable specs, but in today's trying economic times, its steep price tag might just be its biggest drawback.
Apple has just launched its redesigned and full-featured Macbook family that keeps it up-to-date and sets a new trend in laptop computing. As you can see, they all now sport the same keyboard design and the new screens found on the Macbook and Macbook Pro ties them in nicely with the rest of the iMac family. Aside from the aesthetic changes, all Macbooks now come with NVIDIA graphics, instant-on LED-backlit displays, arsenic-free glass to protect the screen and an all-new and innovative glass Multi-Touch trackpad that’s bigger and better than conventional trackpads. Limited to the Macbook and Macbook Pro line, it’s 40% larger giving users more space to navigate and supports multi-touch gestures which was first introduced and popularized by their iPhone. Similarly, the Macbook Pro and Air also now come equipped with a new Mini DisplayPort which makes it compatible with the newly launched Apple LED Cinema display. Now we've gotten those details aside, let’s hop on to the specific changes in each member of the Macbook family. The Macbook now comes in an all metal enclosure which makes it now at par with the Macbook Pro in terms of design. Likewise, you can find an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor under the hood. Hopefully, this time around, NVIDIA won’t be the cause of malfunctioning Macs as the case was in the past. Anyway, the good news is that this new Macbook is now more affordable with a starting price of $1299. Two models will be available: a 2.0GHz variant with 160GB HDD, and a 2.4GHz model with 250GB HDD and a backlit keyboard. The 15-inch Macbook Pro meanwhile features the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processor and dual graphics chips for performance flexibility. Users will have the option of using either the power-saving integrated 9400M graphics or the more powerful 9600M GT for better graphics. It’s also slimmer at 0.95-inches, but slightly heavier at 5.5 pounds. Starting price for the refreshed Macbook Pro is at $1999 with two models under its wing: 2.4GHz with 250GB HDD, and a 2.53GHz with 320GB HDD. There’s also a 17-inch version that comes with 2.6GHz processor and 320GB HDD or 128GB SSD, but doesn’t feature the new look and dual GPU. Last, but not the least, is the Macbook Air. While little changes can be found to its exterior, users can now either avail of a 120GB HDD version or a 128GB SSD variant. The new NVIDIA GeForce 9400M is there and complementing it is a faster architecture to provide better performance. Starting price kicks off at $1799. Not quite the changes we had in mind, but the added storage capacities might be good enough for first time Macbook Air owners. Overall, the new Macbook family looks better than ever. Sure, there are laptops out there that are still a whole lot cheaper than what Apple is offering, but I highly doubt that they come with the same quality, durability and reliability that Apple users have grown accustomed to over the years.
Lg's got a new monster megapixel camera phone. The LG KC780 features an 8-megapixel camera with a bunch of imaging you won't usually find in typical cam-phones. It's got face and smile detection, a variety of shooting modes including a smile shutter and "Beauty Mode" which automatically removes spots and blemishes on people's faces, an image stabilizer, "Smart Light" setting that adjusts brightness, and an ISO 1600 which is unheard of in camera phones. It also comes with a unique "Smart Bluetooth" function which can turn the phone into a mobile webcam. That's a bucket load of functions that truly set the LG KC780 apart from the rest. As far as its other specs go, the LG KC780 packs a decently-sized 2.4-inch 240x320 QVGA display, FM radio, 140MB internal memory, triband GSM, GPRS/EDGE connectivity, Bluetooth 2.1, and an average 900 mAh battery. Yup, no 3G, WiFi and GPS but I guess those set of features only come secondary to its main function as a mobile camera which is probably why it got the boot in order not to jack up the cost significatnly. It'll be launched in Europe in November with other countries in Asia following thereafter. No word though on pricing, but one definitely sure, the LG KC780 has want it takes to take on another super camera phone, the recently launched Samsung's M8800 Pixon. I guess camera phones have indeed gone a long way since those VGA-equipped phones of yesteryear.
Nokia Philippines is giving you more reasons to get their latest Eseries phones. Aside from featuring all the modern connectivity features and a bundle of productivity tools housed in a very compact and elegantly designed body, buying either a Nokia E71 or E66 phone will entitle you to two months free WiFi usage in Airborne Access hotspots. Not good enough for you? Well, there's more. Users with the most number of login times for the week will win an additional 6 months of free WiFi access. Now if that doesn’t win you over, I don’t know what will. For more details, check out Nokia Philippines’ website. Both the Nokia E71 and E66 are available now with a suggested retail price of P23,690 and P22,890 respectively. This is one offer that will surely bring out the best in these new Eseries phone at no added cost.
Apparently, LG has more plans in store for their 5-megapixel touchscreen phone, the Viewty , as they've just released a white version of it. The bad news is for hopeful owners is that it's currently limited to the Korean market, but don't be surprised if it become available in the local market as I'm sure importers and resourceful individuals will find a way to get this baby as it definitely looks way cooler than the orginal Viewty. Anyway, if you think the Viewty is a bit on the hefty side, the thinner successor to it, the Renoir, has been anounced already so you can just watch for that one to become available locally. While we're on the matter of new colored iterations, HTC has likewise released several new colors for their Touch Diamond. Aside from the original black, now there's white, blue, red, yellow, orange, violet, purple, and brown. I guess they've seen how successful Apple has been with their colorful iPods, so why not apply the same principle to mobile phones, right? No word though on when and where these will become available, but I have a feeling that it'll hit online stores first and in time for the holiday shopping rush.
Samsung has officially announced its brand new M8800 Pixon mobile phone. It’s another touchscreen-enabled device that features a 3.2-inch 400x240 display, 8-megapixel camera with a host of imaging features such as face recognition, smile detection and a bunch of others, triband HSDPA, GPS, Bluetooth, FM radio, DivX playback and an accelerometer as well. Unlike its other touchscreen brethren, the M8800 runs on a proprietary OS as opposed to more popular systems such as Windows Mobile and S60, and lacks WiFi. However, with so many imaging features, one can probably look past those shortcomings. It’s expected to start shipping in November with a price of 550 Euro, roughly $800 in US currency. It'll probably make an RP debut in early 2009 that is unless Samsung Philippines decides to push it for an earlier release which we'll surely appreciate.
Say goodbye to the toy-like Eee PC, and say hello to the more luxurious looking Asus S101. Aimed at providing the mobile techno-warrior with an affordable yet compact netbook solution, the Asus S101 features everything you can expect from an ultra-portable of today and then some. It's wicked thin measuring a mere 18mm in thickness and has an Intel Atom processor at its very core. Rounding up the rest of its specs are 1GB RAM, 10.2-inch wide LED-backlit 1024x600 252K display, WiFi 802.11n compatible, Bluetooth, multi-touch touchpad, non-removable 2450 mAh battery, and a variety of SSD storage options to choose from. The 16GB SSD variant will come with Windows XP and is expected to cost $699, while the Linux-based 32GB SSD and 64 GB SSD versions will fetch for $699 and $799 respectively. It may not be as affordable as the first batch of Eee PCs, but with its ultra-slim form factor, users might find its more expensive price worth it. Besides, its still a whole lot cheaper than the Macbook Air, but then again, the Asus S101 isn't a Mac. No word though on when it will be released locally so just stay tuned for future updates.
Those looking to own a touchscreen phone but have been turned-off due to high prices will be happy to know that LG is coming out with a more viable option. The LG KP500 looks like your typical touchscreen-equipped mobile phone. It feautures a 3-inch 240x400 262K TFT display, 3-megapixel camera, quad-band GSM, GPRS/EDGE connectivity, FM radio, accelerometer, on-screen QWERTY keyboard, 12fps video recording, Bluetooth, 46MB internal memory, and microSD card support. It'll be available in four delectable colors to choose from: black, brown, gold and silver. Yeah, it's doesn't come with 3G and WiFi connectivity, but it does however come with an attractive $350 price tag exclusive of carrier subsidies which basically means that when it does get offered by a telecom, it's price will even be lower making it one of the most affordable full-touchscreen phones in the market to date. Now this is one way to truly make a mark in the highly competitive mobile phone industry which everyone will surely appreciate. No word though on its global release, but I'm optimistic that it shouldn't be too long before we see it available in our local stores. Let's just hope that the low price still remains even with the inclusion of local taxes.
Everybody's been wondering when Flash will become available on the iPhone, and while speculation has been in the air for quite sometime now, it was just recently wherein everything was finally confirmed. Yes, Adobe does have intentions on releasing a Flash player for the iPhone, but as Jens Brynildsen, a Flash expert, reports, it's not up to Adobe on when to release it, but rather, Apple still has the final say on it:
"Upon a direct question from the audience, Paul Betlem for the first time publicly confirmed that Adobe is actively developing a Flash Player for Apple’s popular phone. He said (not direct quote) ‘My team is working on Flash on the iPhone, but it’s a closed platform.’ He noted that Apple makes all the decisions, so in other words, the ball is in Apple’s yard at this time. If Apple says yes, Adobe will have the player available in a very short time."Paul Betlem is Senior Director of Engeneering for Adobe Systems, and based on his revalation, it is all up to Apple when they will give the go signal for the Flash player to become available for the iPhone. Why the heistation on Apple's part? It could be in part on how Flash-based applications on the internet might rival existing apps offered in the App Store which might lower their income from their own revenue-generation feature. However, I personally don’t think that Flash will have any major effect in total app sales. On the contrary, if and when the iPhone becomes Flash-compatible, it will make the iPhone a more serious contender in the market. I'm just hoping that Apple also sees it this way so that Flash will finally make it to the iPhone.
Nokia officially joins the likes of Apple, Samsung, HTC and LG in the touchscreen mobile phone biz when they finally unveiled the much-talked-about Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone. It was previously referred to as the Tube, but I guess the XpressMusic name is more apt to its features. So, aside from its moderately-sized 3.2-inch display, what else can we find on the 5800? Well, there's a 3.2-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and LED flash, stylus input support, WiFi, 3G/HSDPA, GPS, 81MB of internal memory and microSD card support up to 16GB. It’s expected to cost 279 Euros or $392 when it hits select markets before the year ends. With its reasonable price, one would easily wonder what the drawbacks are in this phone, and that's what we'll probably look for once it does become available to the public. For now, we can just add the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone to our growing list of devices we're looking forward to in the months to come.
Nintendo made sure that with their new DSi they won’t suffer the same criticism that their rival Sony got when they unveiled their new PSP. The DSi may generally look similar to the DS, but bring out your measuring tape and you’ll discover that this one’s 2.6mm thinner. It also has larger screens measuring in at 3.25-inches, enhanced audio capabilities, an SD card slot, and comes with two cameras. The GBA slot, however, got the boot, but I guess that's a worthy trade-off for the added specs. A DSi shop is also in the works where users can download DSiWare using accumulated Nintendo points (formerly known as Wii points). New DSi owners automatically get free 1000 points to use until March 2010. It will become available in Japan starting November 1 for ￥18,900 (USD$180). Other markets, including the Philippines I suppose, will get it early next year. It’s about time Nintendo updated their DS console, and by the looks of it, they've done a pretty good job so far.
It seems that Armani isn't quite satisfied with just releasing one mobile phone under its brand name and has come out with a follow up dubbed as the Night Effect. It's still in collaboration with Samsung and from the looks of it, every angle will showcase the Emporio Armani brand on it. As for its feature set, it isn't bad at all as it comes with a 2.2-inch AMOLED display that's reinforced with glass, 3.2-megapixel camera, quad-band EDGE/HSDPA, FM radio, dedicated music controls on the side, Bluetooth and 120MB internal memory expandable through a microSD card slot. It also stylishly integrates a wrap-around lighting system which should serve as additional style points, but as evidenced in this video, it's a little bit too cheesy for my taste with all the blinking and color-changing lights. Anyway, if you're one of those brand-conscious individuals who consider the name more important than the overall performance of the phone, you can head on over to Europe as its expected to debut in that region in November, or you could wait for it to hit South East Asia and the Middle East thereafter. It'll be available in white and black, and is rumored to have a selling price of €300 which is roughly $439 when converted.
While Globe may have managed to snag some precious air time on television with their Watyawannawin campaign, Smart was apparently the first to offer such a service for their subscribers. So what's unique in Smart Rewards? Well, for starter, once you register, you automatically get free 500 points instantly. Smart also provides you with a convenient way of checking your earned points online with a dedicated website just for this service. There’s also no indication of how long it will run which more or less means that it’s here to stay unlike Globe's offer which will end next year. No grand raffles here, though, but you can, however, use your earned points to get free text messages, bill rebates or handset discounts. For more information, you can check out the Smart Rewards website. Register now so you can earn back every peso you've spend on your Smart subscription.