Monday, April 30, 2012

Win Nokia Lumia 610's and a Trip to Boracay With Globe & DOT's It's More Fun in the Philippines Contest!

Globe Telecom and the Department of Tourism has tied up to spread the It's More Fun in the Philippines campaign across the globe (no pun intended) by coming up with this contest for everyone who loves to create memes for the said campaign.

Image credit:

All you need is some photo or video editing skills to develop and create unique, wacky, and of course fun memes that invites everyone in the world to come in our beautiful country. It can be a photo or a video. So what are you waiting for? Go take your cameras and shoot some awesome photos and/or videos that will be appealing to tourists! This is open to all Filipinos worldwide! Submit your entries at Globe's Facebook page before May 31.

Prizes at stake are four (4) Nokia Lumia 610's and a 3-day family trip to Boracay for the best ever entry! Watch the sample video below as well as the full mechanics after it.


1. All Filipinos, wherever in the world they are, are free to submit entries.
2. To join, participants must capture themselves in a video or photo, solo or in a group, inviting foreigners in a fun way to visit the Philippines.

·Group of dancers inviting Koreans while dancing Tinikling
·A girl climbing a Palo Sebo while inviting Americans

3. Unique pictures and videos will be accepted as long as it shows how fun it is in the Philippines.
4. All submissions must have the DOT tagline "It's more fun in the Philippines" using the Harabara font. It can be placed at any point in the material. It can be shown visually or mentioned verbally.
5. A website portal/application in the Globe Facebook page will be provided by Globe where the videos can be uploaded. Uploader must provide his name, location, and contact details upon submission of entry.
6. Submissions can be made from April 01 to May 31, 2012.
7. The best and most fun submissions will be chosen by Globe and DOT representatives and will be put together in one video invitation for all countries in the world.
8. The commercial will then be released and shown worldwide in various international channels (i.e. TV channels, LED sites abroad, etc.) as the Philippines' invitation to the world.
9. Final products will also be downloadable and share-able from the Globe Facebook page.

1. One Nokia Lumia 610 will be given to the best video submitted for the week.

Globe will announce one winner on these dates:
a. May 7, 2011
b. May 14, 2011
c. May 21, 2011
d. May 28, 2911

2. One 3-day Boracay family package worth P50,000 will be given away for the best video submitted for the entire campaign.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Globe SuperSurf and PowerSurf Glitch - What Really Happened?

Many mobile phone owners who are on Globe's network was able to register to SuperSurf 999 and PowerSurf 499 in the last few days, thanks to a bug on their system.

I first discovered the bug on Facebook when I saw a post that reads:

1. SUPERSURF999 and send to 8888
2. SUPERSURF STATUS and send to 8888

= free 1 month

Out of curiosity, I immediately grabbed my phone and tried if it really works. I didn't even know it was a bug in the first place! All I thought was Globe is having a free SuperSurf 999 promo. Yes it worked, for me. I got a 1 month subscription of SuperSurf, for free. I only have P21 credits on my phone when I tried it.

There were also reports that you can also register to PowerSurf 499, even multiple times. I saw some people on a forum (which I will not mention here for the security of my blog) getting tens, if not hundreds of gigs worth of mobile data.

So what did really happen on Globe's network? I already reached Globe for a statement regarding this incident. But as of today, they has already sent out a notice to everyone who registered on both promos.

Had they not fixed this issue and let people use internet for a whole month, they might have lost millions. I estimate it to be between 1 million to 4 million pesos.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Update for Sony Xperia Arc S, Xperia Ray, and Xperia Neo V Now Available in the Philippines

Heads-up Sony Mobile owners in the Philippines! The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is now available for your devices. My cousin just tipped me that she has just updated her Xperia Arc S to ICS last Tuesday.

I was not able to get more info about the update from her but she said her Arc S got a little bit faster, perhaps due to the more optimized OS.

Some new features and changes with the update:
-Smart lockscreen
-Smart dialer
-New widgets
-Face unlock (front-facing camera required)
-New and improved multitasking UI
-Data usage tracker
-New Performance Assistant app

The update bumps your Xperia's Android version to 4.0.3.

You may not get the update by connecting your phone to your PC and using Sony's PC Companion software for Windows or Bridge for Mac.

Thanks Kate!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nokia Lumia 610 and Lumia 800 Official Price in the Philippines Now Out! Shipping by end-April

Nokia just sent us a press release stating that the Nokia Lumia 610 and Lumia 800 will be available at Nokia Stores by end-April.

The Nokia Lumia 610 is the fourth Windows Phone device by the Finnish manufacturer and is also by far the most affordable phone running on Microsoft's operating system. It has a very distinctive design that will surely appease the youth. It has a 3.7-inch LCD display with ClearBlack technology which is really tried and tested to be a good performer against sunlight. It is powered by a 800 MHz Qualcomm processor. The Nokia Lumia 610 will have an SRP of P10,980.

Another Nokia Windows Phone device, the Lumia 800, will be also available at the same timeframe. It also packs the same 3.7-inch AMOLED screen, powered by a 1.4 GHz processor, an 8 Megapixels camera with Carl Zeiss optics and more! The Nokia Lumia 800 will have an SRP of P23,500

You can get yours pretty soon at your nearest Nokia Store and other retail outlets too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nokia Lumia Devices Delayed For an Indefinite Time in the Philippines?

There has been a report that the launch of all the Nokia Lumia devices in the Philippines 'has been delayed indefinitely'.

The report says that this is because Nokia has entered into a sort-of trap when they signed an exclusivity deal with both Smart and Globe.

Smart and Globe will be exclusively launching the Nokia Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 respectively in the market first. That means that all that Nokia can do is to wait until that deal is up and over.

The Nokia Lumia 610 was also supposed to launch in early April but was also delayed until late April to early May. Same thing also applies to the Lumia 900, which is expected to land on May too.

That means we couldn't see any unlocked Lumia devices at Nokia Stores until Smart and Globe has released them all.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Nokia Lumia 710 - The Young Yet Powerful

Announced back in October last year, the Nokia Lumia 710 is the smaller sibling of the almost similar Nokia Lumia 800. It is primarily aimed to the people who are looking to get their first smartphone without the need of spending out huge sums of money.

The Nokia Lumia 710 is a stylish phone with a very similar looks with the Nokia 603. It's like slapping Windows Phone on that device, then put a bigger screen, upgrade the camera and internals and boom. You've got the Lumia 710.

Nokia Lumia 710 Specifications and Features
3.7-inch LCD screen display with 8000x480 (WVGA) screen resolution @ 252 ppi
Gorilla Glass Display
5 Megapixels autofocus camera with LED flash, f2.4 aperture
720p HD video recording @ 30 fps
1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor
8 GB internal memory
512 MB of RAM
1300mAh of battery - BP-3L
7.6 hrs of talk time, 38 hrs of music playback time
GSM / EDGE - 900/1800/1900
3G/HSPA - 900/1900/2100
Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS

What's in the box?
The package includes the phone, of course, the removable battery (you've read that correctly), the USB charger, the in-ear headset, a separate USB cable and the user guides et al. No, it doesn't come with a rubber case.

PART 1: Hardware and Design

The Nokia Lumia 710 feels so nice to hold in your hand. It has curves all over it which makes it really nice for you to hold. If we'll talk about the screen size, it's got the same 3.7-inch LCD screen with the ClearBlack technology with 800x480 resolution, there's the physical mandatory Windows Phone buttons on the buttom, the proximity and light sensor at the top, and the earpiece beside it.

The unit that I got came in with a white bezel around the screen. It is also available in black.

The Nokia Lumia 710 features a removable back cover, which is a good thing because you can easily swap batteries on the run. The unit that I got has a yellow glossy cover and as you would expect, it will be too attractive to fingerprints and smudges. Just to let you know though, there's also some covers with matte finish.

The phone has a 5 Megapixels autofocus camera with a single LED flash, 1300 mAh battery, it uses a micro-SIM, and yes, it doesn't have a microSD card slot. It comes with an 8 GB internal storage to compensate though. There's some nice holes at the bottom which houses the speaker grille. The speaker is at the 'just good' level. It's not as loud as the Asha 302 that we've previously reviewed.

On the side, right side at least - as the left side is completely bare and empty, is the volume rocker, and the two-stage camera shutter key. You can use the camera key to directly open the camera even if the screen is locked. On the top you can find the micro-USB port, the 3.5mm audio port, and the power key which also doubles as a lock switch. A lanyard hole is also present at the lower right part of the device, a very nice addition.

PART 2: Software

The Nokia Lumia 710 runs on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS. It has a beautiful user interface called Metro. The whole thing is so optimized that everything runs so smoothly even without a dual-core or even quad-core processor. Microsoft has done a really great job on it.

Speaking of the OS, Microsoft does not currently allow OEMs to do their own customizations for their devices. They can only differentiate in this aspect by providing their own exclusive set of apps though.

Nokia has the Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, and Nokia Music. Nokia Drive is so far the most amazing navigation app that I've tried ever. It features offline navigation that will surely be useful once you're in a place where there's no mobile service, and it saves you money too! Nokia has more apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace, one of them is the Creative Studio which provides some cool filters that you can use for your photos.

The Windows Phone Marketplace is getting better and better. They now have about 80,000 items in there and it's still counting. By the way, I suggest you to choose United States as the country on your Windows Live account as the Xbox Live titles does not appear on the Philippine Marketplace.

Moving on the the browser, it runs smoothly on the phone although it still lacking some features such as finding texts on web pages, private browsing, etc. The HTML5 support of the browser is also somewhat lacking, it only scores 138 and as such, some HTML5 websites are not working well.

This is just a quick skimming of my whole review about the Windows Phone operating system, you can read the rest here.

PART 3: Camera

The Nokia Lumia 710 has a 5 Megapixels autofocus camera, the base required on a Windows Phone device. It has a single LED flash and f2.4 aperture, which will make snapping photos in darkness slightly better, of course as long as it is set to night mode.

The camera does not have a continuous autofocus, that means you have to half-press the shutter key to focus on the subject, and then fully press it to snap it. You can also tap on the subject on the viewfinder but it will automatically snap it, kinda different on how it works with other phones.




You can view more sample photos on this Flickr photo set. Overall, the Lumia 710's camera takes very good photos provided that you have a proper lighting, but it gets worse when being used in dark environments if you will not use the LED flash and scene settings properly.

PART 4: Conclusion

The Nokia Lumia 710 is way more affordable than the Nokia Lumia 800 but you almost get the same, save for a more premium build, a better camera, and bigger storage. Either way, I would still recommend this smartphone for the first-time buyers. It's like getting iOS on a Samsung Galaxy Y. Go figure. :)

Hardware and Design - 8/10
Software - 7/10
Camera - 7/10

The Nokia Lumia 710 is now available on Smart for only P10,800 (P450 for 24 months) with their Data Plan 1,000. It includes 500 SMS to all networks, 500 minutes of calls to Smart & Talk 'N Text, and 1 GB mobile data. No info yet regarding the pricing for the unlocked version.

Disclosure: Nokia Philippines provided us this review unit.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Countdown has Started: Samsung teases the 'next Galaxy'

Samsung Mobile just teased the 'next Galaxy' by sending out a mysterious tweet.

The tweet contains a secret word that you need to decode -- tgeltaayehxnx. I'll leave that to you for now.

Skype for Windows Phone is Finally Here!

After so many months of beta testing, Microsoft, and Skype, has finally flipped the switch and now the official Skype app for Windows Phone is now live at the Marketplace!

The new version includes searching for and adding contacts, which were not present on the beta version. Of course just as what you would expect, you can't receive calls while the app is in the background, as you know, Windows Phone does not have the true multitasking.

Anyways, head on to the Windows Phone Marketplace to get the app, gratis.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

LEAK: Is this the Samsung Galaxy S III?

We're still about two weeks away from the unveiling of the 'next Galaxy' but the whole Internet was treated with numerous leaked photos of the alleged Samsung Galaxy S III already.

Vietnamese site has posted a couple of photos and a video, too! The device is a Samsung GT-19300 - official name not yet announced, packs a huge 4.6-inch screen with a 1184x720 screen resolution @ 320ppi, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, aan 8 Megapixels camera, and 16 GB of storage. It also runs on Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. The device is said to have a 2,050 mAh battery capacity with NFC built-in on it.

The source has already pulled-out the video and prevented access to the thread at their website, but Engadget has got us covered. Video can be seen below as well as a photo of the back side of the device.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nokia Lumia 610 Will Be Available Starting End of April: Specs, Price, and Release Date

The most affordable Windows Phone yet - the Nokia Lumia 610 is already set to be released here in the Philippines, well ahead of any other countries!

The Nokia Lumia 610 will be release first here in the Philippines in the end of April, soon followed by China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam in the following weeks - I'm guessing it'll be on May for them.

"The Nokia Lumia 610 will introduce Windows Phone to a new generation of smartphone users, offering something very different to the monochromatic smartphones filling shelves today," said Jo Harlow, Head of Smart Devices at Nokia.

The Nokia Lumia 610 is a budget smartphone running on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, it has a 3.7-inch WVGA screen, a 5 Megapixels shooter with autofocus with LED flash, and 8 GB of internal storage.

Nokia Lumia 610 Specifications and Features
3.7-inch TFT LCD screen display with 800x480 (WVGA) screen resolution @ 252 ppi
5 Megapixels main camera with LED flash with f/2.4 Aperture
720p HD video recording @ 30 fps
8 GB internal storage
256 MB of RAM
1,300 mAh battery capacity
3G / HSPA up to 7.2 Mbps
800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdradon S1 MSM7227A single-core processor
Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

The Nokia Lumia 610 will have an SRP of P10,990 in the Philippines and €189 before taxes and subsidies in other countries.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Windows 8 Editions Announced - Say Hello to a More Simple Naming Scheme

Microsoft has finally outed the new editions for their upcoming operating system, the Windows 8.

We can now safely say goodbye to the old naming scheme, as Microsoft retires the old system of naming Windows SKU's.

Windows 8 will be simply the official name of the operating system for the x86/x64 machines. Under that, there will be only 2 versions, the Windows 8 and the Windows 8 Pro. The former will include most of the features that used to be only available on Ultimate and Enterprise versions of Windows 7, such as changing language packs. Meanwhile the Pro version will include features that's aimed at tech enthusiasts and professionals. It adds encryption, virtualization, PC management, and domain connectivity. The Windows Media Center that used to be available for Windows 7 Home Premium and above will be only available as a paid add-on for Windows 8 Pro.

Finally there's the Windows RT. It will be the name of the WoA (Windows 8 on ARM) from now on. It will be only available pre-installed on tablets and machines that run on the ARM processor. It will come with a touch-optimized version of Microsoft Office. It will not have Windows Media Player on it, but I guess Zune will be there. The Windows RT name is not kinda noob-friendly, in my opinion. If you will check the post on the source below, there's already a lot of comments that suggests Microsoft to change or think of another name for this version.

You can know more about this at the Windows Team Blog.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Samsung to Unveil the 'Next Galaxy' on May 3rd at London

Samsung just started to send out invites for the Samsung Mobile Unpacked event at London where they will unveil the 'next Galaxy' on May 3rd.

The invitation does not scream any clue on what's going to be the name of their next flagship device. We're expecting a 4+-inch screen, a quad-core processor, a RAM somewhere between 1 or 2GB, HD screen, and of course Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The countdown has started. T-minus 17 days.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sony Xperia Arc S, Xperia Ray, and Xperia Neo V Officially Receives Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Update

Sony Mobile just confirmed that the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update is now starting to roll-out to it's 2011 smartphone line - the Sony Xperia Arc S, Xperia Ray, and Xperia Neo V.

The update is now initially available on the European countries of Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Norway.

You can check if the update is now available for your Xperia device by looking up for it's Sales Item (SI) number here. You can check your SI number by removing the battery of your device and looking at the label just below the 'Sony Ericsson' text. Alternatively, you can dial *#*#7378423#*#* and tap Service info > Software info and look for the Customization Version.

You can update by using the PC Companion software available for Mac OS and Windows. There will be no OTA update that will be released.

ICS update for other markets will follow in the next 4-6 weeks.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Nokia Asha 302

Nokia is really aiming on targeting and connecting 'The Next Billion', and to achieve that goal, they need to introduce more and more affordable devices which will offer people the ability to connect with everyone using any available means.

That's where the Nokia Asha 302 comes in. The Nokia Asha 302 is a very affordable phone that you can depend on when it comes to being connected. It has everything on it - fast 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and to sum it up, a QWERTY keyboard.

PART 1: Hardware and Design

The Nokia Asha 302 is just so affordable that I just can't complain about its build. It has a QWERTY keyboard on the front, a panel of keys above it - which has the two soft-keys, call/end keys, the d-pad, and two keys that serves as a shortcut to some built-in apps. For example, you can assign the Contacts key to open your contacts list, and the Messaging key to open your e-mail.

It also has a 3.2 Megapixels camera which is just your average camera (read: fixed-focus). More on that later. Beside the camera you will find the speaker grille, and the latch used to open the back cover below. The metal cover on the back does not attract fingerprints - I find it good!

The Nokia Asha 302 is powered by a 1430 mAh battery, which lasts between 1-2 days of moderate usage, i.e. sending texts, checking e-mails, and using the web browser. Another thing I like here is that it supports USB charging, while the other S40 phones does not. Another thing that I want to share with you, I had a hard time putting in my Sun Cellular SIM card in the sim slot. It just won't lock. I guess the SIM card is just too thick. Argh.

The phone is surrounded by a metallic side, which kinda gives it a glossy and reflective look. On the top is the 2mm charger port, the 3.5mm audio port, and the micro-USB port - which again, you can use to charge it if you have a USB charger. On the left side, you'll see the microSD card slot. The phone doesn't have a volume rocker, which I think is the same as the other S40 phones too. You'll have to use the 'Go to' shortcut to adjust the volume level.

The QWERTY keyboard of the Nokia Asha 302 is very pleasurable to use. I compared it to my sister's Nokia X2-01, and found out that the keyboard of this has a reduced level of noise when pressing the keys. The keys has a matte-like feel, and it has enough grip for a single-handed operation. It has shortcuts to some key functions like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The screen is a 2.4-inch one with 320x240 resolution with 167ppi. As such, you can easily notice the individual pixels with your eye. You can't adjust the brightness level of the screen, but it doesn't bother me too much as it's already bright.

Oh by the way, watch this video I made to see how load the speaker of the Asha 302! It's just loud that I was shocked when I first tried it.

PART 2: Software

Comparison: Nokia C3-00 on the left, Nokia Asha 302 on the right.
The Nokia Asha 302 runs on the trusty ol' S40 (or Series 40) operating system. Apps are still very limited. The OS does not support multitasking, so if you're typing an e-mail and there's an SMS that arrived, you will be unluckily forced to quit that typing session.

Moving on, tasks are done well easily on the Nokia Asha 302, thanks to it's fast 1GHz processor. Opening apps is instantaneous, and loading webpages on the Opera Mini browser is fast enough for this phone. Speaking of the browser, the built-in Nokia Browser is slow. I really know that the old core browser of S40 is still there, Nokia just hid it out of our sight. I suggest that you use Opera Mini instead.

The homescreen is the same as the other S40 phones, you can configure it to display your e-mail or your social networks updates. You can also set it to show your notifications for texts or calls.

Speaking of e-mail, when Nokia announced this device at MWC, they said that this supports Mail for Exchange. It is used to sync your contacts and calendars from different web services, like Google and Hotmail. In the unit that I have, I can't find that option. You can add your Google or Hotmail accounts but that's it. It doesn't sync my contacts and other data.

UPDATE: Just got word that Mail for Exchange support is coming this Q2 2012.

Another thing to add, the QWERTY keyboard also supports some Ctrl (or Control) commands. For example, when typing a message and you want to delete all the texts on the screen, just press and hold the Ctrl key + the letter 'A' key to select all texts, then press delete. Pretty neat, huh. Other commands that also work are cut (Ctrl + X), copy (Ctrl + C), and paste (Ctrl + V). I'm not sure if there are more commands that I missed.

Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networks are built-in on the phone, in one app called Social. There's not much into it, you can perform basic functions like sending a status, or a tweet, or upload a photo.

PART 3: Camera

As I've said before, the Nokia Asha 302 has a 3.2 Megapixels fixed-focus camera. You can't do macro shots on it. Nevertheless, it takes good to good enough photos, with some clear details. Click on the photos to view them in full resolution.

You can also use live frames for some quirky and fun shots, like one of these...

Overall, the camera of the Nokia Asha 302 is good, but obviously not the best.
PART 4: Conclusion

So, is the Nokia Asha 302 a good buy? I can say it depends on you. The S40 OS still doesn't support multitasking and that's a big deal for me. But if you are looking for a fast and affordable phone, with a good camera, and a very good speaker, then yes! At P5,290, this is a good buy although you can still look for other phones at this price range like some very low-end Android phones.

Hardware and Design - 8/10
Software - 5/10
Camera - 6/10

Disclosure: Nokia Philippines provided us this review unit.