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Month: July 2012

Breaking: Vonage Unlimited to Globe Philippines Now Available!

Vonage, a popular VoIP service provider, announced today that it has expanded its unlimited call offers to the Philippines. The company’s new calling plan, Vonage Unlimited to Globe Philippines, provides unlimited calls to over 60 Vonage World locations including the Philippines through Globe Telecom. What exactly this means is, Vonage…

Globe Telecom to Bid for Red Mobile’s 3G Spectrum

In Q1 of 2011, the Philippines telco juggernaut PLDT, announced that it will acquire 51.55% of Digitel’s stake — amounting to Php 69.2 billion at the time the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved the acquisition late last year. The acquisition raised concerns among subscribers for possible monopoly of telecom services, however, NTC has set conditions before it approved the PLDT-Digitel merger. One of such conditions is for PLDT to continue the “unlimited” offers of Sun Cellular, the country’s third largest mobile carrier which was then a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digitel.

Red Mobile

Another significant condition set by NTC is for PLDT to surrender to the regulator one of the 3G frequencies licensed to Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprise, Inc. (CURE), or more popularly known as Red Mobile. Red Mobile is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Smart Communications, a mobile and internet service provider in the country which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PLDT as well.

The iPhone 5 Design is Almost Deciphered [Photos and Video]

Apple is expected to launch comes September its 6th-generation iPhone, the iPhone 5 (ain’t there a better name?) – and while we have seen several leaked images in the past few weeks which suggest the handset’s design, it’s only this time that we can already decipher how, at least the phone’s external build, looks like. The new images that surfaced in the interwebs today — courtesy of iLab Factory, an iPhone repair shop based in Japan — show a purported Black model of the iPhone 5. So how it does exactly looks like? Well, it’s like this:

iPhone 5 Front

Evidently, that rumoured 19-pin mini dock connector seems to be true as seen in the bottom part of the handset. And if indeed this is the real design, the 3.5mm audio jack has been moved to the bottom as well, just beside the left speaker. The volume rockers are still on the same location, together with the mute switch of the left of the handset.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray Review – a Guest Blogger’s Viewpoint

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray was originally released here in the Philippines late last year, but despite being a Gingerbread device that it can’t get head to head with the latest Android handsets today – it still stands out on its category. Yes, Android Jelly Bean is just around the corner but hey, believe it or not — 2012 is still the year of the Gingerbread! And I wouldn’t be surprised if our favorite gadget stores are still selling a gamut of smartphones running Android Gingerbread ’till the rest of the year.

One Gingerbread phone that made to CTB’s review queue is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray. Not exactly an antique in Sony’s Xperia lineup today, but for those who are considering the Xperia Ray on their buying list — be it just for first time Android experience or sort of an upgrade or switch to Sony Xperia brand – I guess this phone is a good candidate. Or is it?

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray

Well, I requested my blogger-friend Bjorn Bernales to review this unit and see for myself as well how the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray fair with the existing Android Gingerbread army. Just a caution though — Bjorn isn’t a very technical person but that’s how exactly I want it to be. That is, reviewing the unit in a less-technical way. Interesting enough, I’d suggest you read on for his review after the break.

No Jelly Bean for SE Xperia Arc S, Xperia Mini Pro, & 2011 Xperia Phones

It may be inadvertent or deliberate, but the responses Sony — through its UK Facebook page — thrown to its fans are indicative enough that the latest Android flavour won’t be available to last year’s Xperia phones. UK Product Manager for Sony Mobile, John Cooper, had been taking questions on the said Facebook page and specifically mentioned both SE Xperia Arc S and Xperia Mini Pro that it won’t be getting Android 4.1 or Jelly Bean update.

No Android Jelly Bean - Sony Xperia Arc S, Xperia Mini Pro

This announcement is a bit of turn off for Xperia fans, particularly those who own Sony’s flagship phone last year — the SE Xperia Arc S. And now that Sony spilled it has no plans for a Jelly Bean update for Xperia Arc S, it concretely suggests that neither of the 2011 SE Xperia phones will receive Jelly Bean.

Get Official London 2012 Olympics Latest Results with Mobile Apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, & Windows Phone 7

Either you’re a sports enthusiast or just a simple fan watching closely the latest news and updates, as well as schedules and results of the ongoing London 2012 Olympics, well, you got everything covered even on-the-go. The London Organizing Committee of the Olympics and Paralympic Games have prepped mobile apps that will cater users of at least 4 top mobile platforms today which include Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, and Windows Phone 7. The London 2012 Official Results App shares the same key features across all platforms, including the Latest Results of all events itself, Live Schedule, Calendar Schedule, Sports News, Medals counts, and Athletes profiles.

London 2012: Official Results App

And without any further ado, grab your smartphone and tablet devices now and hit the download links after the break.

You Can Now Search on Google by Handwriting

Google introduced today a new way to use its, well… search engine, by searching the web without having to use a keyboard or voice commands. This new feature is called Handwrite, which basically allows users to do a web search in Google by handwriting. Handwrite, however, is only available for touch-enabled mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. I’ve personally tested Handwrite a while ago and it works just fine. Google is picking up text inputs into the search box perfectly, even though the search giant said such feature is still experimental.

If you have either a smartphone or tablet, you can give Handwrite a try by visiting through your mobile browser (works seamlessly on Safari and Chrome browsers). While in homepage, scroll a bit down and tap on search “Settings” and there you can “Enable” Handwrite, and “Save”.

HTC One X Headed to Smart Comm.

HTC’s quad-core superphone which was officially released in the country back in April is now available from Smart Communications. The HTC One X, which is this year’s flagship smartphone from the Taiwan-based phone maker, can be yours for FREE if you signup either for Smart’s Unli Data Plan 2000 or All-In Plan 3500. And speaking of the telco’s Unli Data Plan 2000, it’s interesting to note that Samsung’s GALAXY S III is also available on the same Plan. And since the GALAXY S III is the One X’s main contender for now in this quad-core battle, it could be a tough choice if you’re considering of getting either of this two superphones right?

Anyhow, before you rush to your nearest Smart Wireless Center, there’s one catch I’d like to stress as far Smart’s offering for HTC One X is concerned. The HTC One X can be yours for free at Unli Data Plan 2000 for 30 months – that’s 6 months longer than the usual 24-month contract. 

Apple Releases Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Available for Purchase at Mac Apps Store

Apple earlier today announced the ninth major release of its OS X operating system dubbed as Mountain Lion. Basically an update to OS X Lion (v10.7), OS X Mountain Lion (v10.8) brings over 200 new features, some of which are gained from the iOS mobile platform like the Messages app (replaced iChat and with iMessage support), Notification Center (a feature first introduced in iOS 5), Facebook and Twitter deep integration, and Game Center (an online gaming network first made available on iOS 4.0). Other new notable features in OS X Mountain Lion also include Dictation, iCloud integration, and AirPlay Mirroring.

Mac OS X Mountain LionOS X Mountain Lion - Apple

OS X Mountain Lion works with Mac computers with at least 2GB of RAM and 8GB of free HDD or SSD space. Mac users can upgrade to Mountain Lion either with OS X Lion (v10.7) or OS X Snow Leopard already installed. If still on Snow Leopard, make sure to have it updated to v10.6.8 first.

Celebrate London 2012 Olympics with these BlackBerry Apps

The clock is ticking and in more or less 32 hours after this article is published, the 2012 Olympics in London will kick off the opening ceremony. I believe you’re all excited for your favourite athletes and so do I. But what’s more exciting if you’re a BlackBerry user who wanted to feel the Olympic spirit right in your handset? You got it right: Apps!

So for today’s Apps Highlights, we’ll be featuring at least 5 apps for BlackBerry devices which fit such world’s foremost sports competition. I wish there could be more Olympics-related apps on the list, but anyway, we’ll just update this post once we have scoured for more at the BlackBerry App World. So let’s enumerate them, shall we?

London 2012: Official Join In App for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
By London 2012
Get a pocket guide to the Games! In the summer of 2012, London and the UK will come alive with events, celebrations and activities during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Official London 2012 Join In app is a mobile guide to help you plan, enjoy and share your Games experience.
This app is free and can be found on BlackBerry App World.

RIM to Launch BlackBerry PlayBook 4G LTE with 1.5GHz 2-Core Processor, 32GB-Only, and OS 2.0

It’s nearly two years now since RIM launched the first BlackBerry PlayBook and even though the Canadian BlackBerry maker announced at last year’s Mobile World Congress that a successor will be out anytime soon, the company didn’t actually release a new slate more than a year since then. Despite of that, a second iteration of the enterprise-friendly tablet still receives much anticipation, at least for some loyal BlackBerry fans in an excited state of getting their hands on BB PlayBook OS 2 which is believed to offer a glimpse of the BlackBerry OS 10 in early 2013. Interestingly enough, the new BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to launch on July 31st, thanks to a leaked document that may or may not make RIM proud of. But hey, do RIM really still has to hold off from making announcements for that big day?

Anyhow, the screenshot above says enough how imminent the launch of the new PlayBook is. And if you’re a bit curious what RIM will bring unto the table, the new BlackBerry PlayBook will sport notable specs upgrade such as the 1.5GHz dual-core processor, support for 4G networks such as LTE and HSPA+ (so most likely, there are two models to launch) and of course the PlayBook OS 2.0. It would be the same 7-inch tablet, but a bit slimmer at 9.7mm compared to its predecessor. This time around though, only one storage option is available and that is, just 32GB. And the price? The report says it will retail for $550 which is $50 lower than the 32GB version of the first-gen PlayBook.

Specs & Features to Expect from Samsung GALAXY Note II

Samsung was reportedly sending out press invites since last week for a press conference in the US that will kick off on August 15th. Though Samsung is mum what exactly it will unveil on the said event, earlier rumours suggest it could be the successor to the supersized smartphone, the GALAXY Note. If you could remember, the first GALAXY Note was released at the IFA event in Berlin last year. It does make sense to expect Samsung to announce the second iteration of the device at this year’s IFA (on August 31), but it seems like Samsung will make the announcement ahead of it.

If indeed Samsung takes the wraps off the 2nd generation GALAXY Note on August 15th, which we can call for now as the Samsung GALAXY Note II, certainly that would carry stunning specs and features in today’s smartphones. And to wrap these specs up, here are CTB’s best bet:

The iPhone 3GS is Back; And Widget City Got a Pretty Great Deal for You! [Updated]

Well, oh well. Who would have thought Apple will bring some more iPhone 3GS in stores? Certainly not me, neither you. Right? Regardless of what this Cupertino phone maker is trying to do, one thing is for sure – that is, luring Pinoy techies with an iPhone that ain’t really that too heavy on the pocket. Or should I just say “very much affordable iPhone” for the Pinoys? Anyhow, it doesn’t matter for us why it’s back; what matters is the iPhone 3GS is here once again, available in shops somewhere in the country’s gadget zones.

For those who have less idea (yet) about the iPhone 3GS, it’s Apple’s 3rd generation smartphone released in 2009. So it’s basically 2 generations older from its successors, the iPhone 4 (2010) and iPhone 4S (2011). This iPhone 3GS that’s hitting in stores again though is the 8GB version, which is the very first version of the 3GS model that hit the market 3 years ago. Talking about the hardware, it’s powered by an ARM Cortex A8 processor ticking at 600MHz, a PowerVR graphics processor, and 256MB of memory. Out of the box, the iPhone 3GS is loaded with iOS 5 (Apple’s firmware) and can later be upgraded to iOS 6 once it officially comes out. Though I couldn’t say that you’ll get the best experience on this iPhone model on iOS 6, it does fair with iOS 5, except when you’re running memory and processor-intensive applications. Nevertheless, I believe it still worth for its suggested retail price of Php 14,990.

Starmobile Intros FeatureSmart T601i & Jupiter B305, New Dual-SIM Phones for the Masses!

Another player in the country’s mobile industry has invaded Cebu when it launched, through an exclusive event last week, two of its “game-changer” devices — the Starmobile FeatureSmart T601i and Starmobile Jupiter B305. Before we get into the details of these handsets, allow me to talk about a brief intro about Starmobile.

A quick visit to the company’s official website reveals Starmobile as a local phone maker established by Star Telecom Alliance Resources (STAR, Inc.), a group of telecommunications industry experts based locally and internationally. Starmobile is headquartered in Manila and claims as a maker of quality dual-SIM mobile phones. So basically, it appears that the company will focus in releasing phones with dual-SIM capability, going neck and neck, if not beat direct competitors like Cherry Mobile, MyPhone, or even with the likes of Nokia which has a stronghold of the dual-SIM phone market.

The FeatureSmart T601i

At first glance, you couldn’t expect the FeatureSmart T601i as a feature phone as it really looks like an Android-powered smartphone. It’s a dual-SIM capable, thus it’s a perfect phone if you want to carry 2 SIM cards in a single phone. The T601i features a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display, support for Wi-Fi connectivity, and Mobile TV. The 3.2MP camera may complement your social networking experience as the phone has a built-in access to Facebook and Twitter.

HTC One X, One XL, & One S Android Jelly Bean Upgrade Confirmed!

When HTC Philippines launched the HTC One S here in Cebu just last week, I got an opportunity to ask the company’s country manager if the HTC One line-up can be upgraded to Android Jelly Bean anytime soon. Uncertain of HTC’s plans for such devices (at least for the OS upgrade roadmap), he didn’t confirm yet (perhaps to play it safe) whether HTC is working for a Jelly Bean upgrade or not. It turned out that HTC is indeed working for a firmware update, to which the Taiwan-based smartphone maker has confirmed to Engadget that it will bring Android Jelly Bean to select HTC One handsets which include the One X, One S, and the LTE-capable HTC One XL.

“We know HTC fans are excited to get their hands on Google’s latest version of Android. At this point in time, we can confirm that we have plans to upgrade our HTC One X, HTC One XL and HTC One S to Jelly Bean. Please stay tuned for more updates regarding device upgrades, timing and other details about HTC and Jelly Bean.”

This statement, however, is still unclear for some users across the globe. And the question remains whether or not the Jelly Bean update applies to other regions outside the US.

For the uninitiated, Jelly Bean is the latest version of Google-owned Android OS, which brings new features with primary focus on enhancing the user interface functionality and performance.

Introducing the Newly-Revamped Cebu Tech Blogger Blog!

Last month, I announced that we’ve been cooking up some awesome stuff on CTB specifically the site’s design and layout, a dedicated page for local tech jobs, and one thing I missed to mention – the “Apps Highlights” section which features Top 10 apps across all available categories and will be published in a daily basis (weekdays only) beginning this Monday. The “Apps Highlights” however will focus on iOS apps for now, but that doesn’t mean closing the door for other apps in other platforms. Apps for Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, or even Symbian OS will still be featured from time to time, but not as frequent as with iOS apps. The reason for this is the availability of tools that will aid me in web scraping and ranking apps directly from each platform’s app store.

The Fresh and Cool New Design of CTB Blog

The theme in designing the new CTB blog focuses on simplicity and I want it to be as clean as possible, yet still has the feel of a professional technology blog (yey!). I left it to our friends at Clicking Labs to apply the makeover and of course, do some coding magic. And the result? Well, just let the pages speak for themselves so I’d suggest you view it here, here, here, here, and here.

Windows 8 Official Release Date Confirmed, October 26, 2012!

Microsoft on Wednesday has taken the wraps off the official release date of the next version of its operating system, the Windows 8. Announced during the Redmond-based software giant’s annual sales meeting, through the company’s President of the Windows division Steven Sinofsky – the final build of Windows 8 will be available commercially on October 26th, 2012!

For the uninitiated, Windows 8 was initially released to the public on February 29th as “Consumer Preview” and the next version dubbed as “Release Preview” was made available for public download on May 28th. Microsoft is expected to unveil the “Release to Manufacturing” (RTM) build of the OS sometime in early August.

PC users would be able to get Windows 8 either through an upgrade option or through a new PC. It was initially announced that Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 users may qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 (you need to check version compatibility though). The new Microsoft OS will be available in 4 editions, namely: the Windows 8 itself, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows RT. The first three versions are the ones we’ll be seeing in full-packed computer systems, while Windows RT is dedicated for devices like tablet PC’s rocking ARM processors.

How Does Nano-SIM on iPhone 5 Sound?

As the world is now anticipating the next iPhone from Apple (let’s call it as “iPhone 5” for now, shall we?), rumormongers continue to speculate what exactly this smartphone has to offer inside and out. Most of the leaks that we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks focus on the design, some of which are purportedly protection cases or actual parts and assemblies suggesting the iPhone 5 external design. But of course none of these has been confirmed yet, or at least hinted to be real by someone connected to Apple or its vendors.

The latest rumor that surfaces earlier today however, suggests some partner-carriers in Europe may be providing deviously a bit of information which could either amaze or turnoff iPhone users. European operators are purportedly stockpiling Nano-SIM cards in preparation in time for iPhone 5 launch. Though not exactly of any indication such Nano-SIM cards are for iPhone 5 devices — that would leave us skeptical as which handset those SIM cards are designed for?

In any case you haven’t heard about it yet, the Nano-SIM card is today’s smallest SIM card reportedly designed by Apple. It’s the new standardized SIM card format for every GSM, UMTS, and LTE mobile device, approved by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI). Obviously the successor to Micro-SIM built on the likes of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, Nokia Lumia 800, Samsung GALAXY S III, and etc. – the Nano-SIM is 40% smaller than its predecessor, measuring exactly at 12.3mm wide, 8.8mm long, and 0.67mm thick. Its functionality is backward-compatible though with previous SIM card designs, which means you can still cut the usual bigger SIM card with the aid of what could be “nano-SIM card puncher” in any case stocks run out like what happened with the Micro-SIM last year.

Microsoft Announced Office 2013, Calls it as “The New Office”

Microsoft on Tuesday unveils the next release of its suite of productivity applications which the software giant simply calls as “the new Microsoft Office”. Technically, this new version is the MS Office 2013 we have heard of since last year. Unlike any other older version of MS Office even its predecessor MS Office 2010, the Office 2013 brings those web apps initially made available on MS Office 365. This means that Office 2013 is more into cloud as it leverages some of Microsoft’s existing cloud-based services.

MS Office 2013 is available both for Windows 7 and Windows 8, and since its interface is based on Metro UI which undoubtedly works beautifully in Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 – Microsoft says the new office will seamlessly work with touch-enabled Windows devices.

Microsoft is still yet to announce its official offering and pricing plans comes Fall, but the company has already confirmed which Office 2013 applications will be included on MS Office 365 subscription. And that includes MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and MS Access. Read on for more through the press release after the break.

Sharing Internet Connection in Windows 8 [Ad-Hoc Like]

Talking about Wi-Fi connectivity support, one of the reasons why you should consider what type of Wi-Fi radio a particular computer or laptop should have before buying, is the fact that Wi-Fi hotspots are just everywhere and that it’s through this wireless technology that you can hook up to the internet easily. Though in today’s generation of laptops it’s seldom to see models without support for 802.11n (aka Wireless-N), it’s best if every PC user is aware what does such type of Wi-Fi radio really offers. To date, 802.11n is the best wireless standard yet as it offers faster throughput and longer transmission range between wireless devices, and needless to say – the next time you buy a machine, make sure it should have this type of Wi-Fi support. Not exactly just for computers though; you can also look for this particular spec on smartphones and tablets.

But the other advantage of having a faster Wi-Fi radio in your computer is for its capability to share internet access to other wireless devices. Some Windows platforms offer what is called as Internet Connection Sharing or ICS feature (some called it as Ad-Hoc) in which the Wi-Fi enabled computer turns itself like a wireless router or Wi-Fi hotspot. If my memory serves me right, Ad-Hoc over wireless network was introduced in Windows Vista though some XP machines can also be setup with an aid of wireless adapters. Windows 7 has it as well, but interestingly – Microsoft’s latest OS, the Windows 8, don’t have it out of the box. I mean, at least with the latest Beta of Windows 8, setting up Ad-Hoc or Internet Connection Sharing is a bit hassle as it would require you to play with what is known as Netsh Utility that you can fire up in Command tool (cmd.exe). And I’m sure not all typical Windows 8 users would bother to do that.