AnandTech Article Channel

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Competition escalates the mobile wars

A little competition is always good for the industry, be it mobile service providers or mobile phone manufacturers.

For instance, the Wireless Landline market that was started by PLDT and Bayantel has attracted the mobile phone service providers Sun and Globe. The metered pricing structure of PLDT has all but faded after repeated salvos of unlimited, unmetered service from all of its competitors.

I guess old habits die hard... but if PLDT does not abandon its old "monopoly" bad habits, it could very well find itself perched on a sinking ship.

These are times that the company has never seen before so the sooner they forget the outdated practices from the past, the better. Those only work when you are a virtual monopoly but those days are gone and thankfully will never come back.

However, there are encouraging signs from the company like the new SmartTalk promo which offers unlimited calls ala Sun.

Hopefully Globe will get on the bandwagon too but there is a little voice at the back of my head that says it might be a diversionary tactic again, to keep the Senate and NTC from burrowing through their records and exposing their profits which some insiders have described as astronomical. And that is credible given the P1 per text charge, and the millions of text messages sent in the Philippines everyday.

Going on to mobile phone manufacturers, for a long time, industry giants Nokia and Sony Ericsson grew complacent and the Koreans just came in and sort of took over a large chunk of the market. I mean when a Korean phone stages an upset of the CYBERSHOT line, well that is big news and a big headache for SE.

Same thing with Nokia, the Innov8 toppled the much vaunted N95 from its throne and the attacks have not stopped. Even LG was able to get in the game with several top rated handsets toppling old SE and Nokia handsets from their place in the "best buy" lists.

Much like the mobile service providers, Nokia then SE suffered from complacency and that lowering of the guard was enough let these upstarts get their foot in the door.

However, a recent slew of phones from Sony and Nokia have shown that the message has finally reached the decision makers and these phones look like they will at least regain some lost ground for their companie.

But as the previous posts show, the Koreans are constantly innovating and if this is what they can do in a recession, whatever can they do when their economy starts up again?

Unfortunately for the Nokia and SE, Korea was pegged by the international monetary authorities as one of the first economies that will recover and this will mean bigger challenges will be coming soon for them.

In the meantime, here then are some Nokia phones that are out to grab the market at the high end and mid end levels.

First up is the Nokia 6303, an upgrade to the 6300 which was a lackluster phone that had mostly sleek looks going for it.

Click here for the 6303 Classic review on Mobile Phones UK

Then there is the so called evolution of the 6500 Classic, the 6700 Classic. Now this phone is one that is catching my attention too so it seems that my technolust list is getting even more crowded. Oh well, the fun is in the lusting anyway..

Click here for the 6700 classic review on Mobile Phones UK

And lastly, here is a Nokia phone that is near the top of my technolust list, the N97.

I could go on and on about the features of this phone but I'll save that for another day. Just the mere images are enough to make a broke grown man cry.

Well the Americans and Koreans did get in some shots, pretty good ones at that.

First of is the Samsung S5600 Preston. Its supposed to be an upgrade to the Tocco Lite.

Read the Mobile Phones UK review of the S5600 here

And Apple of course will not be left out and its Iphone 3G S was reviewed too

Last but most certainly not the least, the LG Crystal was launched and its preliminary specs can be read also on Mobile Phones UK

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Sony Ericsson W995 Resource List

Well I've made no secret that I've been on the prowl for some phones to replace two "old guards" in my communications device satchel. I usually carry 4 phones and I need to replace 2 of them, the Sony K810i and the Sony W850i.

The reason being that I need better camera quality and I also need HSDPA and would prefer to have Wifi as well.

So far the candidates have been from Nokia

the N82,

N95 8 gb

and the 6220 classic.

These phones however are more for replacing the K810

than the W850. The W850i has been in my satchel for quite a while and it still stands head and shoulders above the rest of my phones in sound quality.

Furthermore, after my W810i was sold, it has now become my only phone with a flashlight. I used to sneer at this feature before but from the time I tried it on my K750i, I was hooked. It really is so handy and I know I'll be lost without a light equipped phone in my satchel, preferably on the all in one phone I would carry if I could only bring one phone. Which was at first my K750,

then my W810i,

then my V3x,

then my W850. As you can see, all are equipped with lights.

Well anyway, I was salivating about the W980 when information was first leaked about this handset thinking "this is it".

However, subsequent reviews dampened my enthusiasm somewhat. That made the waiting easier as there was no budget yet ( well there is still no budget now) but now I ran across several reviews of this new Sony Walkman flagship that just might make waiting unbearable.

The W995 has it all, 8MP camera with autofocus, GPS, Wifi, HSDPA, the trademark Walkman sound. The list goes on.

So I started surfing to check out reviews about this phone and this is what I want to share here today. The earlier people here start buying the phone, the earlier I can get my unit from one of the early adopters heh heh.

Here are the annotated links:

The always brief but always concise and informative summary on Mobile Phones UK

The GSM Arena in depth review

And another in depth review at the Unofficial Sony Ericsson Blog

At this point in time, given all these excellent reviews, I think I have found the replacement for my W850i. I like it so much that if this doesn't have a flashlight function, I'll buy a mini lite to clip on to it.

This phone has been called a convergent device. And that sums up why this might be the new stuff my gadget dreams are made of.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Well its been a couple of weeks already since I started complaining about the service. As recently as this afternoon, I had to return the call of a client from my PLDT landline as we could not hear each other over my SUNTEL line which was supposed to be my business line.

So in connection with this, here's what we have so far:

1. SAMSUNG - its a lost cause. The offer from their service line to bring the unit in for service was a joke. They said to bring it there but it will just sit there for a few months while waiting for the FIRMWARE and the PARTS to be ordered by the MAIN OFFICE after a request from the SERVICE CENTER. That was the ACTUAL statement of the person on the SAMSUNG HOTLINE!

For those in the know, you are looking at a waiting period of about 3 to 6 months. And that's for them to service my month old C5212. Its a dual sim so its like I lose two phones. This kind of turnaround and concern for customer satisfaction will definitely be the downfall of SAMSUNG here. That said I'm still on wait and see mode...

2. SUNTEL - my good friend who manages one of the SUN SHOPS, has been trying to expedite matters on his side. My suggested solution is still what I mentioned in my first post which is for them to either replace the SAMSUNG C5212 with a better unit, better matched to their SUNTEL network. AND to check how the SUNTEL network could be made AT LEAST AS RELIABLE AS BAYANTEL WIRELESS.

My other solution to him was to replace the C5212 with two phones since it was a double unlimited deal. I am actually willing to take one unit for the Sun Cellular line and another DESKTOP unit for the SUNTEL in the hope that this will give me a more reliable service.

Actually they offered to sell me a HUAWEI ETS3023 for P2,700 which is at least P1k more than the equivalent unit in BAYANTEL. This is terrible!

The thought of buying this unit at THAT PRICE doesn't sound right. I mean I'm doing this to get reliable service in a location that is supposed to be a prime area fully covered by all communication networks. To expect good and reliable communication in this area from a so called WIRELESS LANDLINE is not asking too much so I decided to sit and wait for SUN to do the decent thing and resolve this problem either on their own or with minimum financial participation from their subscriber.

So let's see. I'll give a little more time before I finally throw in the towel and just call the DTI complaint line.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Japanese Gambit

While the Koreans declared all out war with the recent salvo of new mobile phones, let's not forget that Japan actually drew first blood with a duo of new phones designed to secure top bragging rights. It's interesting to see how this battle will end up but ones things for sure, we, the techno geeks will be the ultimate winners.

First up, we have the Sony Satio, formerly the IDOU. A 12 megapixel monster that looks more camera than phone. Read about it on GSM Arena and on Sony Ericsson

Then there is the new Aino, a multimedia powerhouse which connects to the PS3. More on Sony Ericsson and on GSM Arena

2009 is shaping up to be a really great year for mobile phone tech despite the global recession. I cannot help but be excited at the prospect of the wonders that will be revealed when the economy picks up once again.

Hopefully, in the next few posts, I'll go old school and revisit some icons of the cellular phone era. A lot of the users nowadays never had a chance to use the old technology so I just want to revisit these units to show just how far technology has come.

Watch out for it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Koreans declare WAR !

Samsung Korea has openly declared war against Nokia and Sony Ericsson with a barrage of new phones that will send techno geeks all over the world writhing from the agony of choice.

How can one possibly choose from the four new handsets unleashed.

One was the flagship Samsung JET which was mentioned in a previous post, its dubbed by Samsung to be
" smarter than smartphones" ..... ohhhkay let's wait a moment for that to sink in. Oh well whatever it means, the word flagship spell trouble to the newly announced Sony's and Nokias.

Another phone that will send new Omnia owners crying to their mobile phone dealers is the Omnia II 8000 Touchscreen Phone with AMOLED display. More info available here

This is a Windows Mobile phone, equipped with a 3.7 inch screen and a 5 MP camera.

Yet another more formidable looking phone is the OmniaPRO B7610 touchscreen smartphone. Official announcement posted on Mobile Burn

This is a Windows Mobile phone equipped with a 5 megapixel camera.

And in a move that looks like it anticipated the arrival of the Nokia E72, Samsung also released a new
OmniaPRO B7320 smartphone a candybar QWERTY type. Snapshot review on Mobile Burn is here

And that my fellow techno geeks, is probably just the first salvo in an all out war in the Mobile Phone arena. The good news, we have new objects to lust after. But the bad news is without professional help, these goodies will drive us to bankruptcy.

Nokia E71 successor and Samsung's Flagship phone revealed in Mobileburn

New owners of the E71, it may be time to weep. Potential buyers, rejoice because prices on this highly acclaimed handset will likely fall in the the next few weeks.

This is because the E72, the successor to the E71's throne, has been announced. You can read about it in MobileBurn

The biggest single improvement is in the camera department, the only area where the E71 was found wanting. The E72 now comes with a 5 megapixel camera that may put the imaging criticisms to rest.

Another piece of good news to potential buyers, this time of Samsung phones, the Omnia HD and the Innov8 may be dropping their prices too on the heels of Samsungs launch of its flagship JET.

Further info may be found also on the MobileBurn site.

Personally I'm in gadget limbo. I'm frozen into inaction because I don't know if I should wait for prices to fall on the E71 or get the E72.

And since I also vowed to get a nice Samsung phone, now I'm wondering if I should just wait for Innov8 prices to fall while avoiding all reports about the Jet.

After all ignorance is bliss....

But the truth is, I'm becoming attached to my P1i. Its fulfilling my needs right now and I bought it at a price where I could get my P1 and a second hand N82 for the current selling price of the E71 which is about 16K. That's why I'm not too hot about the E72 or the E71 for that matter.

So maybe I'll go buy that N82 or that 6220 classic and wait for the Innov8 prices to fall. I've sort of narrowed down the choices for my second phone to these 3. Yes I know I said I'd get a Samsung but I'm just a little bit concerned about Samsung parts and service after my conversation with the Samsung service department as mentioned in my "double unlimited" post.

Choices, choices. But that is the spice of life too :)

Thing is, whenever I see the current prices for my K810i which is about 1/3 the price I paid for it, its a reminder that in the mobile phone upgrade world, the wise buyers are the ones who can control their excitement for a year or so. Year old flagship units sell for less than half the original price and give how much tech is in these handsets in the 1st place, that's quite a lot more tech than most of us will need.

I know its hard but as always, ask yourself "what do i need it for?" The fact that you are reading this blog means that you are into tech. And those who know tech naturally want the latest and the greatest. Lucky are those who are single and have a large salary all to themselves. Enjoy happy go lucky spending while you still can. They don't say it but marriage usually means saying goodbye not only to your singleness but to your toys as well.

On my part, with 4 kids, unless I am tapped by my the local phone distributors to test their products, I'll just have to content myself with in depth reviews and photos while waiting for my current objects of technolust to turn a year old.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Phone Firewall Stuff

I mentioned in my first post that I was going to use a software called Advanced Call Manager (ACM) to filter my calls and messages on my Sony P1i.

Well after scouring the web for opinions and reviews, I came across this other software which is highly recommended by quite a number of users. Its called Mcleaner and its available for the UIQ3, Iphone, Symbian OS and many other platforms.

By the way, these types of software are also known as mobile phone firewalls. Pretty slick term for a built in function in my Samsung ..... ok pardon my sour graping again.

Anyway, the advantage this one has over ACM is that it filters both SMS and calls. It also has a neat feature called scheduler along with profiles which makes it very easy to set up your phone.

If you're interested in trying it out you can download an evaluation copy here.

I'll try out the ACM too, they have a version for my 6120 classic so i'll update this post with my thoughts on ACM and my experience with Mcleaner.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sun Double Unlimited User Review

I signed up for the DOUBLE UNLIMITED plan of Sun Cellular about a month ago. The deal goes like you sign up for two plans, a SunTel wireless landline AND a Sun Cellular Plan 350 pre loaded with 24/7 Call and Text Unlimited. For signing up, you get a Samsung C5212 Active Dual Sim phone for FREE.

First, a bit of disclosure I don’t work for Sun or any of its affiliates. I have been a loyal subscriber ever since they started. I have 3 lines, all with SUN because I feel they offer the best value in the industry. Had it not been for them, the Globe and Smart giants would be having a heyday charging P1 for text that used to be free. Yes sometimes its hard to call, but for those of us who remember how it was with Smart when it first launched here against Globe and Extelcom, it’s the bargain of the decade.

When I first got my Smart, it would take HOURS before you would get through. It was unbelievable. The phones for some time, were next to useless. Not to mention the mess these telecom companies made out of interconnection and making it difficult for competitors to call their networks. Believe me, Sun, for all its problems, has been and still is the best value for money and it’s a company that we all should sign up with to ensure that the industry will not be complacent and unscrupulous again.

Anyway let’s move on to how my Double Unlimited thing is going.

The Samsung C5212 was highly acclaimed in the preliminary write-ups on GSM Arena so I had great expectations for this unit.

In the interest of brevity, here are the Pros and Cons summarized:


- Nice form factor, bit large but fits well in your hand
- Good sized screen
- Polished interface relative to the old D900’s
- Easy SIM management
- Good ergonomics particularly the keyboard
- Excellent call handling unique to Samsung, you can blacklist SMS and/or calls.
- SMS alerts is now user customizable

- Battery life is quite short
- Dual band only
- Has a problem acquiring and keeping signals
- Quality control issues, unit has two stuck pixels already
- Inadequate bundle, no memory card, no usb cable (which happens to be Samsung proprietary)
- No CD installer

Now about SUNTEL, first of all, it is a good deal. At least on paper.

You get a landline for P450 with unlimited call to numbers in the 02 service area. This beats out the metered service of PLDT and is dead even with the new Bayantel Wireless P450 plan.
However, the signal in quite a number of areas is unstable despite the reassurance of the SunTel Customer Service that the network is ok in that area. In those areas, it’s so hard to connect and when I do, I can hardly hear the other party and they can hardly hear me. It’s embarrassing particularly in view of the TV commercial about such network problems.

Furthermore, the SUNTEL/ SAMSUNG combination is unusable to me. The SAMSUNG could hardly get a signal in the areas I frequent and even in my house where I get strong SUN signals. What is aggravating is I get better reception and audio from my old Motorola Timeport! When I transferred the SUNTEL sim to my old phone, I was able to call from my work area where the SAMSUNG/SUNTEL combo could not.

Going further, I saw that the signal was still not that good despite being able to call so I transferred the SUNTEL Sim to my 3G Sony K810. To my surprise, it was able to get a 3G signal, a strong one at that. So after making a call and establishing that the connection was the best among the 3 phones, I decided to leave my SUNTEL sim in my K810.

So is the SUNTEL network ok now in the K810? It’s easier to make calls now but signal still needs a bit of improvement if they are to approach the usability level of the Bayantel Wireless which by the way was notorious for signal problems before but sad to say, its better. I know because we have one.

I think the network engineers should test the units they provide to SUNTEL users because landline users have more expectations from their units. We expect reliability and accessibility from our landlines otherwise its no different from an ordinary cellular service.


- Low price
- Good audio quality
- Flexibility since its sim based and will work with most phones with qualifications (see comments above)

- Unstable signal
- Congested network in my area (Batasan Hills)
- Cannot connect with some food delivery hotlines

So in the end what would I recommend?

Well I would have said if you want a really good deal for a dual sim bundled with landline and cellular services, this is the way to go. But right now I can’t, because as I said, a good deal on paper fades when confronted with the reality of uselessness.

Most people who buy into this deal obviously are into one thing: COMMUNICATION. That is what I expected. I expect to be always (within reason) within reach of my clients and family. And this is what I don’t get from the SAMSUNG / SUNTEL combo.

The network is wanting and the phone reception needs to be addressed because its pathetic when a nearly 8 year old unit outperforms a newly released one in its primary task of making calls.

I have of course relayed my concerns to both Samsung and my local Sun shop. Samsung has relayed that they have neither the parts nor the software yet to service my phone so I can’t take it back yet for another month or so.

Sun on the other hand has not replied yet nor have I been informed about any testing being done in the problem areas I pointed out.

I would expect that the network would be reviewed as well as the suitability of the SAMSUNG C5212 for the SUNTEL network. For existing subscribers such as myself, I would expect that SUN would either recall the handsets to replace them with ones better matched to the network or maybe they can offer the Desktop Handsets such as the Huawei ETS-3023 at a discounted price to serve as base units for subscribers with signal problems in their homes. Actually I called asking about this but there are no units available for sale.

So in the end I suggest that potential subscribers to this service adopt my stand first which is wait and see. This post will be updated as feedback is received.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Samsung Upset

I am so disillusioned today. It began when I started receiving nuisance calls from people who desperately need to get a life. I mean why would you call and text the same number day after day sending messages that border on insane practically begging for attention?

Anyway, so I pull out my formidable P1i and first thing I do to prevent further disturbance is to screen my calls, choosing to accept calls from a predefined list. This is just to buy me extra time to set up the phone to reject outright the calls from the nuisance number only. And thats where I got disillusioned. For all its bells and whistles, my mighty P1i cannot be setup to reject or block calls or sms from a particular number!

I would not be this upset if I had not known that the budget Samsung E250 actually has this feature! The Samsung allows you to make a list of numbers whose calls or sms you wish to block. That's 2 separate lists! All this from this budget slider which I had passed on to my daughter.

I do have a Samsung c5212 dual sim which also has this feature but this phone is not exactly ideal to be the main phone for me. Actually my main phone used to be a Sony Ericsson K810 which was relegated to be my 2nd tier phone, after the P1i. I did come across this software that can at least reject my calls the way they should be, the Samsung way, but I just feel bad that I need to install a software on my smartphone to do what my budget slider can do.

Anyway the software is called Advanced Call Manager which I'll probably try out. However, this turn of events just might lead me to reconsider exchanging the P1 for a Samsung i780. Or at least, I might decide to forego geting a Nokia N82 to replace my K810 and just replace it with a Samsung like the G800 or possibly the 8800 Pixon..... Oh and I forgot to mention, the Nokias, at least my 3110C and my 6120C both cannot do what the Samsung can either. Talk about an upset.

The truth is I really do intend to change to two Samsungs, the 8510 Innov8, and the Omnia. But budgetary constraints demand prudence so I have to go back to my spreadsheets and check how I can justify a change of phones.

Whatever happens, one thing is certain, one of the 3 phones I carry will be replaced by a Samsung.

Kudos to Samsung. And watch out Sony and Nokia.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

First post and links related to my P1i

What is this blog all about?

Well, this blog will be updated with all things tech that I encounter in my daily forays on the web.

Bookmarks just don't cut it and sometimes I'd like to access my data from remote so putting it on a blog I can access from anywhere seems like the perfect idea now.

A side benefit is that I get to give back to the community whenever someone benefits from the links and commentaries made here.

And that after all is really the essence of the World Wide Web.

So today, I've been surfing all over trying to get some stuff to setup my newly acquired P1i.

Yes the post date is correct, its June 6, 2009. And yes the P1i was released around July 2007 and some would say (though I disagree) is an obsolete model.

But obsolescence to me is dictated not by age or features but by how well the device can fulfill the users needs. I certainly would love to have the latest and the greatest but as an old teacher of mine liked to say, "make the most of what you have" And one question I kept asking myself was "what do you need it for" and "will you use".

Let me say just a little bit about the P1i.

I turned over my hardly used P990i to my son and this is the replacement. Actually prior to this I was pining for a Nokia E71 but the price is still prohibitive for me at 16K to 18K. It took a lot of soul searching on my part, a lot of research and a honest inventory of what I need, what I have and what I can afford.

I came from the P800, then acquired a Palm Lifedrive, after which I got the P990i. The P800 is with my youngest son, while my eldest has my P990i and I still have my Lifedrive.

My primary reasons for wanting the E71 was the HSDPA access and the PDA functions and the GPS. The HSDPA was the primary thing as I just got a Sun Broadband Wireless and I wanted to be able to write and work from remote.

However I just got a free phone from Sun, the Nokia 6120 classic which has HSDPA too and since at that point I had a non existent budget, I decided to try hooking up my lifedrive with the 6120 and was able to get it to work after a few minutes of tinkering.

Imagine my elation at this point! I have a free keyboard for the Lifedrive and so I had a much more competent setup for remote working. I had a bigger screen and it was touchscreen at that!

Now since I don't work on remote that often, I decided maybe I should just get a cheap second hand smartphone so my candidates were the P1i, E61i and the Samsung i607. You see my budget was absolutely topped out at P8K.

So it was a serendipitous event for me when I saw this P1i with complete accessories selling for just under my budget. And how lucky can I be, there was a "buy it now" button so I proceeded to buy it. There were some problems with the phone which were accidentally overlooked by the seller but he was so quick to rectify the situation by offering a rebate so now I'm very happy to be the new owner of a pre-loved P1i.

So without further ado, here are the links I followed today.

Walkman 3 for the P1i

Symbian Developer Network

Skype etc for the P1i

The Symbians


IP Mart Forum -

Sony Ericsson P1i Blog - Excellent source of info about the P1i

Sony Ericsson Philippines

The Sony Ericsson Satio aka Idou Page on GSM Arena

Android and Me

Android Tapp

TechRadar: All latest feeds - Latest articles

GigaOM — Tech News, Analysis and Trends

Android Phone Fans

Phone Scoop - Latest News

IntoMobile - Cell Phone News, Information, and Analysis

All About Symbian - News