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Globe blames Smart for PH’s poor LTE speed in OpenSignal report

In Business by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

If you read OpenSignal’s previous State of LTE report, you know pretty well that the Philippines once again appears to be lagging behind other Asian countries and regions like India, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan both in terms of LTE speed and coverage. What may have escaped your attention, however, is that the country could’ve fared better had Smart Communications posted better results in the testing conducted by OpenSignal, something Smart’s rival, Globe Telecom, pointed out in a recent press release.

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Cherry Mobile to announce ‘premium’ Flare phone on October 9

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Cherry Mobile will announce a new Flare smartphone on October 9, according to an event invite sent by the local tech company today.

Not much is known about the upcoming handset, but based on the invite, expect a gold color option with a silver metallic trim, suggesting that we may be looking at the most premium-looking Flare design so far. The black borders surrounding the display may give the phone a borderless appearance when the the screen is turned off.

The one metric the Flare series falls short of is design, but that could change soon if what we’ve seen so far is any indication.

The Flare series is arguably Cherry Mobile’s most popular line of smartphones to date — and with good reason: Flare devices typically offer the best specs you can find on the market today at prices most Filipinos can afford. The previous Flare release, the Flare X, is an incredibly powerful phone at an incredibly affordable price. The one metric it generally falls short of is design, but that could change soon if what we’ve seen so far is any indication.

Microsoft unveils Windows 10-based Lumia 950, 950 XL phones

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Earlier today, Microsoft announced several Windows 10 devices to showcase Windows 10’s new capabilities and its full potential as a productivity platform. (A quick aside: Microsoft claims there are already more than 110 million devices running Windows 10. Yes, 110 million installations in 8 weeks.)

Among those Windows 10 devices are the Lumia 950 and the larger and more powerful (and more expensive) Lumia 950 XL, which as Microsoft puts it, are all about “putting Windows 10 in your pocket” and being “the most productive phones you’ve picked up.”

And those are very accurate ways of describing phones that function like a PC — and offer a similar experience to that of a desktop running Windows 10 when hooked up to the Microsoft Display Dock, which has an HDMI and Display Port for your monitor, plus 3 full-size USB ports for peripherals like a mouse and a keyboard.

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL are all about ‘putting Windows 10 in your pocket’ and being ‘the most productive phones you’ve picked up.’

The phones themselves are made of plastic — definitely not what you’d expect to see from handsets in the premium segment — and are equipped with insanely sharp AMOLED displays fronted by Gorilla Glass, as well as reversible USB Type-C connectors with fast charging, allowing you to juice up the phones up to 50 percent in 30 minutes.

Assuming the same applies when charging the phone from 51 to 100 percent, you may be looking at a maximum charging time of roughly 60 minutes, which is impressive.

The 20-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and f/1.9 aperture lens shared by the Lumia 950 and 950 XL are said to capture high-quality images in low light and can record videos in super-sharp 4K resolution. Specs-wise, the phones are powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 or 810 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage that can be upgraded up to 2TB via a microSD card.

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL will retail for $549 (around P25,500)and $649 (P30,200), respectively, when they land in stores sometime in November. There’s no word yet on pricing and availability in the Philippines.

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The new Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones

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The new Microsoft Surface Book

Google rolls out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Nexus devices

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via bgr.com

Nexus owners, rejoice! Google has started rolling out the latest version of the most popular mobile operating system in the world, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, to select Nexus devices, including the Nexus 5 and 6 smartphones and Nexus 7 and 9 tablets, as earlier promised. The software update is also coming to the Android One phones like the Cherry Mobile One G1, Android’s VP of engineering said in a previous blog post.

An incremental upgrade over Android Lollipop, Marshmallow adds a few nice features to Android like Doze, battery-saving tweak, and Google Now on Tap, which brings you contextual information based on what you’re doing with your device. Native support for mobile payments (via Android Pay) and fingerprint sensors has been added as well.

Google has started rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to select Nexus devices, including the Nexus 5 and 6 phones and Nexus 7 and 9 tablets.

If you haven’t received the over-the-air update yet, and you want it so badly, Android Headlines has put together a nice how-to on manually flashing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to your Nexus device. Note that the guide requires a bit of flashing know-how, so if you’re not familiar with any of the steps listed, you’re probably better off waiting for an OTA notification from Google. You don’t want to end up with a broken phone (aka an expensive paperweight), don’t you?

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Sorry, your 2015 Moto E won’t get a taste of Android Marshmallow

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Google’s latest mobile operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, is tipped to arrive later this week following Google’s recent press event. Which, as you may have guessed, has prompted several manufacturers, including Motorola, to spill the proverbial beans on when their respective products will receive the software update.

For Moto owners, it seems the outlook is relatively positive, with the Lenovo-owned company recently confirming on its official blog that most Moto phones released in 2014 and this year will get a taste of Android Marshmallow sometime in the future.

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List of Moto handsets to be upgraded to Android 6.0 Marshmallow

The list includes a couple of devices sold by Motorola Philippines, namely the 2014 Moto X and 2014 Moto G. Curiously dropped from Motorola’s update road map is the 2015 Moto E (and its predecessors), which is disappointing to say the least, considering the claims Motorola previously made on its blog.

Curiously dropped from Motorola’s update road map is the Moto E, which is disappointing, considering the claims Motorola made on its blog.

“And while other smartphones in this category don’t always support upgrades, we won’t forget about you, and we’ll make sure your Moto E stays up to date after you buy it,” said Magno Herran, Motorola’s marketing manager, in a hands-on video. By contrast, the more affordable Cherry Mobile One G1, as well as other Android One phones, are slated to get an OTA update to Marshmallow this week.

To be fair, Motorola did say that “things may change,” so there may be hope for the entry-level handset yet.

Moto X (2014) specs (Price in the Philippines: P16,999):
* LTE
* 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
* Adreno 330 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* 5.2-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,300mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

Moto G (2014) specs (Price in the Philippines: P8,499):
* 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU
* Adreno 305 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 5-inch IPS display (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 8-megapixel rear camera with flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,070mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

Moto E (2015) specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,999):
* LTE
* 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU
* Adreno 306 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 4.5-inch IPS display (540 x 960 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera with flash
* VGA front camera
* 2,390mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

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Waze: Metro Manila worst place for motorists, commuters

In Cars, Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via globalbalita.com

Waze has confirmed what many of us knew all along but had no data to show for it: Metro Manila has the “worst traffic” on the planet, the Google-owned crowdsourced navigation app said in its Global Driver Satisfaction Index. Waze arrived at the observation after pooling the driving experience of 50 million users from 32 countries and 167 metropolitan areas.

The Philippines ranked among the worst places on Earth for motorists and commuters, while Metro Manila figured to be the last place you’d want to be behind the wheel, followed by Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and Indonesia’s Jakarta.

Metro Manila has the ‘worst traffic’ on the planet, Waze said in its Global Driver Satisfaction Index.

Metro Manila also recorded the longest commute time in the world at 45.5 minutes, which is 7 minutes longer than the average time it takes for New Yorkers to get from point A to point B (38.7 minutes).

Of course, if you’ve lived in Metro Manila long enough, you don’t need an app to tell you that the megacity’s traffic situation is getting out of hand, with no resolution in sight. But hey, at least our roads are teeming with gas stations and parking spaces (also according to Waze), right? (Insert sarcastic emoticon here.)

Android One phones will get Android 6.0 Marshmallow next week

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

As if you need another reason to get the brilliant and affordable Cherry Mobile One G1: In a recent blog post, Dave Burke, Android’s VP of engineering, has confirmed that Android One devices, alongside select models in the Nexus lineup, will be among the first to get a taste of Android 6.0 Marshmallow once it becomes available for download next week. (As I wrote in my review, the second-gen Android One phone will likely be upgraded to the next major software update after version 6.0, too.)

Marshmallow, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is an incremental software update that focuses on quashing bugs rather than introducing new design elements.

Android One devices will be among the first to get Android 6.0 Marshmallow once it becomes available next week.

However, that doesn’t make it any less important; in fact, Marshmallow introduces a few nice conveniences, such as Doze, which extends battery life by changing the way apps behave in the background.

Google Now on Tap, on the other hand, shows you contextual information on just about anything, without taking up a lot of space on your screen. The update will also bring a plethora of new window animations, as well as individual notifications.

It remains unclear if the Cherry Mobile One G1 will get all the features of the new Android software, but I reckon most of them will find their way to the phone. Needless to say, I’ll be sure to write a follow-up post when my review unit takes a bite out of Marshmallow — again, ahead of every non-Nexus devices out there.

Cherry Mobile One G1

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Cherry Mobile One G1 specs (Price in the Philippines: P5,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.2GHz 64-bit, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU
* Adreno 306 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 5-inch IPS display with Dragontrail glass (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,500mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1.1