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

Picture 1 of 10

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

Google unveils Nexus 5X and 6P smartphones

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

A year after the Nexus 6 was released, Google, as earlier reports suggested, announced not one, but two smartphones to showcase Android 6.0 Marshmallow in its purest (and best) form.

Holding the torch for the Internet company’s own brand of mobile devices are the new Nexus 5X and 6P, which promise impressive performance in sleek and well-designed plastic (Nexus 5X) or metal (Nexus 6P) housings, not to mention early access to software and security updates directly from the big G itself.

Let’s start with the smaller of the two handsets: the Nexus 5X. Google’s long-expected follow-up to 2013’s Nexus 5 carries a 5.2-inch, full-resolution display and sees a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of non-expandable storage under the hood.

The new Nexus 5X and 6P promise impressive performance and early access to software and security updates directly from the big G itself.

Those internals are nothing to write home about, but perhaps the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor on the back, which Google claims will improve over time, and the 12-megapixel camera with larger pixels that allow for sharper and higher-quality images in low light are as impressive as Google makes them out to be. On that same note, the inclusion of a USB Type-C charging connector is also particularly buzzworthy, and it should make charging the 2,700mAh battery less frustrating with the right charger.

If you need a bigger screen and don’t mind paying a much higher price, there’s the all-metal Nexus 6P which pairs a 5.7-inch AMOLED QHD display with a best-in-class processor in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810.

The whole assembly measures just 7.3mm thick, making it easier to hold and use with one hand than its screen size would indicate. Like the Nexus 5X, the phone features a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a 12-megapixel camera that’s said to be capable of getting good low-light shots, and a USB Type-C port with native fast charging.

Both the Nexus 5X and 6P are already available for preorder in the U.S. and select markets. Pricing starts at $379 or roughly P17,800 for the Nexus 5X (16GB model) and $499 or P23,500 for the Nexus 6P (32GB).

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Nexus 5X (Price: $349):
* LTE
* 64-bit, hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 CPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* 5.2-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 12-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,700mAh battery
* Android 6.0 Marshmallow

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Nexus 6P (Price: $499):
* LTE
* 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* 5.7-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (1,440 x 2,560 resolution)
* 12-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone flash, laser autofocus
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 3,450mAh battery
* Android 6.0 Marshmallow

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc-LEG0T_4c” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Cherry Mobile unveils new MAIA series with Intel chips in tow

In Phones, Tablets by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Confirming earlier reports, Cherry Mobile today took the wraps off its MAIA line of devices (two tablets and one handset). MAIA, which is short for Making Amazing Innovation Accessible, is Cherry Mobile’s new branding for Intel-based gadgets, the company revealed. These devices are affordable, as expected, and they run Android KitKat on Intel’s latest 64-bit chipsets.

The hero product of the MAIA family is called the MAIA Smart Tab, an 8-inch tablet that can boot into Android or Windows 8.1 in seconds. It also comes with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage (16GB is allocated to Android; another 16GB to Windows).

The hero product of the MAIA series is the Smart Tab, an affordable tablet that can boot into Android or Windows in seconds.

The MAIA Pad is a run-of-the-mill compact tablet powered by Intel’s Atom x3 processor (the same chip found in the 7-inch ASUS ZenPad), while the MAIA Fone i4 is a starter smartphone that’s built around the same Intel silicon the former carries.

The MAIA Smart Tab, Pad, and Fone i4 is now on sale in the Philippines with a sticker price of P4,999, P2,999, and P1,999, respectively. Those prices aren’t bad, especially considering what you’re getting in return.

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Cherry Mobile MAIA Smart Tab (Price in the Philippines: P4,999):
* 1.8GHz 64-bit, quad-core Intel Z3735F CPU
* 2GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 8-inch IPS display (800 x 1,280 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 3,800mAh battery
* Android KitKat, Windows 8.1 (dual OS)

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Cherry Mobile MAIA Pad (Price in the Philippines: P2,999):
* 1GHz 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x3 CPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB expandable storage
* microSD card slot
* 7-inch display
* 2-megapixel rear camera
* VGA front camera
* 2,800mAh battery
* Android KitKat

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Cherry Mobile MAIA Fone i4 (Price in the Philippines: P1,999):
* 1GHz 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x3 CPU
* 512MB RAM
* 4GB expandable storage
* microSD card slot
* 4-inch display
* 2-megapixel rear camera
* VGA front camera
* 1,350mAh battery
* Android KitKat

Video shows iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus are highly water-resistant

In Phones by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

Image via Zach Straley’s YouTube video

Apple hasn’t stated explicitly that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are water-resistant, though it appears they don’t mind getting a bit wet, as YouTuber Zach Straley found out recently when he soaked the latest iPhones in a bowl of water for over an hour.

In his video description, Straley wrote: “Apple’s new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus seem very water-resistant.” The YouTube clip itself, which already has more than 200,000 views as of this writing, runs 7 minutes and 43 seconds.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus appear to be working perfectly fine after being soaked in a bowl of water.

Both phones obviously survived the ordeal and seem to be working perfectly fine, without any signs of water damage or traces of water finding its way into the screen or any of the cameras. The charging port, loudspeaker, and headphone jack also remain functional, Straley has confirmed in a follow-up video.

Although news of the new iPhones being highly resistant to water is certainly comforting to know, not to mention surprising, I don’t recommend you take your iPhone 6s to the shower, or to the swimming pool.

Prolonged exposure to water can cause corrosion if the liquid seeps into your device, possibly damaging its display and internal circuitry. So while Straley’s handsets seem fine for now, complications that may require a trip to the service center could arise further down the road.

Exposure to water can cause corrosion if the liquid seeps into your device, possibly damaging its internal circuitry.

Shower and swim with your iPhone 6s at your own risk; just because a couple of new iPhones were captured on video surviving extreme conditions doesn’t mean your phone is capable of the same feat.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_HbztTpL08″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Video culled from YouTuber Zach Straley

Unofficial iPhone 6s doesn’t cost an arm and a leg in PH

In Phones by Ramon Lopez2 Comments

Image via macradar.ru

Local fans of Apple’s latest — and much-improved — smartphones, it turns out, don’t have to wait too long to get their hands on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, unlike in previous years where it took parallel importers weeks to bring the newest iPhone to our shores.

And when they did, you could bet your bottom peso that it cost an arm and a leg to purchase even the off-contract 16GB model. (Remember the P117,585 iPhone 6 Plus that Revü Philippines co-publisher Alora Uy Guerrero wrote for Yahoo in 2014?)

Not this year, though. Retailer Widget City is already offering this year’s iPhones at slightly higher prices than those sold in offline and online Apple Stores. The 16GB iPhone 6s in silver, gray, or gold will set you back by P37,990, while its iPhone 6s Plus counterpart will run you P49,990. Rose gold variants cost a bit more. Do note that we’re talking about the same retailer that sold the iPhone 6 for P52,500 at launch.

Below is Widget City’s pricing for each model:

  • 16GB iPhone 6s – P37,990
  • 64GB iPhone 6s – P42,990
  • 128GB iPhone 6s – P47,990
  • 16GB iPhone 6s Plus -P49,990
  • 64GB iPhone 6s Plus – P57,990
  • 128GB iPhone 6s Plus – P69,990

Fans would have to shell out a premium for the joy (and the bragging rights) of being one of the first owners of the new iPhones. The markup is relatively fairer and less prohibitive than in past years.

According to a representative, Widget City will ship the units starting Tuesday, September 29, which is very close to Apple’s official release date of September 25 in the U.S. and select markets.

As expected, fans would have to shell out a premium for the joy (and the bragging rights) of being one of the first owners of the new iDevices in the Philippines. Thankfully, the markup is relatively fairer and less prohibitive than in past years.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus officially cost $649 (about P30,500) and $749 (P35,000) in the U.S. off-contract, and the feedback for both phones in the tech community has been largely positive so far, with popular websites like The Verge going as far as calling it “the best phone(s) on the market.”

Alcatel Flash 2 announced in PH, available September 30

In Phones by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

The Flash smartphone series has been a runaway online success for Alcatel and its exclusive retailer, Lazada Philippines, sparking renewed interest in the now-TCL-owned brand. And momentum is likely to escalate, following the unveiling of the new Alcatel Flash 2 in the Philippines, one of the first countries to offer the phone (through Lazada’s local website).

During the press conference earlier today, Inanc Balci, co-founder and CEO of Lazada Philippines, spoke of how well the P6,490 Alcatel Flash Plus is doing locally. He even revealed that at one point, Lazada Philippines sold as many as 29 Flash Plus phones per second. That’s a staggering number considering the novelty of the online retail platform in the country.

The Flash 2 seems to be a fairly solid 5-inch smartphone, but its cameras aren’t anything to write home about.

Now, about the Alcatel Flash 2: It seems to be a fairly solid 5-incher if you’re looking for something that’s designed for one-handed use and supports both FDD and TDD LTE standards, which is essential for anyone who is a bit of a globetrotter. The near-stock, Android Lollipop-based UI is icing on the cake, and so is the black sandstone rear cover, which improves grip and handling but it may turn off buyers who prefer a smooth finish, sadly.

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But while the Flash 2 is touted as a smartphone that puts photography front and center — a large chunk of the presentation showcased the phone’s “best-in-class” imaging hardware — I found its 13- and 5-megapixel main and selfie cameras to be a little underwhelming given all the hoopla surrounding both shooters. Hopefully, things can get better with software updates.

The Alcatel Flash 2 will retail for P6,190 when it goes on sale exclusively through Lazada Philippines on September 30.

Alcatel Flash 2 specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,190):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.3GHz 64-bit, octa-core MediaTek MT6753 CPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5-inch IPS display (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone flash
* 5-megapixel front camera with LED flash
* 3,000mAh battery
* Android 5.1 Lollipop

New on HOOQ: a Batman prequel, hit DC TV series, love triangles

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

It’s (unofficially) DC month on HOOQ, as three acclaimed TV shows that showcase characters from the comic-book universe make their debut on the subscription video-on-demand service. Also on this month’s “what’s new” list are two local releases from last year that present a new spin on the love-triangle format. Spoiler: This month’s recent additions are awesome and will likely soak up most of your free time.

Arrow

The TV series that reimagined the origin story of a relatively obscure DC crimefighter and challenged its audience to rethink the superhero genre on television altogether, Arrow is essential viewing for both comics fans and newcomers alike.

Three acclaimed TV shows that showcase characters from the DC universe make their debut on HOOQ this month.

Lead actors relying on stunt doubles is a common trope of superhero cinema and television, but Arrow’s Stephen Amell has done nearly all of his own stunts, which has allowed for some of the best-looking action sequences in TV history. Watch it if only for the mind-blowing, physics-defying stunts.

The Flash

The portrayal of protagonists in the modern superhero genre often borrow from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy; at times, an actor’s furrowed brows and moody scowls may seem straight out of Christian Bale’s Batman audition.

The Flash, and its faithful representation of the source material, makes for a refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable hour of TV.

It’s not often we see a spandex-clad do-gooder that employs humor and an upbeat personality to deal with his newfound reality. Which is why The Flash, and its faithful representation of Barry Allen (Flash himself) in the source material, makes for a refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable hour of television.

Gotham

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Fox’s retelling of the Batman universe takes place 15 years or so prior to the Caped Crusader’s existence, back when the recently orphaned Bruce Wayne was a poor little rich boy, future police commissioner Jim Gordon was a young, hothead cop, and baddies like Penguin and the Riddler were supervillains-in-training.

It sounds like a recipe for a compelling watch, and, for the most part, it is; this police drama has grit and promise and a great cast. A final word: Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Batman-verse Easter eggs because there’s plenty to see in the 22-episode first season.

The Gifted

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The Gifted, helmed by writer-director Chris Matinez, is a black comedy about the waning friendship between two ugly ducklings played by Anne Curtis and Cristine Reyes who light up the screen with their verbal melee. Strong acting across the board, offbeat humor, and a surprising plot twist make this film a blast to watch.

Strong acting across the board, offbeat humor, and a surprising plot twist make The Gifted a blast to watch.

Trophy Wife

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The mistress genre continues to be a thriving staple in Philippine cinema and television, and the Trophy Wife seems eager to provide a few interesting twists to a tired and clichéd formula. It succeeds in doing exactly that.

Derek Ramsay and his two sultry leading ladies, Cristine Reyes and Heart Evangelista, offer an abundance of eye candy, but it’s the lead actors’ solid performances that will hold your attention through 100 minutes.

How to properly install iOS 9 on your Apple device

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

Image via Digital Trends

Three months after its announcement, Apple’s latest major software update for iOS devices has started to roll out to supported iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches (see the full list of compatible models below). iOS 9 brings a number of new apps and functions to existing Apple products, including a smarter Siri, a low-power mode, a proper file browser in iCloud Drive, and split-screen multitasking on the iPad.

iOS 9 brings a number of new features, including a smarter Siri, a low-power mode, a proper file browser, and split-screen multitasking on the iPad.

Quite simply, if your phone or tablet runs iOS 8.4 without any hiccups, I highly recommend you upgrade to iOS 9. But in case you haven’t received the OTA update notification for iOS 9 yet, you can manually upgrade your device using iTunes, which is actually my preferred method of downloading and installing iOS updates, as it’s less likely to screw up the process.

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Even better, following the iTunes method will allow you to skip Apple’s download queue, spare your device’s storage of a huge install file (take note, 16GB owners), and download the update directly to your computer without plugging in your device. As always, backup all your data and settings through iCloud or iTunes before proceeding with the installation. With iOS, you’re never exactly sure how a software update would proceed (I found that out the hard way last year).

You can manually upgrade your device using iTunes to spare your device’s storage of a huge install file.

• Install the latest version of iTunes on your computer.
• Download the iOS 9 install file (.ipsw) for your device from the links below.
• Use a USB cable to connect your device to your computer.
• Run iTunes and ensure your device is detected by the software.
• Click on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch from the iTunes Summary tab under Settings.
• Press and hold the Alt key (Mac) or Shift key (Windows) and then click Check for Update in iTunes. Alternatively,             you can click Restore iPhone to perform a clean install of iOS 9.
• Select the iOS 9 install file you downloaded earlier in the window that pops up.
• Wait until the upgrade completes. Upon completion, your device will automatically boot to the “Hello” screen of iOS 9.

Look at how easy that is — no tech savvy required.

Note: Here are the direct download links for iOS 9 install files (.ipsw), courtesy of Redmond Pie:

iPad Air 2 (6th generation WiFi)
iPad Air 2 (6th generation Cellular)
iPad Air (5th generation WiFi + Cellular)
iPad Air (5th generation WiFi)
iPad Air (5th generation CDMA)
iPad (4th generation CDMA)
iPad (4th generation GSM)
iPad (4th generation WiFi)
iPad mini (CDMA)
iPad mini (GSM)
iPad mini (WiFi)
iPad mini 2 (WiFi + Cellular)
iPad mini 2 (WiFi)
iPad mini 2 (CDMA)
iPad mini 3 (China)
iPad mini 3 (WiFi)
iPad mini 3 (Cellular)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi (3rd generation)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular (GSM)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular (CDMA)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi (Rev A)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi
iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (GSM)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (CDMA)
iPhone 5 (CDMA)
iPhone 5 (GSM)
iPhone 5c (CDMA)
iPhone 5c (GSM)
iPhone 5s (CDMA)
iPhone 5s (GSM)
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 4s
iPod touch (5th-generation)
iPod touch (6th-generation)