Are you open today? What’s the number of your Ayala branch? Answers to these questions are easy to program as chatbot routines. Instead, here I am, after more than an hour of calling and searching on mobile on my way to and now attending an event, and none the wiser as to whether any of Union Bank’s branches in Cebu are open today and until what time.
Nobody answers the phones of the different branches I called (may be an indicator) and the branch listing on the site is a non-responsive table and text is garbled. I went to the Facebook page to send a message but saw the indicator “typically replies within the day.”
Smartphones are used extensively throughout the travel process – from getting inspiration on where to go, to planning, booking, actual traveling and even after the trip, according to a study by Google Inc. and Ipsos Media CT. The study, “The 2014 Traveler’s Road to Decision,” is an update to a similar research in 2013 and was released last year.
Mobile is critical at all stages of travel and influences booking decisions, the study said.
According to the study, 67 percent of leisure travelers use smartphones at all stages, 31 percent for getting trip inspiration, 27 percent for research, 14 percent for booking, 50 percent for the actual traveling and 37 percent for post-traveling.
BUILDING on the success of Zenfone 5, Asus recently released a cheaper version of the handset in time for end-of-the-year upgrading – the Asus Zenfone 5 Lite.
The Zenfone 5 Lite has a dual core Intel Atom 1.2 Ghz processor with 1GB RAM and an 8GB internal memory that is expandable via microSD up to 64GB. The phone comes with a 5-inch qHD display of 960×540. It has an eight-megapixel rear camera with auto focus and LED flash. It comes with a .3-megapixel selfie or front camera.
Except for their prices, the Starmobile UP Mini and UP Lite don’t come off as cheap. Their build quality is excellent and the phones are very responsive.
I passed the UP Mini around and asked friends and colleagues to feel its finish, check out the device’s responsiveness and guess its price: P15,000 said one, P13,000 said another. The lowest guess was P5,000 with most saying it’s price was higher than P8,000.
The UP Mini actually sells for P3,690 and what a device for such a price. It has a 1.3GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU with Android 4.4, a 4GB built-in storage expandable via micro SD, 8MP rear camera with Backside Illumination (BSI) and 1080P at 30FPS video capture. The device is dual SIM with dual 3G standby.
WHEN you first hold the Huawei Mate7 in your hand, what is immediately apparent is how sleek its design is. At 7.9 mm thin, the Mate7 is a well-built device with top-of-the-line specifications worthy of a flagship device.
I tested the phone for a few days this week and found the device a great option for those who prefer their phones with larger screens.
The Mate7’s 6-inch screen is bright and sharp. While it’s not quad HD, the difference isn’t by much, at least as far as I can see. I use an LG G3, which is a quad HD phone, and I didn’t see any glaring difference with the Mate 7’s display.
The phone packs a powerful octa-core CPU that’s more than up to the task of running any app or game. In my few days of using the device, I found it very responsive and quite zippy. I loved using it for work – managing emails with Mailbox, taking down and organizing notes using Google Keep and Evernote, working with interns in our startup via Slack, writing and editing using Google Docs, reading articles and keeping up with news updates via apps Flipboard, Pocket and Zite.
WHEN are you due? I asked a PR professional last week, two months after she gave birth. In my defense, I was seated when she approached me and I looked up at her face, not at her tummy. She said it was obvious we haven’t seen each other for some time, while, involuntarily I think, patting her tummy.
A colleague looked horrified at the faux pas. Technology, I said to explain myself, failed me. I had emailed her just a few days earlier and got a vacation auto-reply about her being on maternity leave.
Had I been on Facebook, I would have known about her giving birth. But I have been mostly off the social network and didn’t know this.
More than just a device by which we make calls, today’s phones are portable computers that we carry around with us wherever we go. And what a portable computer it is. The processing power of devices by which we hurl Angry Birds to space is more than that of the system that brought man to the moon.
Yes, we still use phones to make calls but this is the least of the things we do with the device. The IBM Mobile First blog, for example, listed earlier this year 99 devices and services that have been replaced by mobile phones, running the gamut from landlines, to cameras, flashlights, to business productivity tools. US consumers, for example, now spend more time on mobile devices than watching TV, according to Yahoo-owned mobile analytics company Flurry. That’s also the case in the Philippines, according to the “Ad Reaction 2014: Marketing in a multiscreen world” study by Millward Brown.
For many people, phones have become the primary computing device. Certain tasks lend themselves well to the phone. The smaller screen is more than made up for by the device’s portability, accessibility and increased functionality brought by things like location data. Here are tasks that are better done on mobile:
WITH all eyes on the latest and greatest flagship devices of the different phone manufacturers, it’s easy to lose sight of the bottom end of the lineup — the entry-level phones that will connect the next billion to the Internet.
Starmobile’s Vida is such a phone. Its technical specs are good for an entry-level device: 1GHz dual core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with a 512MB RAM and a 4GB built-in memory with provisions for up to 32GB expansion via a micro SD card. It comes with Android Kitkat.
A FEW days back, Google released a new email product called Inbox By Gmail. It is a re-imagining of the email, an “inbox that works for you.”
Google said the product, currently available only by invitation, was built on things they learned from their pioneering email service, GMail. It is, according to the service’s website, a “fresh start that goes beyond email to help you get back to what matters.”
I got into the service and found it visually refreshing. It incorporates Google’s Material Design style guide for consistent look and interaction across all devices. It is much more visually appealing than current email clients, including the existing GMail application.