FACEBOOK PAPER. The social networking giant has more than a billion active mobile users monthly, according to its founder and CEO. (Photo from Facebook newsroom)

Think mobile

In announcing his company’s purchase of Oculus VR, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social networking giant now has more than a billion active mobile users a month.

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” Zuckerberg said to explain the purchase of the virtual reality company.

That’s stunning numbers from a company excoriated in the past for not getting mobile. After their initial debacle with taking a hybrid HTML5 approach to mobile, Zuckerberg turned things around and had the company release native apps for the major mobile platforms.

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TOURISM GUIDE ON THE PHONE. There are a lot of things that you can do better and differently on mobile. Among them is guiding tourists. Photo above shows Sinulog Guide on a Windows Phone. The guide is part of the Digital Tourism program of InnoPub Media, a startup I co-founded.

Mobile now

MOBILE isn’t the future; it’s the present. That’s the gist of recently released Internet usage reports.

Last month, more Americans used smartphones and tablets than desktops or laptops to access the Internet, according to a study by analytics company comScore.

Also last month, Nielsen released its Digital Consumer Report that found, among many other things, that Americans in 2013 spent an average of 34 hours every month using apps or mobile web browsers on their phones as opposed to 27 hours using the Internet on personal computers. Continue reading →

LG GPad

Mobile shift

There is a big chance you’re reading this on your phone. A bigger chance this year than in 2012, anyway.

A common pathway to this article would be from social networks like Facebook and Twitter, services that people are increasingly logging into through apps on their phones.

This year, an article in the BBC announced, is the year “we all went mobile.”

And it isn’t just about using small screen and portable devices, it’s about a state of mind, said the article written by business reporter Matthew Wall. Continue reading →

LG G2

The LG G2 is a great high-end Android phone

THE first thing that strikes you when you turn on the LG G2 is how beautiful the display is. It is sharp and vibrant and comes on such a big screen. It’s almost realistic you’d find yourself gingerly pressing the glass.

And as you start using what is currently LG’s flagship device, the next thing that will strike you is how responsive it is. Opening apps, switching between applications and moving between screens feel fluid and seamless.

And as the day wears on, you’d find the phone’s large battery capacity kicking in, allowing you to use the device for an entire day without having to recharge.

I tried the LG G2 for several weeks and found the phone, which comes with Android Jelly Bean, a joy to use. Continue reading →

WEChat, Line and KAkaoTalk

WeChat, Line, KakaoTalk battle for users; no clear winners yet in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is the battleground for a bruising competition among a set of cute mobile phone applications: chat apps. Up north, the battle has largely been won in their home markets, with Line taking Japan, WeChat in China and KakaoTalk in South Korea.

In SouthEast Asia, however, there is no clear winner yet, said Junde Yu, the vice president for AsiaPacific of App Annie. Line, WeChat and KakaoTalk are battling each other across the region through TV ads, billboards and celebrity endorsements.

“We send our heartfelt condolences out to good old-fashioned SMS,” App Annie said in a blog post on the subject.

Yu said the fight is more than just about getting the top market share in social messaging. The apps are “entry points to dominate mobile.” Continue reading →

Smart LTE Advanced demo

Smart network ready for LTE Advanced: Rolando Peña

DAVAO CITY-After hitting LTE Advanced download speeds in excess of 200 megabits per second (Mbps) during tests in Manila, Smart Communications Inc. held another test in Davao City last Saturday.

PLDT and Smart Technology head Rolando Peña said he scheduled the test in Davao to show that the company’s network is able to deliver LTE Advanced throughout the country.

“I want to be able to tell my board of directors that I have personally tested the network up to Davao and that we are able to deliver the next generation LTE on a nationwide basis. To me Davao is the biggest challenge because it traverses several land-sea-land-sea type of combination,” Peña said during the test at the PLDT office in this city.

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The experience of writing on the BlackBerry Q10's keypad is really good.

The BlackBerry Q10 is a great phone

The experience of writing on the BlackBerry Q10's keypad is really good.

The experience of writing on the BlackBerry Q10’s keypad is really good. (Photo by Max Limpag)

BlackBerry launched in Cebu yesterday its first BlackBerry 10 device with a physical QWERTY keypad – the BlackBerry Q10.

I was able to play with the device for several minutes during the launch and found it a great phone for those who want a physical keyboard.

Organizers of the event held a game that had attendees answer questions via BlackBerry Messaging (BBM) as a way to try out the Q10 and its physical keyboard.

I was the designated typist of our losing team and found the experience of writing messages on the Q10’s keypad really good. There was an initial adjustment, of course.

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Parrot voice record BlackBerry Z10

Parrot is great voice recording app for BlackBerry Z10

Parrot voice record BlackBerry Z10

PARROT ON BLACKBERRY Z10. Parrot is a beautifully-designed app that produces very clear audio recordings. (Photo by Max Limpag)

As a journalist, I use my phone extensively for news gathering. Apart from it being my camera, the phone is also my main voice recorder for interviews. I still carry an MP3 voice recorder but this serves only as backup, the quality of recording in smartphones is so much higher.

Whenever I set up a phone, one of the first apps I install is a voice recorder. On Android, my favorite voice recording application is Easy Voice Recorder, which has a free version that more than meets my needs. On iOS, my favorite voice recording app is iTalk, which produces clear and great quality recordings.

On the BlackBerry Z10, which uses the company’s BlackBerry 10 platform, I find Parrot to be the best voice recording application.

Parrot is easy to use and the user interface is beautiful and minimal. It’s easy to use the app for recording.

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Brow.si website addon

Enhance your mobile site with brow.si

Brow.si website addon

Brow.si is a website add-on that enhances your mobile site by adding a flyout bar and makes it act a bit more native and increase engagement with readers.

Brow.si is a free website add-on that enhances your mobile site by making it act a bit more native and increase engagement with readers.

When viewed on a mobile browser, a website that enables the brow.si add-on will have a flyout bar that contains buttons for saving the article via Pocket or Readability and sharing the article through e-mail or via Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. The bar also lets you control the font size of the site as well as subscribe to push notifications for updates via the brow.si app on the App Store.

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Sun.Star Cebu mobile app

Learning to build mobile sites, from WAP to JQuery Mobile

Sun.Star Cebu mobile app

EASY, POWERFUL FRAMEWORK. JQuery Mobile allows non-programmers like me to easily and quickly build powerful mobile Web apps and sites. (Photo by Max Limpag)

About ten years ago, I built a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) mobile news site. This was at a time when the cellphone to aspire for was the Nokia 7110, a slider phone made even cooler when a similar device was used in the Matrix movie.

At that time, the Sun.Star website signed a content agreement with Smart for SMS and WAP news and they needed a WAP mobile site. Nobody among the website staff then knew how to build a WAP site. Being a sucker for always trying to learn new stuff, I volunteered to build it.

I finished the WAP site in time for the launch after a 3-day development marathon done after I finished my work at the Sun.Star Cebu copy desk, fueled by more than a pack of Marlboro reds a day (I was still a heavy smoker then) and guided by a phonebook-thick Wireless Markup Language (WML) reference for the Artus Netgate.

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