Sony Ericsson unveils the K660: ‘engineered for mobile Internet’

Sony Ericsson has unveiled a phone that I’m sure will give second thoughts to those already set on upgrading units this Christmas. The company announced earlier this month the coming availability of the Sony Ericsson K660, a phone that the company said was engineered for the mobile Internet.

The phone will only be available early next year so you might want to postpone your Christmas phone upgrade by a month or two.

k660i FUNKY COLOR FOR A COOL PHONE. The lime on white version of the Sony Ericsson K660i, an HSDPA-enable phone that has been engineered for the mobile Internet. Click on photo to enlarge.

The K660, which will be marketed as the K660i in the Asia-Pacific region, is an HSDPA-enabled phone. The phone can access so-called “mobile broadband” networks that offer higher connection speeds. This not only makes browsing on the phone faster, it also makes it a good laptop accessory—as mobile modem.

I don’t know how wide HSDPA coverage is in Cebu but in my previous experience with PLDT WeRoam, I got strong and consistent HSDPA signals within downtown and mid-town Cebu City areas. I got a consistent GPRS speed at home in Lapu-Lapu City but this was a few months back. I suspect things have improved since then, based on my wife’s experience with using her Sony Ericsson K800i as modem.

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Smart unveils USB modem for mobile Internet access anywhere

SMART Broadband, Inc. (SBI) has unveiled a USB modem that will allow users to access the Internet with speeds ranging from 384 kbps to 768 kbps anywhere where there is a Smart signal.

The device will be offered under SBI’s “Smart BRO Plan 799.? Under the plan, which costs P799 a month, subscribers have 60 hours of Internet usage per month and will be charged P10 for every 30-minute block in excess.

Smart BRO USB modem MOBILE INTERNET. The Smart BRO USB modem allows you to connect to the Internet anywhere where there is a Smart network coverage. The device is offered under a P799 monthly plan. Click on photo to enlarge.

When I first read the press release, I was immediately tempted to get one. But it’s not something I need just yet. I rarely go out right now and at any given hour I’m either at home or at the office or on my way to either place. Still, it’s certainly something I want.

People who are always on the go, however, will find the device useful, especially in areas with sparse Wi-Fi coverage.

The device is certainly a cheaper alternative to PLDT WeRoam and one that you can also use in a desktop PC. The device, according to a company press statement, is part of Smart’s “thrust of broadbanding the country, of making wireless broadband Internet services more accessible and more affordable.”

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Showing Windows the door

I’m now running Ubuntu Feisty Fawn beta on my main blogging gear – an MSI S260 laptop – and I haven’t stopped saying “wow” since when I finished installing it late Monday night.

I’ve used Ubuntu before, but mainly as a local server and the experience can be summarized as: boot CD, choose server setup, follow on-screen instructions, configure settings, then connect from my Windows PC.

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn desktop MY NEW WORKSTATION. Ubuntu running on my main blogging gear, an MSI S260 laptop. Click on photo to view larger image.

I’ve never gotten around to using Ubuntu as a desktop despite a long standing entry in my to-do list to do just that. I’ve tried its live CD and tinkered with desktops installed with it but for a long time I lived in a Windows-centric world–office PC, home unit, and laptop. What has stopped me from using Ubuntu sooner is my dependence on such applications as Photoshop and InDesign for newsroom work.

I’ve also been set back by my reliance on the open source Float’s Mobile Agent (FMA) to manage my Sony Ericsson K750i. When I’m at the office, my phone is, more often than not, connected to the PC and being managed by FMA. I use the program to send, receive, and archive messages as well as manage my contacts and calendar entries. When I’m on the field, FMA saves me a lot of time sending messages while writing stories.

FMA currently runs only on Windows but I found an old post in the support forum that said a developer was able to make it run in Linux using Wine.

Last Monday, I decided to wipe out Windows from my laptop and use the Ubuntu Feisty Fawn beta release. The IT staff assigned to the newsroom suggested I use a dual-boot setup and retain a Windows partition but I was bent on having an Ubuntu-only system.

I’m no geek, and the only sudo I know ends with “ko” but with the holidays, I figured I’d have enough time to tinker with my laptop if the installation goes awry.

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Mobile e-mail on the high seas

There’s probably room enough for only 10 people on this islet of six trees (or shrubs) and a single hut.

Yet on this islet near Olango Island and for several kilometers near it, you can still connect to telecoms networks and send and receive text messages, make calls, and browse the mobile Internet. It boggles my mind when I thought I’d “get away from it all” during a trip to several islets yesterday that I was never out of range of the telecoms network.

Gmail on Sony Ericsson k750i E-MAIL ON THE HIGH SEAS. Checking Gmail on a boat in the middle of nowhere. Click on photo to enlarge image.

Up until two years back, I still heard of stories and jokes on how people on several areas of Cebu had to go to a certain spot or climb trees just to send and receive text messages. I seem to remember being told of connection problems in Olango.

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Mobile Internet and Globe Visibility, a demo

In the run-up to Sinulog, the biggest festival in Cebu, I was invited to a demonstration of Globe Visibility, Globe’s HSDPA or High Speed Downlink Packet Access mobile Internet service.

The service, marketed by Globe with buzz phrases such as “3G plus,” “better than 3G,” and “mobile broadband,” promises download speeds of up to 1.4mbps. In the limited time that I observed the demo, Globe Visibility was browsing at breakneck speeds. Heck, it was even faster than the faltering and intermittent Globelines Broadband connection I had at home.

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Re-installing my life: the perils of keeping everything online

For more than a year, I have been moving my data online as part of an experiment to make the network my computer. With the telecoms disruption caused by a recent earthquake in Taiwan, my world crashed.

As I write this, the Globelines Broadband connection I have at home is still horrendously slow. It is a 7.8 mbps line to nowhere. I was giddy upon seeing for the first time the notification that my connection to Globelines is 7.8 mbps (it used to say 2 mbps). Now, the notice feels like a taunt.

It takes about as much time to load pages with Globelines Broadband right now as it would take a Sinulog contingent to finish a dance. To say the connection is as slow as molasses would be to overstate the viscosity of the substance.

It was a good thing that I use Gmail for mobile application in my phone, a Sony Ericsson k750i using a Smart pre-paid subscription. I can open my GMail messages faster on my phone than I could using Globelines in my home PC. Half of the time, I couldn’t even get past the Gmail login screen when I use the Globelines connection.

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WeRoam saves the day: Updating WordPress to latest release

Internet connection has been dismal these past few days following the earthquake in Taiwan that cut submarine cables connecting parts of Asia to the Internet. The Globelines Broadband account I use at home chokes on most web sites. When I connect using it, I’d be able to load pages for the first few minutes and then the connection gets stalled again.

The intermittent connection has made me dependent these past few days on the PLDT WeRoam account temporarily assigned to my wife. WeRoam isn’t as fast as Globelines BQ (before the quake) but with it, I manage to check my mails and browse “must-visit” sites such as del.icio.us and Lifehacker. I seldom visit, let alone log into, my blog these days because of the awful connection speeds. Luckily, I managed to open my Google Reader an hour back and read JAngelo’s post about a vulnerability in WordPress, the open source script I use in this site. I promptly logged into my blog and found that version 2.0.6 has been released.

Seeing that WordPress 2.0.6 “includes an important security fix,” I quickly prepared to update blogs I run and help manage. Before last week, I wouldn’t have dared upgrading my blog using WeRoam. The signal at home is weak and my previous attempt at using WeRoam’s connection to FTP files to my server had me giving up after a few minutes, it was so slow I decided to switch to Globelines.

But today, WeRoam is fast. Not Globelines fast but fast enough for FTP uploading of files to the server. Thank God. With my blogs updated, now I can sleep.