Turning into a fandroid

HOW long does your initial fascination with a new phone last? Two weeks? A month?

In my case, it used to take about two weeks before the novelty of a new unit started to wear off.

But not with my LG P500, a device that has Android 2.2 or Froyo as operating system. Two months after buying it, I’m more fascinated and attached to it today than in the day after I unboxed the unit.

Before Android, I wouldn’t have considered buying either a Samsung or an LG unit. I was a Sony Ericsson and, later, a Nokia person. It was such a hassle having to transition to another mobile phone brand and relearn everything—from quirks in the keypad to the way other software components worked.

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Sony Ericsson shows off Cyber-shot phones in smiles campaign

Sony Ericsson is embarking on a national campaign to collect 1 million digital photos of people smiling andraise P1 million for the United Nations Children’s Fund or Unicef. For each smile Sony Ericsson photographs of people who visit their booths in SM malls all over the country, P1 will go to Unicef.

The campaign is done in partnership with nine SM Malls that will also be holding a contest among themselves on who could gather the most smiles. SM Prime Holdings vice president Marissa Fernan, who is a bit of a gadget nerd herself, is confident of Cebu’s chances to win the contest among SM Malls. You have until the end of this month to go to the Spread the Smiles booth in SM Cebu and have yourself photographed there.

If you give a P20 donation, you will be given a Digiprint photo printout, a spot on the Smile Wall and a raffle ticket to win a Sony Ericsson C510 Cyber-shot phone.

Vince dela Cruz demonstrates Smile Shutter
SMILE SHUTTER. Vince dela Cruz, Sony Ericsson product marketing manager, demonstrates how smiling can trigger the shutter of Sony Ericsson’s Cyber-shot phones during the launch of its Spread the Smiles campaign in Cebu.

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One more reason to love Nokia: standard audio jacks

(This is for my Sun.Star Cebu column on Tuesday, May 12, 2009)

Two Nokia phones I’ve recently tested steeled my conviction to transfer to the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer from Sony Ericsson, whose phones I’ve been using for at least a decade. The two units, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and N96, have standard jacks for audio and video-out connections.

With standard audio jacks, you can use regular headphones, including those you buy for laptops or personal computers, with your mobile phone. Not only do you have more choices when it comes to the quality or design, you also have more options when it comes to the price.

With the current design of mobile phone accessories like earphones and external speakers, you are locked into the phone manufacturer’s usually expensive product offerings. The other option is to risk buying cheap knockoffs that at times conk out in less than a week.

Standard headphones with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
USE REGULAR HEADPHONES. The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic has a standard audio jack and you can use any type of headphone with it. Above, a regular PC headphone works with the device.

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Why I’m leaving Sony Ericsson for Nokia

Like Saul, my conversion happened on the road.

I was on my way to a meeting and needed to constantly check my e-mail as well as keep my instant messaging (IM) accounts online when it hit me, like the Biblical blinding light, that the Nokia E71 is the best mobile Internet device I’ve used.

It isn’t just the ease by which the device is able to use multiple Internet access points—from various wi-fi hot spots with different security settings to HSPA —it is also the dependability of the device in keeping that connection. Nokia E71

In the two weeks that I was asked to test an E71 review unit, I’ve never experienced having difficulty going online and staying there.

When I was asked by Nokia to test the E71, I was a rabid Sony Ericsson fan boy. But a decade of using Sony Ericsson phones was no match with just a fortnight with the E71. By the end of the test, I had decided to shift to an Eseries device later this year.

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Sony Ericsson unveils W205 Walkman phone

SONY Ericsson has unveiled a new model in its Walkman line—the Sony Ericsson W205. The W205 is a slider phone and by its form, looks to be the progeny of the first slider Walkman, the W850i.

According to a company press statement, the “W205 makes the Walkman phone experience more accessible to consumers and is perfect for those who want all the classic Sony Ericsson mobile phone features while enjoying music on the go.”

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Nokia launches 5800 in Cebu

Nokia formally launched in Cebu last week its latest model in the XpressMusic product line, the Nokia 5800. The XpressMusic line is Nokia’s answer to Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones, devices that are designed for music playing.

The features of the Nokia 5800 are formidable—it comes with all the features you’d expect from a modern phone plus touchscreen control, built-in A-GPS, wi-fi connectivity, high resolution 3.2-inch display, and a 3.2 megapixel built-in camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual LED flash.

NOKIA 5800. Nikka Singson-Abes, corporate communications manager of Nokia Philippines, holds the Nokia 5800 during its launching in Cebu.

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PLDT Landline Plus goes prepaid: Turn any GSM phone into a portable “landline”

PLDT will launch this weekend prepaid plans for its Landline Plus service. The service, previously available only on monthly postpaid plans, gives consumers “fixed-wireless telephone lines.”

Calls to these wireless handsets, within a provincial area, are considered local connections and aren’t charged by the minute. The Landline Plus user is only charged by the minute for outgoing calls, not incoming ones. These handsets can also send and receive SMS messages.

PLDT Landline Plus PORTABLE LANDLINE. The PLDT Landline Plus Prepaid SIM running on the Sony Ericsson K8001. With the SIM, calls to this phone from a landline, whether Globe or PLDT, are considered local connections and are not charged by the minute. You know the SIM is active by the operator logo: it says PLDT instead of Smart. Click on photo to enlarge.

But the availability of prepaid plans is just an undercard (in boxing parlance) to what will be launched through TV ads during Manny Pacquiao’s fight this Sunday: Landline Plus is going GSM SIM-based.

It can now be used with any GSM mobile handset.

With the prepaid plan, not only are you free from being locked into the service for a year, you also no longer need to pay for the handset or activation fee. You also no longer need to submit applications and other required documents. You just buy the P100 SIM and insert it into a GSM handset that’s open line or locked to Smart and Talk and Text and you have a portable “landline.”

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Escribitionism with Twitter and Fring

I never thought that I’d be enjoying it but here I am, using Twitter regularly for the past week. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that has become all the rage among tech-savvy folk and many connectivity addicts since last year.

With the service, you can write short (140 characters) updates about yourself and have these published in your Twitter account or your website and blog. These updates can also be sent as text message or instant message (IM) notifications to your friends and anyone “following” you.

I signed up for a Twitter account last year but never got around to using it regularly. I sent a few messages to the account as a demonstration on the use of various media during a seminar for Salesian priests.

The main reason I wasn’t using it regularly was the price for each message you send via SMS. To use Twitter via SMS, you send your update as a text message to an international phone number. For each Twitter update, you are billed one international SMS charge.

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Sony Ericsson K850i impressive

I spent two glorious days last week testing the latest model in the Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot line: the K850i. When Jonjie Gonzalez, Sony Ericsson’s press relations man in Cebu, invited me to test a K850i demo unit for a day or two, I jumped at the chance. I am, after all, a rabid Sony Ericsson fan-boy.

The Sony Ericsson K850i comes with a 5-megapixel camera and a slew of standard Cyber-shot features that distinguish the line among camera phones.

Sony Ericsson k850i Sony Ericsson K850i. The latest in the Cyber-shot line comes with a built-in 5-megapixel camera and a lot of features that distinguish the line from other camera phones. The phone, however, no longer has the small mirror that helps you position yourself when taking self-portraits. Click on photo to enlarge.

It has a dedicated camera button and does away with the active lens cover of previous versions of the product line. I’ve gotten used to the active lens cover–a sliding cover that activates the phone’s camera when you expose the lens–and had to stop myself a few times from using my fingers to slide a non-existent cover. But doing away with the moving parts that make up the active lens cover makes the phone more compact.

The K850i, however, does not have the small self portrait mirror that had been a fixture in its phones. The small round mirror, which helps you align the phone to make sure that you get yourself inside the photograph, is very useful for taking self portraits, preferably beside belly dancers (darn, I missed them during the launch). I can’t understand why the company removed it.

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