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My Halloween giveaway: WinX Blu-ray Decrypter

I am still in on holiday mood. Thanks to the people from Digiarty Software, they have provided 10 license codes of WinX Blu-ray Decrypter for me to give away. Yes, yes, not all of us have Blu-ray players (I don’t). But you can always give this as a gift to someone who has one. After all, this software retails at $49.95. One less Christmas gift, right?

More details about this software, key features and specs can be found on its website. An excerpt on the same site states:

WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is a professional Blu-ray decrypting and copy tool for users to decrypt and backup Blu-ray to M2TS video file or Blu-ray folder (compatible with Win7 Media Player). It is able to remove and decrypt encryption (AACS MKB v25), BD+ copy protection, etc. in Blu-ray disc. With this program, you can effortlessly protect your beloved Blu-ray discs from scratch or loss. WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is an ideal Blu-ray backup solution which supports both Full Disc Blu-ray Backup and Title Copy modes. It allows you to decrypt Blu-ray Disc with all known copy protections and encryptions and backup 3D Blu-ray to 2D video in only 3 clicks. It also brings fast decrypting speed while preserving original video/audio quality. If you are looking for powerful software to backup and decrypt Blu-ray video disc, WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is the way to go.

All you need to do to get a chance to win one of the license codes is:
1. Join my Facebook page by clicking HERE
2. Leave a short message on my wall just to greet me and say you want the WinX Blu-Ray Decrypter.
SIMPLE! Everyone who properly follows the 2 steps above will be assigned numbers (1, 2, 3…) in the order that you post on my wall (first to post is #1, etc) and randomizer.org will choose the winning numbers. 
I will choose the winners by Sunday, Nov. 6, 10pm. Winners’ names will be announced on my wall by Monday, Nov. 7. I will send the license codes to the winners by private message on Facebook or via email.
(Note: License codes must be activated before November 30, 2011)

And stay tuned because I have another giveaway coming up after this one….
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Halloween giveaway: WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

I love special holidays because these are the times when I could be lucky to get a paid app for free or at a hefty discount. And Halloween is one of those times.

So I’m sharing this find with you. From Oct. 27 to Nov. 6, 2011, Digiarty Software, Inc. is giving its video converter software, WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe for FREE!

WinX HD Video Deluxe is an all-in-one HD video converter, DVD burner and YouTube video downloader. Convert your DVD collection so it can play on your iPhone/4s, iPad, iPod, PSP, PS3, Android, Blackberry and DVD player. You can watch your videos on the go.

Just a reminder.

This is a Windows version and does not come with free upgrades or tech support. The software also must be activated before Nov. 10.

To download it free, click HERE.

Digiarty has also discounted its WinX DVD Ripper Platinum from $49.95 to $35.95. This is a full license version that entitles you to lifetime upgrade. The link to promo for this is same as the one above.

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Sharp (Phils.) Corp. stays 30 years in the Philippines through thick and thin

2011 marks 30 years of Sharp’s presence in the Philippines. Wow, have they really been here that long?

Come to think of it, Sharp has been a part of my growing up years. At some point of time in my life, we’ve had a Sharp television set, washing machine, and karaoke. Not to mention several Sharp calculators!

At a recent media event held at Makati Shangri-la, we were able to listen to several of Sharp’s Japanese executives, including Sharp (Phils.) Corp.’s President and GM, Mr. Juntaro Shimamoto, who took us through Sharp’s history in terms of electronic offerings as well as where they are going in the future.

Sharp products over the years

Sharp Phils. executives
Some stuff that I found very interesting during the event were Sharp’s ‘green’ endeavors built into their products. Their poly-crystalline silicon (PSC) solar panels are now in use at a Cepalco-operated farm in Cagayan, the first solar farm in the country. Appliances like their air purifiers, ion generators, airconditioners and refs are incorporated with Plasmacluster Ion Technology that suppresses harmful airborne elements to promote a clean, indoor environment. 
This I like because our family always has allergic rhinitis attacks from dust and pollen and our home always has to have air purifiers and ionizers to help catch these.
Plasmacluster technology

They’ll soon be introducing into the market the largest LCD TV (all 70 inches of it), the Quattron 735 series.

A sneak peek of the 70-inch LCD TV

And an innovation to the washing machine is what they call the Eco Drum (or hole-less technology). The old technology where the drum had holes was flawed. It allowed black mold in the holes to contaminate and stain clothes. The new, hole-less drum prevents this from happening and comes with a wider tub so you can wash more clothes in one cycle.

Drew Arellano talks about the hole-less drum
Sharp’s executives, throughout their presentations, kept mentioning “Koten”, their trademark marketing strategy. Koten, which means “individual exhibit” is a once a year convention where all Sharp’s products are introduced to the public in a fun and easy way, assisted by Sharp’s team. Families and individuals can walk around their exhibits and see the actual appliances, inspect them, and get further information from the staff. They said they have seen sales of 150% of monthly sales achieved in just 3 days using the Koten strategy.
What’s reassuring for many of us is the statement directly from Sharp’s top management that they are here to stay in the Philippines – through thick and thin. 
It will be exciting to watch and see what Sharp (Phils.) Corp.’s 2012 offerings will look like.
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Netphone: Smart’s affordable smartphone

While smartphone prices have already been on the decline, making it affordable to more and more people, there is still a great majority of Filipinos whose mobiles are not internet-capable. This is true despite the Philippines being recognized not only as the texting capital of the world but also the world’s online social networking champ. Almost everyone I’ve asked has a Facebook account. A friend of mine even has a yaya (nanny) who’s got a Facebook account.

Recognizing these patterns, Smart designed its own brand of an internet-ready phone and tailor-fitted its features and apps to the Pinoy’s lifestyle and preferences. At a media launch recently, I was introduced to the Netphone, Smart’s offering for those who are budget-conscious but love to get on the internet and engage on social media.

By September 10, the public will be formally introduced to Smart’s very own brand of internet-capable phones via Netphone 701 (which I hear is a ZTE model). It is only the first model to come out, with other higher-end models being planned in the coming months.

Netphone 701 is an Android-powered phone, running on Froyo (ver. 2.2). This was my first time to play around with an Android handset but I noted that the initial apps loaded on it were pretty good. An FM radio, a Bible app, and even my favorite Docs To Go app was loaded in it. It’s got 2 cameras. The back camera is 3.2MP while the front cam is a VGA one. It was pretty light, something I’d always appreciate in a phone. Colors were quite vivid. This handset also allows you to turn your phone into a hotspot and it supports Flash 10.1. It has a 3.5″ touchscreen and runs on a 600MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

Not being familiar with the menus, I was trying to find out if the phone had wifi or ran on 3G only. Yup, the Netphone is good for both wifi and 3G. 

So far, we’ve seen features of an Android phone. Now what appears to set this Netphone apart from other smartphones in the market today?
Smart Center – Just a swipe and you can see your load’s balance. A few more touches and you can manage your Smart account, subscribe to call, text, data packages, and see any subscription’s expiry date/time. There’s no need anymore to memorize the text format for subscribing to any of these packages. As soon as new promos and offers are available, your phone’s info is updated.
SmartNet – this is a proprietary layer of software built on top of Android that allows social networking (Facebook and Twitter) and chatting (Yahoo Messenger) without having to spend a peso. And no matter how many status messages or chats you post, it does not eat up your load. Just one peso on your phone will still make all these work. 
Watch this video.

Now, you’re asking how much, right? Well, the prepaid phone kit costs PhP9,990 (very affordable compared to other Android handsets) but it is FREE when you get a postpaid Datalite plan at P800 (access to select sites) or a regular postpaid plan at P1200.
For those with a limited budget and have been holding off on purchasing a smartphone, the Smart Netphone may just be something to consider.
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Digital Out-of-Home Media – its possibilities for the Philippines

When I got this invite to attend a lunch with people from Digital Out-of-Home Media (or DOOH, for short) I thought about it several times. After all, I was not a huge fan of outdoor billboards and LED screens especially along EDSA and main roads. I was concerned about driving safety and felt that anything that would tend to let drivers take their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, was risky to the riding public.

But it was also my chance to learn a little more about the industry so with an open mind, I went to the forum. It was a whole day affair for members of the outdoor media industry but the press people were able to listen to some of them over lunch.

(L-R): Robert Michaels, Manolo Almagro, Lloyd Tronco

Robert Michaels (President, Signage Division at Digital View, Inc.) and Manolo Almagro (Digital Experience Strategist for Jollibee/Zenith Optimedia) gave some insights on how outdoor digital media is being used in the United States and Europe. Lloyd Tronco, Executive Director, Philippine Center for Out-Of-Home Media Research and Science, also fielded questions from media.
Personally, I would rather see uncluttered streets rather than these burgeoning mountains of billboards. I am also a bit concerned that moving advertisements can actually be more distracting than huge, still billboards. So the location of these digital media should also be considered.

Here are some examples of outdoor digital media in other countries:

Digital media helps to declutter highways and malls
This wall ad has a sensor. As it senses a pedestrian walking in front
of it, the sensor activates the built-in cameras in the ad
making it seem as though the pedestrian is being photographed by paparazzi.
Here’s an ad for domestic violence using facial recognition technology.
When it senses you looking away, the ad shows a husband beating up his wife;
as soon as you turn your head to gaze at the ad, the couple look okay.

In this mall, the digital media was incorporated into its “look”.

This one is so cute! It is a high-tech application of digital media outdoors.

I know outdoor advertising cannot be totally eliminated, at least in the short- to medium-term. But the form that it takes can evolve to newer modes to accommodate things such as driving safety, environment-friendly advertising, and overall personal safety. I can see some possibilities for the Philippines:

1. The clutter of billboards along highways can be combined and placed in strategically located digital LED boards. Imagine how much more sky we can see if we can put a thousand huge billboards into, say, 10 LED boards spaced apart along the same highway.

2. Newer technologies allow LED screens to take in ambient lighting and adjust the screen’s brightness depending on whether it is day or night, cloudy or bright. Some LED screens I see along EDSA can be blinding at night since the brightness is the same whether day or night.

3. Outdoor digital media need not be commercial advertising alone. I see it as a channel for public service as well. In the United States, there are amber alerts (alerts for missing persons) sent out via these LED screens. Why can we not use those same LED screens here in the Philippines, a disaster-prone country, to send out emergency announcements, safety instructions and similar public service announcements?

For now, I am reserving my opinion regarding the use of all sorts of advertising along major roads and highways. In everything, there are pros and cons and in the end it is a matter of balance. I think digital out-of-home media can be put to good use but it is important to study where it is placed, how it is used, and what messages it communicates. 

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Metro Manila Traffic Navigator launches – with more to come

Last August 1, 2011, the Metro Manila Traffic Navigator (a web-based, real-time traffic situationer) was formally introduced to the riding public by executives from both the MMDA and TV5 present, as well as media and bloggers. When I last blogged about the Metro Manila Traffic Navigator last June 29, the first day its beta version was opened to the public, I was delighted to find the page so easy to read, clean and as real-time as you can get (with updates every 5 to 15 minutes).

The Traffic Navigator was a personal savior for me. While MMDA was already doing a good job of announcing traffic situations in the Metro via their Twitter account, it was still difficult to filter the timeline. For example, in the case of Tropical Storm Falcon, I was attending a despedida for a friend and it was raining cats and dogs outside. I went online before going home and checked MMDA’s Twitter timeline to see if the route I was taking was going to be flooded. I did find out but not after some amount of scrolling through the timeline searching for the tweet specific to what I needed.

With the Traffic Navigator, you get a visual image of the initial 6 lines that are up (EDSA, Quezon Avenue, Espana, C5, Roxas Blvd and SLEX), the various points along each line and the traffic situation in any of 3 colors – red, yellow and green. Just on the homepage alone, it’s easy to check the red (heavy traffic) points and make plans for an alternate route. The Traffic Navigator has a system view, line view, and a Google Map view so you get the situation from a macro or micro level.

At the formal launch, MMDA Chairman, Atty. Francis Tolentino; TV5’s Chief of News and Information Division, Ms. Luchi Valdes;  and TV5 Interaksyon.com’s editor-in-chief, Mr. Roby Alampay, talked about how the idea of Traffic Navigator was born and what they hoped it would achieve in terms of upping public service levels. MMDA’s Yves Gonzalez also explained how the app was being updated to reflect real-time traffic situations. Since it began operations, about 6,000 drivers and commuters have already consulted the Traffic Navigator.

The Traffic Navigator is so versatile that it will run on, and is optimized for, any PC-based or mobile browser. It has been tested to run smoothly on Wintel computers, Macs, Linux machines, iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, Android phones, Windows Mobile, Opera, and any web browser currently installed on mobile gadgets.

Watch this short video to get a bird’s-eye view of Traffic Navigator:

Here’s more good news. While version 1.0 currently has 96 points and 6 lines, version 1.1 will have 140 points and 9 lines (plus an extended C5 line). Here are the additions:

* The C5 Line #4 which currently stops with Libis Flyover will be extended to include the following points: Bonny Serrano, P. Tuazon, Aurora Boulevard, Xavierville, Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College, C.P. Garcia, UP, Capitol Hills and Tandang Sora.

* An Ortigas line will be added to include (from point to point): C5 Flyover, Greenmeadows Ave., Lanuza Ave., Medical City, Meralco Ave., San Miguel Ave., EDSA Shrine, POEA, La Salle Greenhills, Connecticut, Wilson, Club Filipino, Roosevelt, Madison, and Santolan.

* A Commonwealth line will be added to include (from point to point): Batasan, St. Peter’s Church, Ever Gotesco, Diliman Preparatory School, Zuzuaregi, Gen. Malvar Hospital, Tandang Sora Eastside, Tandang Sora Westside, Central AVe., Magsaysay Ave., University Ave., and PhilCOA.

* A Marcos Highway line will be added to include (from point to point): San Benildo School, Robinson’s Metro East, F. Mariano Ave., Amang Rodriguez, Dona Juana, LRT-2 Station and SM City Marikina.

Carlo Ople then announced another new thing coming soon: Traffic Navigator will soon become a native app for the iPad and iPhone. This means you can fire it up directly without having to open up a browser. Analysis shows that about 14% of those who use Traffic Navigator do so via a mobile device. It makes sense then to make a native app.

The app will contain TV5 news, TV5 tweets and Traffic Navigator. Social media features are included, allowing you to share the traffic situation on Twitter and Facebook for friends who may not have the same access.

First view upon firing iPad app are top stories from TV5 as well as its tweets.
Each row can scroll left-right to reveal even more news.

How the Traffic Navigator renders on an iPad

How the app renders on an iPhone

Of course, while the team behind Traffic Navigator tries their best to keep the data accurate, there will be instances when information may be inaccurate. MMDA calls on us to help them keep the information accurate by tweeting them at @MMDANavigator or texting them at 0933-7401258.

Metro Manila Traffic Navigator
http://mmdatraffic.interaksyon.com

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Those hip Urbanears headphones are in Digital Walker!

When it comes to headphones, I tend to ask friends for recommendations before buying because those hip-looking earphones I see in computer shops may be eye candy but may not necessarily have great sounds. This is why my last purchase was the original Apple earphones with a built-in mike which set me back some P1,600. Better safe than sorry.

When Carlo invited me to Digital Walker Eastwood’s launch of Urbanears headphones, I thought that I’d have the chance to check out something other than Apple products. The Apple earphones I had were okay, sound-wise, but the metal earpieces hurt my ears after prolonged use. I was longing to find another option.

Urbanears is a company out of Stockholm, Sweden. Their team is made up of entrepreneurs, industrial and graphic designers, tech nerds, former retailers, salesmen and businessmen. They have backgrounds not only in electronics and design but in fashion as well. Their aim is to produce earphones that do not just have excellent sound quality but great fashion sense as well.

Vic Icasias of Technoodling

I picked up some very interesting trivia about Urbanears from Technoodling.net blogger, Vic Icasias:

* The models – Urbanears’ 4 models (Bagis, Tanto, Medis, Plattan) are derived from the names of suburbs in Sweden. In fact, the coordinates of each town is found in the packaging of the related Urbanears, just like this one.

* The colors – The way Urbanears chooses its colors intrigued me because this is one of their popular come-ons to the young generation. They release 2 collections annually. Each collection has about 12 colors but halfway through a cycle, it releases another 2 colors. Choice of shades try to achieve a balance between dark and light, masculine and feminine, classic and experimental. While black and white are mainstay colors in each collection, their other shades are changed from collection to collection. We were told that if you saw a shade you liked, you better buy the headphones already as you are not likely to see it again.

* The packaging – Whatever is the packaging’s color is the earphone/headphone’s color. Now that makes everything easy, right? Also, the packaging materials are almost all biodegradable. I noticed that everything was made of carton and the headphones/earphones were not stored in plastics.

Smart, compact packaging

 
No plastics!

* The fabric cord –  Unlike the usual earphones and headphones that are wrapped in rubber or plastic, Urbanears earphones and headphones are wrapped entirely in fabric. We were told that the purpose was to improve noise reduction, sound quality and prevent tangles.

* The microphone – This one I like. All their models have built-in microphones. You don’t see that in other earphone brands!

Here are the different models:

Bagis (SRP Php 1,200)

This is the entry-level model. It’s an in-ear type of earpiece for direct sound and efficient noise reduction. The rubber housing is the soft kind so it is very comfortable on the ears. A unique feature of the Bagis is that it snaps together so it can be worn around the neck.

Tanto (SRP P1,950)

The Tanto was made for maximum mobility. It is lightweight, portable and has a minimalistic look.

Medis (SRP (PhP 2,450)
This headphone combines ergonomics and functionality. Its Earclick solution secures the earpiece at two points instead of the usual one. This relieves pressure to almost nil.
 Plattan (SRP PhP2,950)
This is the classic headphone, an on-ear model. But it is not a fixed headphone. It folds down to the size of a fist and flat enough to be easily packed in luggage. It’s winning feature is the ZoundPlug that allows another friend to plug into the Plattan and share your music in full stereo sound.

I was very happy that Digital Walker gave Bagis earphones to each of the bloggers so that right there and then, we could test the sound as well as at home. I plugged mine into the iPad I had with me and the sound was very good. So far, I’ve also plugged it into my Macbook and got very good sounds.

For comparison, I did listen to my music again using the Apple earphones I already have. The volume level using the Apple earphones seemed to allow me to make the music louder. The Urbanears earphones, at maximum, seemed pegged at a lower decibel. Maybe those who listen to rock or prefer their volume high would balk. But for me, a Mom whose kids have earphones almost permanently glued to their ears, I would go for Urbanears because it seems kinder and gentler to the ears and yet produces very good stereo sounds.

Considering that I bought my Apple earphones with microphone for about PhP 1,600 some years back, the Urbanears Bagis (which is bundled also with a mike) at PhP 1,200 is a very good option to consider.

Drop by Digital Walker at Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Libis and check out their range of Urbanears headphones. There’s a big plus there — they are right beside a Digital Walker Cafe! Shop and snack in just one place.

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MMDA + Interaksyon 5 = Metro Manila Traffic Navigator

(UPDATE: Read my newer post, featuring the Traffic Navigator during its public launch, by clicking HERE.)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has been getting a lot of praise as one of the government agencies that has been in the social media forefront, rendering public service via Twitter and Facebook. Now, they’ve levelled up once more! Partnering with Interaksyon (TV5), they have created a web-based, real-time Metro Manila Traffic Navigator.

When you go to the homepage, you are presented with the System View. At first glance, it reminds me of a subway map but it covers the major thoroughfares where the MMDA cameras (I presume) are located.

Using the red, green, yellow colors to signify heavy, moderate and light traffic, you can see at a glance where traffic is bad and where it is okay.
To get greater detail, you can also choose the Line View. In this view you can select any of several lines: EDSA, Quezon Ave., Espana, C5, Roxas Blvd, or SLEX. In this screencap, I had chosen EDSA and was presented with several streets intersecting with EDSA and their color-coded traffic status.
And when you click the Google Map icon on the extreme right of each street, this is what you see (in this case, I chose Quezon Ave.):
The website is interactive. At almost any page view, you have the chance to share the info via Facebook and Twitter as well as chat interactively with MMDA. You don’t need to open Twitter or Facebook as a separate window or tab anymore. 
I was told that updates to the website are done every 15 to 30 minutes. That’s not bad at all!
At the height of Tropical Storm Falcon, I was out of the house attending a despedida. Following the tweets of MMDA then helped me plan my route home. But this is one-up over the MMDA tweets. Why? Because if you want to check the status of EDSA-Shaw Boulevard, like I wanted to, it took a while to scroll through all the MMDA tweets to find one that reported on EDSA-Shaw. But with a visual map like this one, you can immediately check the EDSA line view and see the status of Shaw Blvd. there.
In the works also is the mobile app version of this so that it is easier for those with mobile phones to use the application.
The website is still in beta (as it says in the logo) and I think that’s because some links are not yet working. For example, I clicked on their About, FAQ and Contact Us links and was directed to the System View page. Looks like those links are still under construction.
Try it out now and see for yourselves. If you love MMDA already, you’ll love them even more after this. And thanks to Interaksyon TV5 for making this possible.
To go to Metro Manila Traffic Navigator, click HERE.
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High-Speed Smart LTE 4G Technology is Coming!

Download movies in minutes. Download songs in seconds. Watch an HD YouTube video without buffering. Seriously.

Am I excited, am I excited? You bet I am! Because I got to hold in my hands the device and watched a demo showing that the upcoming Smart LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G technology can do all that. And all I can say is — IT’S WICKED FAST!

The LTE dongle – from the front…

…and from the back

A few of us bloggers were invited to sit down with some of Smart’s executives from their networking and marketing divisions and here is what we learned.


Info # 1 – The LTE infrastructure will be totally separate from all existing infrastructure.


Unlike all previous technologies at Smart that are built on top of each other, the LTE technology will sit on an infrastructure separately built from the ground up specifically to handle very large amounts of data from LTE subscribers. 
Info # 2 – LTE can go up to 100 MBPS


At present, actual download speeds are up to 70 MBPS according to Smart. But theoretically, the technology can handle up to 100 MBPS. Just look at that chart. The current 3G standard is only 2 MBPS. That places LTE at 35x the current 3G standard! And it is so much faster than most DSL and cable services being offered at present.
Info # 3 – Field trial results show LTE leaving old technology behind by a wide margin


The low latency connection makes LTE ideal for viewing streaming videos and engaging in other media-rich online activities such as gaming and accessing web-based applications and programs. Gamers and those in data-intensive tasks will thoroughly enjoy this as they say goodbye to lag time.
Info # 4 – LTE will be introduced late 2011 in major cities
First introduced in Boracay last April, some of my blogger friends were able to test its speed onsite. Smart plans to roll this out and test it in major cities, Metro Manila included. But I think only select cities in Metro Manila will be pilot areas.
Test Results
At the demo area of Dusit Thani Hotel, we were shown speed test results. Of course, there is nothing like a real stress test under more normal conditions (and I am looking forward to participating, if one like that is conducted) but even if you discount the fact that the setup was done under ideal conditions and the ping server was only in Cebu City and not in some server in the US, LTE was still incredibly fast! See the results we got…

Speedtest results on Noemi’s iPhone 4
If you’re asking me what the downside of going LTE is for now? You will need an LTE-enabled mobile phone to take advantage of the technology. Sorry folks. All our 3G mobile phones are not eligible. I am holding out hope that the soon-to-be-released iPhone 5 is LTE-enabled because that’s the next phone I am considering.
I asked how much such a service would cost but Smart could not answer for now. But I believe they will make it price-competitive.
High-speed internet is on the horizon and it looks like the pioneer in the Philippines will be Smart as they plan to introduce this service in late 2011. Several companies in other parts of the world have already rolled their LTE services out such as NTT DoCoMo in Japan, Verizon in the USA, TeliaSonera in Europe and Telstra in Australia. In Asia, Smart is ahead of its peers.
Read more about Smart LTE in Smart’s press release HERE.
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How (and how not) to activate a prepaid Smart Bro micro sim on the ipad

When I got my 3G iPad last year, there were no prepaid micro sims available yet at Globe or Smart so I went to one of the stalls in Theater Mall, Greenhills where they charged me P100 to cut up a standard Smart Buddy sim to micro sim size.

I discovered that Smart had this smart feature called Web Connect.

You register the sim online, fill up some info about yourself, assign a password, a TPIN (optional) and you were good to go. Web Connect allowed you to inquire about your sim balance, avail of promo packages, and get technical help when needed.

For several months, I was happy. I’d use the Pasaload feature to load up my iPad whenever i needed to go 3G. But when carriers began offering prepaid plans with unlimited surfing for a day, a week and a month, I realized that being charged P20/hour was getting costly, especially since I needed to be online whenever I was out of the house.

Mistake # 1 – Wrong Sim

When the Smart system detects that your sim is a Smart Buddy, you only see call/text promo packages on your Web Connect account! So all that time, I thought an ipad could never avail of unlimited surfing packages and had to be content with hourly rates. Yun pala, I had the wrong sim! It had to be Smart Bro!

So last week, off I went to Smart Wireless Center and purchased another sim, costing only P40. This time, I made sure it was a Smart Bro prepaid micro sim.

Mistake # 2 – Registering on Web Connect via Web

As I’m always wifi-connected at home, it was just natural for me to register on Web Connect while on my home network. Apparently, Smart’s system requires that you register by being on 3G AND using the iPad’s micro sim. Otherwise, your Smart Bro packages and other promos don’t show up on your account’s screen.

I learned this the hard way and had to communicate with @SmartCares (Smart’s Twitter account). They had to refresh my micro sim so I could register again.

I think I successfully activated my micro sim because last I checked, I could already see the Smart Bro packages for unlimited surfing options.

Just one last hirit (my suggestion) for Smart people.

The iPad has no texting function unlike a smartphone where you text a given format to subscribe to unlimited surfing. The way the Smart system is now, it appears that you need to first connect to Smart using your 3G connection (which means you get charged P10 just to connect). Then you choose an unlimited surfing option, say the P50 unlimited surfing for one day. So in effect, I get charged P60 instead of what should just have been P50 had I subscribed on a smartphone.

Can Smart please find a workaround so I can register for surfing options via wifi on Web Connect instead of spending P10 just to connect via 3G? Anyway, the account requires a password so no one else can enter the account and register for a surfing option and other packages.