Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Smart Netphone

I was invited to the launch of the Smart Netphone.

On a branding note, I would've simply gone with SmartPhone, but then that's me.

Smart Communications has just recently launched it's own Android-powered smartphone (See? How cool would that have been?)

It's a 3.5", 600MHz model targeted as an entry-level Android device starting at Php 9,900++ (or roughly US$230 based on today's exchange rate of 42.50)  Thankfully it runs FroYo (Android 2.2) because this adds a LOT OF SPEED and stability over Eclair (Android 2.1).  Trust me, I've lived with 2.1 for almost a year now, it's neat and all, but you really feel the sluggishness of the software.  Great decision to use 2.2 instead!

Decent specs for an entry-level model.  What I do find interesting is the unique app exclusive to the Smart Netphone.   The app is a combination of services custom built by Smart for people that are just starting mobile computing.

One of the major hindrances of 3G/4G data services in the Philippines is cost.  Without a data plan, a subscriber could easily be slapped with a Php40,000 or higher bill due to the fact that current smartphones connect to the internet for almost all their functions.  Smart solves this by having a widget data manager to control data costs.  Unlike generic data apps, this one is specific for Smart's services and prices so you only spend as much as you want to.

The other great part of the app is what they call the Social Stream.  Currently tied to Facebook and Twitter, it allows you to view your Facebook Status and Twitter streams for only Php1.00 (yes, 1 peso).  What it does is isolate Facebook and Twitter streams from the rest of the internet services.  This allows you to disable mobile data charges, but continue to Facebook and Tweet all day!

Over-all I think it's a decent entry-level Android.  Thumbs up to Smart for the cost-management app and custom social stream ticker.  Although a bit on the pricey side, Smart says they have intentions of introducing lower cost NetPhones in the future.  I think this is a great campaign because they're helping consumers try out the benefits of mobile internet without hiding costs or secretly charging customers without knowing how much they're actually spending!

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