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June 16, 2007

Is Apple slowly embracing Windows?

GigaOM asks why would Apple offer Safari for Windows know that its introduction could very well boomerang back unto itself (vulnerabilities, outrage and of course, the mocking). Om offers some answers and points out to Robert Cringley’s theory.

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June 15, 2007

Top 10 Massively Multiplayer Online Worlds

According to GigaOm, World of Warcraft holds the record in their Top 10 Most Popular MMOs. The complete list includes the following:

1. World of Warcraft – 8.5 million subscribers (released 2004)
2. Habbo Hotel – 7.5 million active users (released 2000)
3. RuneScape – 5 million active users (released 2001)
4. Club Penguin – 4 million active users (released 2006)
5. Webkinz – 3.8 million active users (released 2005)
6. Gaia Online – 2 million active users (released 2003)
7. Guild Wars – 2 million active users (released 2005)
8. Puzzle Pirates – 1.5 million active users (released 2003)
9. Lineage I/II – 1 million subscribers (released 1998)
10. Second Life – 500,000 active users (released 2003)

Aside from World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and Second Life I haven’t heard of the other MMOs. I know Gaia Online but it’s supposed to be a message board or forum (practically the world’s largest message board according to BigBoards with 7,838,975 members).

Guild Wars seems to be doing good here in the Philippines but I wonder why Ragnarok Online isn’t on the list?

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June 15, 2007

How to erase that bad online reputation?

With the growing popularity of blogs, online reputation management has become a huge concern to companies and their PR agencies. While they can easily cover their tracks on traditional media, the internet is a whole new creature to deal with. Before, they only have to take good care of a few dozen press people and make sure all their products and services get good exposure. They can even seal an advertising deal with the publisher or the network and be confident that that bargaining chip (advertising cash) could help manage their reputation.

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June 14, 2007

G.ho.st Virtual Computer

G.ho.st stands for Global Hosted Operating System and works like a Virtual Computer that runs on your browser. It is still in the Alpha stage so it might be very buggy.

Ghost OS

Actually, it is. I’m having a hard time shaking off the browser as it resizes whenver I move the mouse around. There’s not much apps inside there — just a browser, the file managers, RSS reader, sticky notes, a clock, calculator, Ghost notes, etc. Everything seems to run on the Flash platform and its a bit slow on mouse events (well, it really depends on your broadband connection).

Similar the the earlier eyeOS (which, btw, is much more developed now), it’s still a fun thing to try out.

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June 14, 2007

What’s your PR policy?

For sometime now, local PR agencies have been trying to court bloggers by inviting them to press events, parties, treating them to lunches, sending them gifts and tokens. Jayvee’s Blog and Soul project is a testament to the growing interest of these public relations agencies to either enhance, protect, repair and/or preserve the brands of their client companies. Marc aptly refers to it as online reputation management.

Likewise, there’s also the paradigm shift where bloggers are slowly being considered as members of the press or media. Eric recounts his experiences being a grassroots blogger getting invites to press events and explains that his initial hesitation was primarily due to the fact that he’s just a blogger and not really part of the press. Does acceptance of an invite also requires you to report about it (by blogging of course) and does it also entail you following journalistic standards?

Anyhow, I’ll go back to the main topic and ask the question – what’s your PR policy? Here are the possible answers and scenarios:

a.) Completely avoid PR involvement as much as possible. Do not attend press events, party invites, accept gifts or tokens and paying for your own meal (if it involves you writing a blog review of it later on). A friend and fellow blogger always tell me it’s hard to write a negative review of a restaurant if the owner let you in on a free buffet. If you pay for your own meal, you’re free to say whatever it is you really thought of it.

b.) Accept invitations without commitments. You attend but express that you will not blog or review anything about it. That way, there no expectations from both parties. That goes without saying “you got something and they didn’t get any“. However, that actually defeats the purpose why you were invited in the first place (at least 90% of the time).

c.) Get involved and disclose. Accepting invitations, gifts/tokens and free services and blogging about it as a matter of full disclosure to your blog readers is another option. A disclosure will at least serve as a warning to your readers if later on you make a positive review of their products/services, it was influenced in some manner.

Anton says he invented and follows another school of thought in handling PR events. I could not quite catch it but I think it’s more like option C.

I’ve had my own fair share of invites, gifts and free services. I thanked them for these and always disclose any involvement with such companies or agencies. I guess I’m more inclined on the principle of transparency. And oh, sometimes I do pick up the tab too.

So, what’s yours?

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June 13, 2007

My Philippine Travel Scorecard: C+

How much of the Philippines have you seen, lived on or visited? Check out Eugene’s Lakbayan scorecard. I got a C+ (C plus). :D


My Lakbayan grade is C+!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Was able to cover most of southern Luzon because back in college some friends and I went on a road trip from Cubao to Ormoc, Letye (bus went on the barge at Matnog to reach Samar), took a SuperCat to Cebu then flew to Iloilo. The north-western part Luzon was covered thru several roads trips to Vigan/Pagudpod. Man, the first one was 13 hours long. Basically, only Palawan and Masbate are the only major islands I haven’t been to.

I guess I need to travel deep down south more. Palawan is next on the list, then Sagada. Friends and relatives have been asking me to visit them in CDO, Cotabato and Zamboanga decades ago but I was afraid to venture there then (bombings and all).

Hopefully, by next year, I’d get a better grade. I’m aiming for a B+!

Updated: Grading system was revised. I’m now at C+. ;)

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June 13, 2007

Blackjack: Samsung SGH i600


I couldn’t resist and wait for that much anticipated Apple iPhone. Besides, the lack of 3G capability and the ability to manually change batteries is a huge turn-off. For a while now, I’ve been scouting for a PDA or a smartphone and I’ve actually considered the new but expensive Treo 750 and the updated Nokia E61i. Sadly, none of the cellphone or gadget blogs that I read didn’t really gave me good reviews about them. In fact, I relied mostly on gadget forums and tech sites to get feedback about these phones. I guess most gadget blogs aren’t a good source of product reviews since they don’t usually own (or even seen or touched) the devices they’re blogging about. That’s for another discussion altogether.

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June 12, 2007

Condoms for your phones, anyone?

I really thought it will come to this. Some time back, I read in a newspaper (guess it was a Malaysian daily since I was in Penang that time) that some South African abalone divers are being monitored by the local authorities. So to avoid being captured, they’ll have someone on the lookout that would send them text messages while they’re under the water diving for the shells. The best way to protect their mobile phones underwater was by wrapping them with condoms.

Phone Condoms

I thought there’s a potentially lucrative business idea in there. Apparently, some Dutch guy already thought of it and calls it Skins Mobile protectors. He’s already planning on shipping them to Britain with packs selling between £2.99 to £5.99. Pretty cheap, huh?

Now, a guy can go to the store, buys a pack of condoms and tells the cashier it’s for his N95.

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June 12, 2007

Apple Safari Browser on Windows PC

Now, there’s another browser we can use on all our Windows PC. During the Apple WWDC 2007, which just concluded a while ago, Steve Jobs announced the Safari browser to be available for Windows PC. That, aside from announcing Leopard (Mac OSX 10.5) which is now entirely 64-bit ples all the other cosmetic upgrades.

Apple Safari
HTML rendering time (in seconds)

You can download Safari 3 Public Beta here. I installed it on my desktop and posted this entry using Safari. I have this gut feel it’s not really that fast. Was trying it out along with Firefox, Flock and IE7 doing some browsing inside my WP Admin Panel and it seems Flock does load much faster than all of them.

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June 11, 2007

Apple MacBook prices drop 20%

As expected, the recent announcement of newer and faster MacBooks and MacBook Pros has certainly affected the unit pricing and has already trickled down to the local retailers here in the Philippines. Here are the latest retail prices of the MacBooks:

MacBook Prices

Mac Book 13 inch (white)
13.3″ TFT display
1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
512MB (2x256MB) SD RAM
Combo Drive (DVD/CD-RW)
Intel GMA 950 64MB Video RAM
60GB HDD – Php59,990
80GB HDD – Php64,990

2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
1GB (2x51MB) SDRAM
Super Drive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
80GB HDD – Php74,990

Mac Book 13 inch (black or white)
120GB HDD – Php79,990

Mac Book 13 inch (black)
2GB (2x1GB) SDRAM
200GB HDD – Php99,990

With the higher-end MacBooks, previous prices were Php20,008 more expensive. That’s just over 20% price cut. A really huge drop if I might add.

On the other hand, the prices for the Mac Book Pro and the iMacs remained the same. Prices taken from Apple Center as of June 10, 2007.

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June 11, 2007

Folding @ Home Distributed Computing

Been running Folding@Home (FAH) for a couple of weeks now from two PCs – one on my 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo laptop and on my AMD 64 X2 3800+ desktop. If you have idle PCs around, you can be a part of this too:

Folding@home is a distributed computing project designed to perform computationally intensive simulations of protein folding. It was launched on October 1, 2000. By joining together hundreds of thousands of PCs throughout the world, calculations which were previously considered impossible have now become routine. FAH has targeted the study of protein folding and protein folding disease, and numerous scientific advances have come from the project. When launched, it became the second largest distributing computing project after SETI@home.

As a chemist by discipline, this project reminds me of the days in the lab mixing polymers, doing gas chromatography and operating the NMR machine. My thesis then was about polymers + capacitors = electronic nose.

Folding @ Home
Anyway, I though FAH was a good way to spend all those unused CPU cycles. Besides, the desktop is almost always on 24/7. Why not use it to contribute to something good?

If you’d like to contribute your CPU cycles, you can download the FAH client here. Even ATI Grahics Procesing Units (GPUs) and PS3′s cell processors can perform these tasks. Actually, the PS3 are the best (or most powerful) number crunchers out there in the wild.

You could also join me in the team rankings. My username there is “yuga” and the team name is Pinoy Bloggers with team ID: 74308.

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June 10, 2007

Blog hopping, alive and unscathed!

I’m back, sort of. Blog hopping, replying to emails and catching up on a lot of readings. I dozed off right after I arrived home yesterday and after an almost 72 hours of grueling, un-amazing trip.

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June 10, 2007

Asus Eee PC: the 7-inch, flash-based laptop


Intel and Asus teamed up to deliver one of the smallest and cheapest mobile internet devices around – the Asus Eee PC. Here are the specs:

Asus Eee PC 701

EeePC 701 Specification:
Display:7 inches
CPU & Chipset: Intel Mobile CPU & chipset (probably Centrino 1 GHz and up)
Operating System: Linux os Microsoft Windows XP compatible
Communication: 10/100 Mbps Ethernet; 56K modem
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11b/g
Graphic: Intel UMA
Memory: 512MB, DDR2-400
Storage: 4GB, 8GB and 16GB Flash
Webcam: 300K pixel video camera
Audio: Hi-Definition Audio CODEC; Built-in stereo speaker; Built-in microphone
Battery Life: 3hrs (4 cells: 5200mAh, 2S2P)
Dimension & Weight: 22.5 x 16.5 x 2.1~3.5cm, 0.89kg

It won’t replace your current full-blown laptop now but you have something very light to carry around for all your surfing and blogging needs.

Although the battery life is just 3 hours, it still beats a lot of regular 2-hour laptops out there. A full keyboard, less than 1 KG in total weight, flash based so there are no moving parts in the storage for a bump-proof ride, and wifi connectivity tops it all. The best part is the price is as low as USD$199! How cheap is that, huh?

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June 09, 2007

3 Days, 2 Nights, 4 Airports

No, this is not a holiday vacation package of some sort.

I can’t believe this is happening. I checked out of my hotel in Karachi last Thursday and it’s already Saturday and I haven’t reached Manila. I spent the night at Jinnah International Airport (Karachi, Pakistan) waiting for another flight to Bangkok as the scheduled one was canceled and I was not informed. I’ve also resolved to the thought that I will also miss my connecting flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Manila the following day.

After waiting for 13 hours, I was able to finally check in with another Thai Airways flight but to my surprise, it wasn’t going to Bangkok but Seeb Int’l Airport at Muscat, Oman. The damn plane was going the opposite way! From the plane, I saw the entire city devastated by what seemed to be lahar flow. Turns out there was a powerful cyclone (Cyclone Gonu) the day before and all flights thru there were affected.

suvarnabhumi-airport1.jpg
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Sleeping at the airport is no fun.

After spending almost 8 hours in the plane from Karachi to Oman to Bangkok, we landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport greeted by Thai Airways staff with some more bad news. My alternate connecting flight was also fully booked. They got us a new sked from another airlines, Kuwait Airways, for a later date.

Tired, sleepy and cold, I’m waiting to check-in for our 12 noon flight to Manila. I’m praying really hard nothing unfortunate happens again.

Now, my only worry is whether I’d get my luggage when I arrive at the NAIA airport. Will all that changes in luggage tags, I sure hope I don’t end up losing another one.

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June 08, 2007

Yahoo! Mail Unlimited Storage

I was just checking my Yahoo! Mail today and I noticed it has finally upgraded my Inbox to unlimited. Cool.

Does that mean we’d bee seeing something similar to a GDisk storage soon?

How does unlimited storage work?

It’s pretty straightforward—users that follow normal email practices and comply with our anti-abuse limits can consume an unlimited amount of free email storage. This will apply to both new and existing users.

I guess that means “no”.

Anybody else still using Yahoo! Mail noticed the unlimited storage upgrade?

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June 08, 2007

Problogging: Business or Career?

In most of my talks about professional blogging, I’d refer to many types of them and explain the nature of their revenue source. However, two types of of probloggers are more prominent than others — the grassroots problogger (independent) and the career problogger (network blogger). While they may also be blogging part-time or full-time, the two differs in one major aspect.

The network blogger looks at his blogging activity as a career, the same way any 8-5 office worker sees his job in the company he works for. The best part of being a network blogger is that it eliminates the 8-5 routine and replaces it with telecommuting (or some would prefer to call freelancing/working-from-home) and still earning the regular monthly salary. However, there is danger that this source of income is regarded as just that — salary.

On the other hand, you have the grassroots problogger (the indies) which rely directly on their own blogs to generate income. The same flexi time benefits apply but in this case, there’s no fixed monthly salary to be had. The revenue at the end of the month will vary on blog performance (e.g. traffic) and volume of ad placements. This setup can be regarded as an entrepreneurial endeavor in a form of internet business.

So, you have two probloggers looking at their blogging income as either salary or revenue.

Yaro wrote a very interesting piece on “How To Leverage Blog Income To Build A Web Property Portfolio” in his blog and I can never more. However ones blogging income is derived, he advises that one use this income to invest on other ventures or web properties. I always wanted to be able to build a brick-and-mortar business from whatever revenue I generate from my internet ventures and hopefully translate the same success online to the offline world. I guess the term diversify comes to mind.

Back in 2003, when I was still working for Microsoft, I read Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and one tip he revealed there that I’ve always put to mind was “that I should not work for money but let my money work for me“. Hence then, I’ve taken that advise to heart.

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June 07, 2007

Last days in Karachi

Shisha The past week seemed to pass by so quickly and despite the very hot and humid weather, I managed to have some fun and see some places here in Karachi and back there in Lahore. Those huge mosques in Lahore are beautiful at night will all those lights flowing over the walls and we tried shisha (smoking device, also called huble bubble or hookah) from one of the popular night spots in the city called Cocoo’s Place. You’re basically smoking raw tobacco flavored with either apple, strawberry or mint. My lower jaw got swollen the next day from all that puffing.

They also made me chew paan which is betel leaf filled with half a dozen weird concoctions. I almost threw up, until they said it was okay to spit it out. I swear, after a few seconds of mixed sweetness and minty flavors, I smelled shampoo in there. I forgot to bring my camera so no shots here. Some of the guys here tell me to be careful when taking pictures, especially of women, or else I could get into some trouble. Thus, the camera is always tucked in the bag or stays in my hotel room.

Karachi is the most commercial city with, I was told, over 14 million residents — one of the biggest in the world. The metro is along the coast of the Arabian Sea and I was able to visit one of the public beaches (Clifton Beach). I would have wanted to take my first camel ride but I guess the horse was good enough.

Clifton Beach

That’s 14 million people and I rarely see any foreigners. It felt a bit weird noticing when people gaze at me — well, a bald man in a hair-loving society sure does attract some attention.

Burial Shrine

We also dropped by one of them burial shrines of their saints. I had another picture of me beside one of the carpet-covered coffins but it was a little odd standing in there smiling at the camera while people around you are praying and making offerings.

I’m supposed to fly back to Manila last night but there are no available flights so I will have to wait until Friday morning. I didn’t want to go back to Lahore for an earlier schedule for fear of losing my luggage again.

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June 07, 2007

Site Hacking and Contingency Plans

Every once in a while, I’d receive text messages or emails from bloggers and website owners asking for advice whenever their site is hacked. Being a blogger myself running dozens of sites and also a web hosting provider, hacking/cracking and other exploits are not new to me. We’ve experienced them on so many occasions and on just so many levels. More often than not, it is hard to explain how the site was hacked. It’s even harder to really trace down the hacker and what damage has been done.

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June 06, 2007

Fast 50 Magazine names Globe & Smart as Innovators

In a quick entry over at PTB, Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications were the only 2 companies included in the 6th Annual Fast 50.

Globe Telecoms was cited for it’s mobile wallet system, G-Cash, while Smart was heralded as the telecom in a sachet due to the success of the e-Load system.

Interesting figures mentioned there includes Globe G-Cash generating USD$100 Million (~Php4.6 Billion?) in mobile transactions a day while Smart is selling USD$80 Million (Php3.68 Billion) of e-load credits monthly.

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June 06, 2007

Movable Type turns 4, goes Open Source

Just yesterday, the beta version of Movable Type 4 was released sporting so many new features and a brand new look. I have tried MT but that was years ago and since they started charging for licenses, I moved away and never tried it again.

Movable Type

Along with this new version, they also announced the Movable Type Open Source Project (MTSOP) which will allow 3rd-party developers to create their own GPL-version of MT and modify it for their own use.

I believe this move is a step to gain back more support and interest for MT considering the industry is all eyes at WordPress and Automattic. I reckon that if they didn’t fork it like this, they’ll bleed off all their paid clients someday. Well, it’s beter for everyone and maybe this MTOSP could draw back more users back to MT.

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June 05, 2007

Amend the 2000 eCommerce Law

Looking back at the lawsuits I had to go thru in the past, I feel that there is a need to amend the 2000 Philippine eCommerce Law (RA 8792).

My case was that of libel on the internet and it cannot be denied that the nature of my involvement in that case strikes worry and concern among fellow online publishers and web hosting providers alike.

My legal counsel, Atty. Fred Pamaos, discusses the case in detail in his 6-part series entitled “Anatomy of an Internet Libel Case” — Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6 (unpublished).

Despite the fact that the case against me was already dismissed, there is still a looming concern that a similar one could be lodged anytime considering that fact that we host thousands of websites, forums and blogs. It would be a nightmare to monitor all of them for potentially the same circumstances.

Likewise, personal blogs may also be exposed to such harassment law suits and even how silly they may be (remember, anybody can post libelous statements in the blog comments), one can only imagine the total waste of time, effort, and money just to go thru these proceedings. Yes, they may not succeed nor see a day in court, the trouble of getting a legal counsel and making personal appearances in the fiscal’s office on a weekly basis can take its toll.

It is obvious that the eCommerce Law was passed in haste to address an urgent issue at that time but it has been seven (7) years hence and we need a stronger bill to protect internet service providers, web hosts, bloggers, forum owners, webmasters and internet users in general.

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June 05, 2007

Google blocks Yahoo on Default Search Settings

Heard from the TWiT podcast that PC maker Dell made a deal with Google to load up all new Dell PCs with the Google Toolbar, PC Search and Web Search along with a co-branded homepage. Obviously, this co-branding is all about advertising and Dell and Google will share the profits from revenues taken from this.

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June 05, 2007

Open invite to Alpha Test a new web 2.0 site

Been contacted by one of the local PR agencies a couple of months back requesting if I could look into a new social website. Though I haven’t really seen the site yet, I was told it it will be a social-networking site similar to MySpace or Friendster.

Users can sign-up for their own profile page. They can upload photos, post blogs and interact with other members. We also have a section for artists where they can post their mp3, videos and info on the site. The artist’s profile page also aggregates all the content users upload by tagging.

This website is for a specific brand of mobile phone so I’m a bit curious on how (if ever) any of their existing or upcoming units will be integrated with this website. I can’t mention the brand and the site as of the moment but one can always speculate. ;)

Anyway, I was also to extend the same invitation to anyone out there. You don’t need to be a blogger to try it out not you have to write a review about it if you are one. Just an opportunity to check out the site, try it out and possibly send back a feedback about it.

In exchange for the time and effort, the company will be sending out tokens/give-aways worth Php500 (not sure if GC or cash). :D In any case, if you’re interested, just leave a comment with your email and we’ll add you to the list. First 20 to 25 people will receive the tokens.

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June 04, 2007

Accessing GMail via POP

I’ve already consolidated all my email accounts into GMail and while I only need one login to access all emails, it’s always full of new ones and I end up not being able to answer all of them in a timely manner. This gets worse if I’m away on a trip as I don’t get to go online as often as I want.

So, I realized that during the times when I don’t have access but just hanging around on the airport or on the plane, I could have rummaged thru the emails, answer them, save as draft and send them all off whenever I get the chance to be online. That’s where POP email makes real sense.

Here are the settings if anyone wants to try it:

In GMail, go to Mail Settings -> Forwarding & POP -> Enable POP for all mail

Server Settings

Username: username@gmail.com
Server Name: pop.gmail.com
Port: 995
Security Settings: SSL

Outgoing SMTP: smtp.gmail.com
Port: 587
Security Authentication: TLS

Settings for Firefox Thunderbird 1.5 can be found here. All other email clients, here.

Problem though is that I could set the client to leave messages in GMail. The Email Troubleshooter indicates one should have to download the emails in order for it to work properly. Hope I don’t regret downloading all of them 1.1GB of emails later on.

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June 04, 2007

LG KU250 is cheapest 3G phone


First heard of this line of 3G phones (LG KU250) a couple months back during a dinner meeting with several Smart executives and MediaQuest President Doy Vea. They mentioned that this LG phone has been chosen by the GSM Association in their “3G for All” campaign. Their February press release indicates at least 12 GSM operators will be introducing this model in their respective networks.

LG KU250

Globe Telecoms was also there with their CEO being quoted saying:

As the first to commercially launch 3G & HSDPA in the Philippines, we at Globe Telecom are most excited with the announcement of the “3G For All” winner in this Congress, as this breakthrough initiative of the GSMA will enable us to improve handset affordability, one of the barriers to 3G service adoption in the Philippines. We believe that there is a huge un-served, mass-market segment in the Philippines which this “3G for All” initiative will address; we look forward to 3G becoming a mass-market proposition within the next years. We commend the GSMA in its efforts to support the industry with a timely and effective market intervention ensuring that the price gap between 2G and 3G handsets is being narrowed by the delivery of this affordable, feature-rich 3G handset.

Inquirer.net also posted the news the other day that Smart made an announcement on the LG unit. The unit will retail for P6,290 (around USD$130) though I think they’ll be much cheaper in Greenhills and street stalls. Before this, there wasn’t any 3G capable phones out there that sells less than Php10 that I know of. On top of the 3G capability, the LG KU250 supports GPRS (but no EDGE), 10MB shared memory and external micro SD card slot, bluetooth and USB as well as a 1.3MP camera.

Second inline from the GSMA recommendation is the Nokia N6151 which has an almost similar features as the LG one but I guess the price was the major deciding factor.