For the last 3 weeks now, I’ve been to three European states and have seen and experienced the advancement of technology in these first-world countries. It’s oftentimes amazing but once in a while, I would miss the ones I enjoyed in the Philippines.
We oftentimes feel that we’re shortchanged in terms of technology and for a third-world country, that’s pretty much expected. Yet, every time I go around here and check out some stuff, I’d realize we got it pretty good back in the Philippines.
Official Apple Stores — where iDevices are more expensive.
Cheaper Gadgets. I’ve been to at least 3 Apple Stores in Germany, Amsterdam and France and all of them were selling the new iPad for much higher that what we expected if it were officially released in the Philippines. Back home, we’d expect around Php23,999 for the 16GB WiFi-only model but here, it’s between 479 to 489 euros (Php26k to Php27k). This is true with any type or category of gadgets being sold here.
Widespread Access to Mobile Prepaid Cards. Back home, you can buy a prepaid mobile SIM at almost any tiangge or sari-sari store. The stalls will sell it to you like candy. In Europe, you have to provide an identification card (in my case, a passport) for the most part and it’s not easy to find a store that has prepaid SIM cards. In the Philippines, we get it for under a euro; in Europe, it costs between 5 to 15 euros.
Panoramic view from the top of the Eiffel Tower taken with the Sony Xperia S.
Affordable, Uncapped Mobile 3G. Our mobile 3G might be a bit slower or inconsistent in the Philippines but at least it’s not generally capped. Still if you’re talking about that 800MB a day cap from Globe prepaid (postpaid is not capped), then it’s still vey generous. With the 2 prepaid data SIM I used in Germany, it’s 200MB for O2 and 300MB for T-Mobile — and that’s not daily but cumulative. Once you hit the cap, you’re throttled down to 64Kbps until you buy more bandwidth (1GB for 10 euros).
Unblocked Content. At least I experienced this when watching YouTube. A lot of the official MTVs are blocked because there’s no permit to play them in the country (I think it was UMG-produced music videos or something).
Where are the internet cafes? In the entire time I’ve gone around, I think I only spotted 2 or 3 internet cafes. It’s not that popular compared to the thriving net cafe business in the Philippines. I guess it’s because almost every household has a PC and internet already but I’m also looking at multi-player, LAN games.
Great looking Starbucks building in Hamburg. But no WiFi, not even paid.
Oh, there’s not a lot of free WiFi as well. The only time I was able to sniff an open and free WiFi network was inside the Apple Stores in Hamburg and then inside the Louvre Museum. Even our hotel charges for WiFi (9 euros for 5 hours).
Of course, I’m not saying we’re better off. These countries are far ahead of us in just so many levels. Loved that automatic, self-cleaning public toilet; the self-service, credit card-based city bicycle for rent; the super-fast, wired internet service; and so many more.
I guess I could still say that tech is more fun in the Philippines! *heh*