Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Google makes 2 tools for Tropical Storm Sendong relief efforts

Google is helping the Philippines after the disaster wrought by Tropical Storm Sendong by providing two tools you can use:
1. A Google Crisis Map where there are options to see shelters, donation centers and casualty updates.

2. A Person Finder tool that can be used to find a missing person or provide information about a person.

Please consider donating to help the victims of Tropical Storm Sendong in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Bukidnon, Dumaguete and other places in southern Philippines. For a list of donation sites, please see my post HERE.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Smart and Globe launch iPhone 4s simultaneously in the Philippines

Last night, my girl and I went to the Globe and Smart launch celebrations for the iPhone 4s in the Philippines.

(photo taken from

For days, the marketing spiels on both sides were aimed at getting as many pre-orders as possible and drumming up enthusiasm for the launch. Social media networks were literally flooding timelines with teasers, online contests and announcements.

We stopped by Globe's launch party at Ayala Museum first. I had an invitation via email that I had confirmed to but when I got there, my name was not on any list. The registration people though made me go through and promptly stamped my hand with an ink stamp. DJ Kaskade was working up the crowd with pretty good music although the area was quite tight at the entrance to Ayala Museum. 

Ayala Museum from the outside

DJ Kaskade

We took some pics of the crowd, listened for a while, but when my ears could no longer take the din, sought refuge inside the airconditioned lobby of the museum.

The guard let us in although it seemed like the place was actually for VIPs. Many well-heeled people from upper society were seen there along with Globe CEO Ernest Cu. Guests were being served wine, iced tea and canapes. I did not see that many media people in the VIP area. I did bump into two blogger friends inside so we were sort of wondering where the media were supposed to be situated.

Just before midnight, we left Globe's party and made our way to Smart's launch party. The scale of this celebration could be seen from the fact that the entire Rockwell Power Plant was closed off for the occasion.

I was met at the registration area by Smart people who promptly gave me a media neck ID, white bracelets (which gave us access anywhere inside the mall), a press kit and a map showing where different happenings were. Free, unlimited food and drinks were being provided by Cibo, Burgoo, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Starbucks and Sumo Sam. Free screenings Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol were open to all from Cinemas 1-6. And for gamers at heart, unlimited games at Q Power Station.

People were lining up at the Smart Store, waiting to claim their iPhone 4s units at the stroke of midnight. There were other areas that declogged the Smart Store where preorders were processed so people could pay for their units first before going to the Smart Store to claim them.

What blew me away were the freebies that were being given to the first people to get their units. This guy (shown on the big screen) was the first to claim his phone and Smart gave him a 27-inch iMac to boot! Whew! 

And Sandro Paredes later tweeted that there were actually 10 such iMacs for the first 10 people in line. Plus PS3s, Beat headsets and iPads too. WAAAAAAHHHH!

Big boss Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) was also spotted with lots of media in tow. We were having a very late dinner at the Cibo area of the VIP Lounge when MVP walked in and spoke with some guests including the Magalona mother-daughter tandem.

M. V. Pangilinan talks to Pia Magalona and other guests

The Smart crowd with Jermaine Dupri and Lupe Fiasco, among others

My girl enjoying unlimited gaming at Q Power Station

POSTPAID iPhone 4S Plans

I could not find the postpaid plans for the iPhone 4s on Globe's website but Abe Olandres of seemed to have the inside info. Click HERE to see his post on Globe's postpaid plans. I will update this post once Globe posts their official prices.

As for Smart, this table was taken from their official website:

Note: There are deferred handset payment plans under Plans P999 and P2499. The amounts shown under each plan's column (for ex, P200/mo under Plan 2499 for a 32GB phone) means that you will pay P200/mo on top of the P2,499 for 24 months as deferred installment on the handset.

PREPAID iPhone 4S Plans

I got Globe's prepaid prices from someone's tweet while Smart's prices are posted on their website. For those looking at prepaid kits, it seems offhand that Smart's prices are about 4-6k cheaper if both quotations are correct.

                           GLOBE*                         SMART

16GB                        37,690                            33,200

32GB                       43,399                             38,200

64GB                       49,199                             43,200

*Globe's prepaid prices are unofficial to-date. I will update this post once their official pricing comes out.

Smart, being the newer player in the iPhone market, seems to have pulled out all the stops to ensure that its iPhone 4S launched successfully and in a big way. In terms of launch preparation, I would have to hand it to Smart for having thought of everything. From the press kits to the food to movie screenings and unlimited games, the overall preparations were made experiential in a fun way.

Globe, on the other hand, has a solid and loyal subscriber base, and this is not their first iPhone offering. So maybe that could be the reason why they were not as hyped up as Smart on its debut launch.

It would be interesting, once Globe's official prices are out, to see how these stack up against the very tempting pricing of Smart. Smart's P999 and P1500 plans are the ones which give the most value for the buck. Plan P999 is affordable because if you factor in the handset price, that only comes up to roughly P24,000 for the handset, payable over 2 years. If you are a heavy internet user more than a call and text user, the P1500 plan that comes with an unlimited data plan looks like a very good option.

Are you thinking of getting an iPhone 4S?