Mobile Networks News

Globe U-CALL

Globe has recently silently offered an unlimited calling promo called Globe U–CALL, allowing for unmetered calls to fellow Globe or TM subscribers. Unfortunately, the service is not available in Metro Manila and is reportedly just for the following provinces:

  • Aklan
  • Capiz
  • Catanduanes
  • Guimaras
  • Marinduque
  • Masbate
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Quezon
  • Sorsogo

Registration is simple as usual: just send UCALL30 or UCALL100 to 2868. UCALL 30 buys you 1 day unlimited Globe to Globe/TM for just 30 pesos, while UCALL 100 gets 5 days for 100 pesos which comes out to 20 pesos a day. A good deal for sure; too bad it’s not available for us here in Manila.

New Products News

Acer Timeline laptops unveiled in Manila

Acer Timeline

Aiming to be one of the few to first launch highly energy–effecient laptops, Acer has launched its Acer Timeline series of laptops that boast of ULV processors that result in extended battery life. Two models were demoed in the launch event: the Timeline AS4810T and the Timeline AS3810T. Both trims sport Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 processors clocked at 1.4 GHz running on an 800 MHz front–side bus. With 3 MB of L2 cache, this is a reasonably good processor hampered only by the absence of dual core.

Here’s the Acer Timeline in brief:

  • Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 (1.4 GHz, 3 MB, 800 FSB) processor (ULV–type)
  • Mobile Intel GS45 Express Chipset
  • Intel Graphics Media accelerator 4500MHD with up to 1759 MB DVMT 5.0 (64 MB dedicated memory, up to 1695 MB shared)
  • 1366 x 768 pixel resolution Acer CineCrystal LED–backlit TFT LCD screen (14 inches for the Aspire 4810T and 13 inches for the Aspire 3810T)
  • Intel Laminar Wall Jet technology for cooling the processor
  • 6–cell battery rated to 3 hours of battery life, but can be extended up to 8 hours using the Acer PowerSmart Manager
  • 24 mm chassis thickness
  • 1.6 kg for the Aspire 3810T and 1.9kg for the 4810T

The Timeline laptops surely are attractive devices that try to be very similar to Apple’s MacBook Air. The 3810T in fact skips the built–in optical drive just like the feather–light MacBook Air, but infortunately, it is still nowhere as thin or sleek. One thing I found worth noting was the new keyboard design used in the Timeline, they are also MacBook–like yet they appear floating on a flat plane; very attractive and classy for a laptop of its class. Typing on the keyboard was a joy, providing a tactile feel without the clickity–click noise.

The Timeline 3810T has a suggested retail price of 44,500 pesos while the 4810T comes cheaper at only 39,900 pesos. With prices just close to mainstream laptops available today, the Timeline series should sell well. Though the 8–hour promised battery life may be a little too much, it should still comfortably provide 4 hours of use considering the ultra low voltage single–core processor. I bet it would be fun putting the Timeline 3810T to a battery life test against the more popular netbooks.

Deals News Shops

Digital Walker contact numbers

I’m often left scrambling when I want to buy something from Digital Walker since they have so many branches and no single way to inquire for item availability across all of them. Good thing I found the contact numbers from one of our local forums (all numbers courtesy of Charlie Paw, of course):

Digital Walker Zoom GB5 – 7570242
Digital Walker V-mall – 7255136
Digital Walker Machines V-mall (Apple Gold Service Center) – 7259840
Pods @Digital Walker Trinoma – 9169528
Digital Walker SM Mall of Asia – 5560113
Digital Walker SM South Mall – 8003194
Digital Walker Park Square 1 – 8163574
Digital Walker SM San Lazaro – 7862645
Digital Walker SM Cebu Northwing – (032) 2365198

Digital Hub Robinsons Place Manila Midtown (Apple Premium Store and Gold Service Center) – 5672624
Digital Hub Robinsons Pioneer (Apple Gold Service Center) – 6872219
Digital Hub Robinsons Galleria – 6363345
Digital Hub Greenhills Theater Mall – 7245592

Crumpler Bonifacio High Street – 8562019
Crumpler Trinoma – 9167098
Crumpler Robinsons Manila Midtown – 5670662
Crumpler SM Megamall – 6387391
Crumpler SM Cebu Northwing – (32)2361512

If you’re buying something from Digital Walker, Digital Hub, or Crumpler here in the Philippines, these are the numbers to call just to make sure they have the exact merchandise you’re looking for.

Netbooks News Operating Systems

Windows XP still available for netbooks

It was news just a few weeks ago that mainstream support for Microsoft’s Windows XP is finally coming to an end. This means that major changes and updates to the OS will cease to come with Microsoft just providing “extended support” until April 8, 2014. This basically means that they will instead push for consumers to upgrade to the upcoming Windows 7 or buy new PCs with the said OS.

Fortunately, perhaps based on the low–powered nature of netbooks and other ultraportables, Microsoft is allowing netbook makers to install Windows XP for one year after the official availability of Windows 7. Though not directly, this move seems like an attack on Linux, enticing consumers to buy XP–equipped models instead of Linux–equipped ones by giving the more familiar OS.

Netbooks News Ultraportables

CES 2009

CES 2009 brings us a lot of new products and surprises. Here’s just a few:

Now that’s a lot of products to read about. This only means better choices and cheaper prices for the netbook market. We consumers win!

Netbooks News Ultraportables

Acer #1 in netbooks

Yes, Asus is no longer at the top of the netbook market. After creating the market with its Eee PC, Asus has slipped to the #2 slot as Acer takes the overall lead with a 38% share of the market. In the same period, Asus captured just 30% of the netbook shipments. What makes this very interesting though is the fact that Acer only ships basically just one model, the Acer Aspire One. It comes in HD and SSD configs but that’s basically everything. Asus on the other hand has various variants of the Eee PC with a smorgasbord of configurations.

I think good marketing and pricing is what put Acer at number one. Armed with the simple fact that consumers want good value at a reasonable price, they turned the Aspire One into one of the better netbooks you can buy right now. And by the time the others catch up, they’ll be on their next generation of devices and maybe with some tricks up its sleeves.

New Products News Ultraportables

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 now shipping!

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Quick to capitalize on the market’s hunger for cheap ultraportables, Dell has now started to ship the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, their great–looking entry in this currently very profitable market.

Spec–wise, it is very much like every other ultraportable out there, with a few notable omissions — no F11 and F12 keys! I think it’s a rather costly decision that may be a huge factor in the acceptability of this product. Here’s the compete specs:

  • 1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor
  • 1GB DDR2 533MHz (1 DIMM)
  • Ubuntu 8.04 Linux with Custom Dell Interface (Includes Open Office)
  • 8.9″ 1024 x 600 WSVGA glossy LED backlit display
  • 8GB miniPCI SSD card
  • Intel GMA 950 Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 4-in-1 Media card reader
  • 1.3 Megapixel webcam, Dell Video Chat application, Dell Support Center
  • 4-Cell 32Wh Li-ion battery (14.8V)
  • Size: 9.2″ x 6.8″ x 1.3″ (including feet)
  • Weight: 2lb 5.5oz (with 4-cell battery), 2lb 11.6oz (with battery and AC adapter)
  • Price: $434 ($474 with Windows XP)

Pretty solid model, but I think I like the Acer Aspire One better. If you’re interested how the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 performs, here’s a review you should be reading.

New Products News Ultraportables

Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Now here’s another one for our crowded ultraportable market: The Lenovo IdeaPad S10. Announced earlier this month, the IdeaPad S10 is equipped with the Intel Atom processor that’s now common for cheap ultraportables these days. Curiously, it is offered in configurations that use traditional hard disks without the SSD option that others have.

Red Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Pegged at 399 USD is the base model that comes with 512MB of RAM and 80GB of storage, while the 449 USD model has 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard disk. The IdeaPad comes with Windows XP without any mention of Linux, yet. With a familiar operating system, this may make the IdeaPad more appealing to common consumers and not just to the geek market.

News Ultraportables

AMD developing low-power Intel Atom rival

Planned AMD BGA CPU.

If you think the Intel Atom mobile CPU sells at a reasonable price, things will get even better for us consumers as AMD is developing a low–power CPU to compete with Intel’s Atom processor that powers most ultraportable laptops these days. With a specced TDP of just 8 Watts for the CPU with the northbridge and the memory controller, this puts it in a better position compared to the Atom which reaches arounf 30W because of its power–hungry chipset. Come November, AMD is scheduled to reveal more information about this CPU which may just spoil the Atom’s (and Intel’s) holidays.

New Products News Rumors Ultraportables

Dell E: Asus Eee PC killer?

Dell E ultraportable notebook.

While the cheap ultraportable/netbook market seem saturated enough now, Dell doesn’t agree. They will be releasing the Dell E, yes, with just one “e” instead of three as that on Asus’ ultraportable. Expected to arrive this August, we will have a huge ultraportable battle with the Dell E joining the fun, competing against the Asus Eee PC, the MSI Wind, the Acer Aspire one, the HP MiniNote, and several others from smaller manufacturers.

The Dell E will be utilizing an Intel Atom processor just like the Acer Aspire one. It will reportedly sell for 299 USD. Here are more details:

  • Intel  Atom 1.6GHz processor
  • 8.9–inch 1,024 x 600 display
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • SSD
  • integrated webcam
  • WiFi
  • Thickness: 0.82–1.22 inches
  • Weight: Approximate 2.2 pounds

Let the battle begin! Cheaper ultraportables for everyone this coming Christmas season!

New Products News Ultraportables

Acer Aspire One Philippine Price: 18,800 Pesos

Acer Aspire One

Yes, the Acer Aspire One is finally here in the Philippines! Another competitor of the popular Asus Eee PC just like the MSI Wind, it is now listed at Villman’s website for just 18,800 pesos. This is a very tempting price compared to the MSI Wind which is now selling at the 25 thousand peso level. At this price, it is obviously a better alternative to the Asus Eee PC 701 which still sells for 18 thousand. Left in the dust is the Asus Eee PC 900, which at 25 thousand pesos pails in comparison to the models we just mentioned. Good thing I resisted the urge to buy the Eee PC 900 just a few weeks ago.

Here’s a short spec sheet for the Acer Aspire One:

  • Intel Atom Processor N270 (1.60GHz. 512KB L2 Cache,533MHz FSB)
  • Mobile Intel 945GSE Express Chipset
  • Acer Invilink 802.11b/g WiFi Wireless Network Network Connection
  • Linpus Linux Lite
  • 1GB Memory (onboard 512MB + 1x 512MB Module)
  • 8.9″ WSVGA TFT CrystalBrite LCD (1024×600 pixel)
  • LED Backlight – 262,000 color supported
  • 8GB SSD (with one storage slot for SD Card for storage expansion)
  • Integrated Acer CrystalEye Webcam
  • Multi-in-1 Card Reader
  • Built-in 10/100 Mbps LAN
  • with 89% full size keyboard
  • with notebook sleeve
  • Weight: 995g (2.19lbs)
  • One (1) Year Warranty (Parts and Labor)
  • One (1) Year International Travellers Warranty

Almost everything’s to like in the Aspire One, except for the weird touchpad buttons placed on the left and right side of the pad, just like the HP MiniNote’s blunder. It is not a deal–breaker though and considering how beautiful the Acer looks compared to the others, I wouldn’t be surprised if Acer scores big on this one.

News Ultraportables



The MSI Wind PC is one ultraportable that came after the Asus Eee PC craze. Fortunately for MSI, coming late gave them the chance to produce a good product. With a 10-inch LCD powered by a 1.6 GHz Atom processor, the Wind was designed to e much more usable than the Eee PC. With 80 GB of storage available and a battery capable of getting four hours of continuous use, it can easily outdo most of the other ultraportables in the market, even the more expensive ones. It’s no surprise that LaptopMag’s review praises it so highly:

If there were a Survivor: The Mini-Notebook series, and each of the ultra–low-cost notebooks were incrementally eliminated, the MSI Wind NB would be the one left standing. Unlike its competitors, the Wind NB offers the complete package, including an adult-size keyboard, a larger 10-inch screen, and a very capable Atom processor. This system’s solid performance, stellar 5-plus hours of battery life, and $499 price make it the best all-around mini-notebook to date.

The MSI Wind PC is now available locally here in the Philippines and sells for 25,500 pesos. It’s in the same range as the 8.9-inch Asus Eee PC 900 but it sports a better processor, a larger LCD, more storage, and more battery life. What’s not to like about this one?

Asus Eee PC Links News Ultraportables

Asus Eee PC 900 Battery Life

Are you curious about the Asus Eee PC 900’s battery life? With conflicting reports on the rated capacity of batteries shipping with the Eee PC 900, the issue of battery life is now a significant concern. The first review units of the second generation were tested with a 5800 mAh but the first batches in Hong Kong included a much lower 4800 mAh battery. Consumers were obviously not happy and Asus offered a 5800 mAh replacement battery.

One of the first few users to get an Eee PC 900 shares with us his findings on the life of the 4400 mAh battery. Running Windows XP with brightness at 50% and sound volume at 80%, he managed to get 2 hours and 24 minutes before the Eee PC breached the 7% critical warning in Windows XP. Not bad, though far from Asus’ claim of 2.8 to 3.5 hours.

Personally, I’d be happy with 2:24 on a cheap ultraportable. And considering he was at 50% brightness, a notch just above the lowest would probably yield another 10 to 20 minutes. If only I can afford another Eee PC.

Asus Eee PC News

Asus Eee PC 900 in Black

Asus Eee PC 900 in black.

The first pictures of a black Asus Eee PC 900 suddenly shows up at Flickr, and they do look nice and more professional! Unlike the white ones that may seem to cute for older users, the black model appears to be in the same finish as the black 701.

Looking at the food beside the black Eee PC, the source surely is from Asia, suggesting that we’ll soon have these here in the Philippines! Let’s just hope they won’t be as expensive as they are now.

Asus Eee PC News

Asus Eee PC 900 in the Philippines

Windows XP on the 9-inch Eee PC.

So you’ve heard of the Asus Eee PC 900, the second generation of the cheap ultraportable that started it all, now with an 8.9–inch LCD display. The good news is, it’s now here in the Philippines. But with the predatory history of PC shops here in the Philippines, the new model priced around $500 USD will be sold here at 33,900 pesos. Ouch.

Our friends over at My Asus Eee PC broke the news much to the sadness of Eee PC fans waiting for it locally. But with how things look, it seems PC Corner, the shop selling the overpriced Eee PC 900, is selling advanced stocks most likely sourced abroad and not from local distributors. This is just a hunch, but since it seems they are the only shop to offer the said model, they are probably getting it somewhere else.

If their stocks are from local distributors, there is no reason for us not to see it in the other shops. Additionally, prices should be far closer to the international SRP and not twice that value. I strongly advise Eee PC fans to wait for official local units of the Eee PC 900 to get full warranty and more importantly, a reasonable price. Another reason to wait would just to make sure your unit comes with the right batteries; Asus’s initial shipping to Hong Kong was a batch duds — they had lower capacity batteries.

Now if only we could get to try the Asus Eee PC 900 soon…

New Products News

Intel Atom: Powering the $199 UMPCs

The Intel Atom is a family of ultramobile processors based on the company’s Silverthorne and Diamondville designed to work with the Menlow platform, now also known as Centrino Atom.

The Atom chips tiny, low–power offerings designed for small mobile devices, far smaller than your typical laptop. Speeds are expected up to 1.8GHz with thermal design power (TDP) at 0.6 to 2.5 watts. Simply said, these chips are designed to run cool with low power consumption. Exciting.

Now what makes everything even more interesting, the Atom will be relatively cheap, allowing computer manufacturers to produce desktops and simple media/DVD viewers within the $199 to $250 USD range. Despite compromises in these chips, they are capable of running Windows and Linux, our mainstream operating systems. In fact, they are designed specifically for mobile internet devices, also called MIDs, which will do most of its work with web browsers like Mozilla’s Firefox.

Without question, devices powered by the Intel Atom will most likely be similar to the Asus Eee PC, our current ultramobile favorite. I guess we all have a lot of shopping to do come Christmas. ;)

Asus Eee PC New Products News

9-inch Asus Eee PC with Windows XP

Windows XP on the 9-inch Eee PC.

Yes, as Engadget has reported, the second generation Asus Eee PC that comes with 9–inch LCD screens will also come in Windows XP–powered variants.

Let’s just hope that XP will stay just as an option and for Asus to continue using Linux as the main OS; alternative operating systems makes it cheaper for the consumers!


Everybody wants to beat the Eee

So it seems every PC maker now wants their own version of Asus’ Eee PC. Electronista reports Gigabyte’s interest in producing a micro–notebook like the best–selling Eee. Their version will be using the upcoming Shelton platform from Intel, sporting a 1.6 GHz single core CPU with a power draw of less than eight watts. Similarly, the screen is planned to be of the same size as Asus’ 399 USD micro–wonder. Gigabyte intends to produce the whole PC internally and not have it produced by other contractors.


HP now shipping Penryn laptops reports that now offers laptop configurations using the latest Intel Penryn processors, with speeds up to 2.5 GHz.

The Pavilion dv2700t, dv6700t and dv9700t can now be customized with the said Penryn processors, offering 6MB of L2 cache resulting up to a 10% performance increase compared to equivalent Santa Rosa chips. The 2.5 GHz Penryn chip goes by the code T9300.

HP is first in offering these new processors though it certainly comes at a premium: 225 USD more than the preceding high–end Santa Rosa processor.

With this development, Dell and other major laptop makers will surely offer the said processors in the coming days. From the consumers’ standpoint, this could only be a good thing — the price of Santa Rosa based notebooks and the even cheaper ones will get even lower, and technology will trickle down to the cheapest models. More bang for our bucks!

Asus Eee PC News

Where to buy Asus Eee PC in the Philippines?

A lot of our commenters in our previous post on the Asus Eee PC have been asking where to purchase the best–selling mini–notebook here in the Philippines. As of December, it was safe to say that most of the major PC hardware shops were selling it like pancakes.

Price ranged from 17,000 to 20,000 pesos, depending on how badly the shop took advantage of the huge demand for the Eee PC. A good number of these shops offered the product for a 12–month, zero–interest deal that puts it at 1,650 pesos a month, putting it at 19,800 pesos.

When buying an Asus Eee PC, I recommend getting it from a reputable shop like Villman to make sure you’re getting locally procured and not smuggled units. We got two of our Eee PCs from them, with our third one from PC Live.

By the way, if you finally got yourself one, you might want to head over to my Asus Eee PC Hacks blog, a sister site dedicated to getting the most out of your new toy!