Philippines

Best Premium Smartphones above P30,000 (August 2017 Edition)

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If you’re looking for the very best high-end smartphones available, you’ve come to the right place! Every month, GadgetMatch updates this list with the finest devices money can buy, no matter how much they cost.

As a follow-up to our July compilation, this August list takes every newly launched flagship costing more than PhP 30,000 into consideration, but doesn’t discount the smartphones that continue to make an impact since their launch last year.

Here they are in no particular order:

Samsung Galaxy S8+ (PhP 45,990)

Was there any doubt about Samsung’s most gorgeous phone making this selection? Armed with the finest processor ever built in the Snapdragon 835, possibly the best single camera in a handset today, and the most refined Android skin to date, the Galaxy S8+ looks to stay on our radar for a long time.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Apple iPhone 7 Plus (PhP 44,990)

You can’t complete a selection like this without including Apple’s latest handset. And it’s not because an iPhone has to be included; the iPhone 7 Plus is so fast and so smooth, there’s no way we could ignore it. It also gets the nod over the regular iPhone 7 thanks to its far more impressive dual-camera setup.

REVIEW: Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Google Pixel XL (PhP 41,200)

While the Pixel XL has its shortcomings — the lack of serious water resistance and oddly plain design spring to mind — you can’t find a more optimized Android smartphone right now. Everything about it is snappy, from the incredible camera to its witty Google Assistant. It’s also got the most up-to-date operating system, unlimited storage for all your photos, plus a better screen resolution and battery life than the smaller Pixel.

REVIEW: Google Pixel (3 months later)

LG G6 (PhP 29,990 — discounted from PhP 37,990)

After what many considered to be a failure in the G5, LG went back to the drawing board and crafted a smartphone that looks and feels great, and — more importantly — simply works. We’ve been so fond of the G6’s generous but not-too-tall display, extra-wide-angle camera, and super-solid build quality since we got our hands on it. Buh-bye, modules!

REVIEW: LG G6

Sony Xperia XZ Premium (PhP 40,990)

Say whatever you want about its traditional design and seriously high-end pricing, but the Xperia XZ Premium is the only smartphone that competes well against Samsung’s pride and joy, which sits at the top of this list. That’s because this Sony flagship has an equally capable Snapdragon 835 processor and a screen that’ll make you go, “Woah!”

REVIEW: Sony Xperia XZ Premium

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Fitbit Charge 3 comes with so many yummy strap options

It also has a 7-day battery life!

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The best trackers are the ones that are always on your wrist and running. Though there are a number of impressive ones in the market, so few of them perform in terms of battery time.

Fitbit’s newest health wearable, announced just last August, promises to remedy that. The Fitbit Charge 3 boasts a battery that will last you seven days.

This sleek little thing features an improved touchscreen display that’s made of aluminum and Gorilla Glass, plus an inductive side button (yep, no physical buttons on this baby!). The Charge 3 comes in two colors: Black with a graphite tracker or Blue-gray with a rose-gold tracker. But, if you don’t like those colors, there are a number of strap options available:

For those who want a less sporty look, there are leather strap options, too.

These woven straps, similar to the Fitbit Versa straps, are also looking pretty good.

Aside from looking nice with the benefit of having a slew of straps available for this wearable, the Charge 3 can do a whole lot of things. This fitness band connects to the Fitbit app and tracks your pace and distance in real time, allows for continuous heart rate tracking, and even records sleep.

There’s even automatic exercise recognition which means you don’t have to manually input activities like running, swimming, or certain sports. It has Fitbit Pay, and it’s the first fitness tracker that has smartphone notifications and quick reply for Android.

The Fitbit Charge 3 retails starting at US$ 150 for the basic version and US$ 170 for the special edition NFC- and Fitbit Pay-enabled one. It’s also available in the Philippines for PhP 9,990 and PhP 10,990, respectively. The different bands retail for US$ 30 to US$ 50 or PhP 1,690 to PhP 2,990.

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Enterprise

PLDT, Smart activate Philippines’ first 5G towers

In partnership with Huawei and Ericsson

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More 5G phones are slated for release early next year, which is why telecom companies are already preparing for the next generation of wireless connectivity. The race to 5G is pretty tight, but the first to kickstart its 5G network in the Philippines is PLDT along with its wireless arm Smart.

The sister companies activated the first 5G cell site in the Philippines — not just one though, but two. In partnership with Huawei, the first 5G tower is located right in the heart of Makati City where PLDT’s headquarters is located. The second one is at Clark Smart 5G City within the premises of Clark Freeport Zone and the technology partner is Ericsson.

With two 5G cell sites already up and running, PLDT and Smart are one of the pioneers of the 5G network in the world. Only a few telco operators in the world have 5G base stations and they are in developed countries.

For now, the 5G service is not available to consumers. PLDT and Smart are yet to come up with 5G solutions and applications especially for central business districts like Makati. There’s no exact date when regular consumers can experience 5G connectivity, but PLDT and Smart are already deploying 5G-ready equipment for LTE-enabled towers nationwide.

According to PLDT, they have the most extensive fiber network in the Philippines spanning over 221,000 kilometers. With Smart as the wireless arm, both claim to be in the best position to deploy 5G in the country.

SEE ALSO: Philippines to become one of first to roll out 5G in 2019

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Is the Philippines ready to have its first smart city?

See how businesses will shape our cities to the future

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Photo by Sergio Souza

Living in 2018 means we see how things transform in smarter ways. As we go digital, lifestyle shifts and businesses are veering away from traditional marketing to catch up with consumers. Apps like Grab and Lazada are changing the way we travel and shop.

This is why MSI-ECS hosted the first-ever CXO Innovation Summit to discuss “Digital Transformation,” which tackled the integration of digital technology in all areas of a business. It was held last November 9 to 11, 2018 in Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu, Philippines.

Leaders of the IT industry shared their thoughts, plans, and solutions to the problems encountered as the world gets smarter. The three-day event discussed big data, cutting-edge securities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart cities, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

As a consumer, I believe that we should be attentive of what’s happening around us, especially with what the enterprises plan to do in the future. After all, we are the end users of their products and services.

AI is making the world more intelligent

Huawei is leading the industry in developing intelligent products through artificial intelligence. In their forecast, AI will change everything. We can have a safer city that supports intelligent transportation and predicts disasters. Healthcare services can improve drastically by preventing diseases early on and providing diagnosis assistance. There will also be faster R&D for pharmacies and medicines.

In addition, enterprises can have their logistics run smoothly through monitoring and auto sorting. Manufacturers can run their own maintenance and detect deficiencies, as well. The possibilities seem endless when AI is integrated with everything that you can imagine.

An example of AI Integration is the Shenzhen airport, which recently adopted facial recognition technology, making their operations more efficient. It hopes to increase direct boarding from terminals by 70 percent and lower passenger wait time by 15 percent.

If you’ve noticed, we’re already surrounded by IoT with AI built in. The Internet of Things, in summary, is the network of devices, electronics, software, and things that connect, collect, and exchange data. Some examples are sensors, security cameras, wearables, and electric cars.

This year, we’ve seen a lot of IoT packed with AI unveiled in different shows and events such as LG’s Cloi and Huawei’s recently launched Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. This is only the beginning, and we’re bound to see more of these in years to come.

Rise of smart cities

In a futuristic paradise, we are surrounded with IoT and everyone is connected. According to Cisco, a leader in IT and networking, smart cities are filled with IoT to improve every citizen’s life in terms of mobility, connectivity, safety, and security.

Copenhagen, for example, is using digital technology to reduce carbon emissions, making this city a place where people want to live in and new businesses want to invest in to bring in more revenue.

Photo by Krisztian Tabori

In the Philippines, PLDT and its subsidiary Smart started their plans on making the first smart city in the Clark Freeport Zone. Smart is currently upgrading their network, and started deploying 5G-ready equipment in an ongoing LTE rollout. They’re putting the possibilities of 5G closer to industries, businesses, and enterprises operating in the city in hopes of attracting more foreign investors.

Banks are also developing their apps and virtual wallets like GCash, which help enable people to go cashless and rely more on digital services. The thought of living in a smart city is promising. However, it’s also terrifying as it poses another threat: security.

The problem with being connected

Cyber security is already a big issue for personal safety. There are breaches on companies that collect information and personal data.

Staying connected means our personal information is freely given to those who we authorize to use it. Social media sites, financial apps, and shopping websites gather our data (like our credit card details) as we use their platform.

But it’s not just the tech giants that should be cautious of cyber criminals. There are also bank accounts, governments, and most importantly, ourselves to worry about

Nap Castillo, Systems Engineering Manager for Fortinet

One of the top cyber security companies in the world, Fortinet, is working closely with companies like Microsoft and Adobe to help improve their system and protect them from cyber attacks.

Are we ready to live in a smart city?

Considering that our everyday lifestyle relies more on digital services, I’m sure that everyone will adapt easily. It’s up to us to be prepared in the worst-case scenario, and to hope that the government and businesses will do their best to keep everything safe and secure even if the world gets smarter.

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