This year’s MWC is all about 5G connectivity and tablets that fold (or unfold) into a phone. What if we dial back a bit and put the flexible display tech into something smaller like a wearable? Not everyone likes to bring a tablet around, so ZTE’s Nubia did something different: a wearable smartphone with a display that wraps around your wrist.
This is the Nubia Alpha. It’s essentially a smartwatch but with more functionalities and features. It’s got a four-inch OLED display that’s claimed to be the “largest wearable flexible screen in the industry” and the entire device is water-resistant.
Inside the Alpha is the old Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor from Qualcomm paired with 1GB of memory and 8GB of internal storage. It also has a 500mAh battery which is rated to last up to two days on a single charge.
What makes this wearable practically a smartphone is its 4G eSIM support. This means you’ll be able to text, call, and even browse the web without pairing the watch with a nearby smartphone. To complete its “smartphone” features, the Alpha has a 5-megapixel camera as well for video calling.
The device also doubles as a fitness tracker. It can detect and track your sleep, exercise, and heart rate. All of these features are handled by a custom-made wearable OS that you interact with using touch, voice commands, and air gestures.
The Nubia Alpha is indeed a unique device that’s more than just a smartwatch, but it’s not quite a full-blown smartphone. It’ll be sold starting at EUR 449 for the basic Bluetooth-only model, while the 4G eSIM variant will go for EUR 549. For those who want to add luxury to the Alpha, it’ll come coated in 18-karat gold for EUR 649.
According to Nubia, the Bluetooth-only model will become available sometime in April in Europe and North America. The smartphone-esque features though will only come to the market in the third quarter of 2019.
What to expect from Apple Music, TV+ and Arcade this Christmas
Enjoy A Charlie Brown
As Christmas season approaches and families and friends continue to prepare for their gatherings, parties, and week-long celebrations, here’s what to expect from Apple’s services to make sure the holidays are best enjoyed.
Apple Music: Carols Covered 2022
The selection of artists includes Amelia Moore, Brett Eldredge, charlieonafriday, Elio, Ellie Goulding, glaive, Jvck James, Katie Gregson-MacLeod, Muni Long, RAYE, Shygirl, SiR, and Yahritza Y Su Esencia.
A new Classical Carols Covered playlist, highlighting beautiful new versions of carols and festive songs performed by top classical artists, will also be available. Both playlists are available in immersive Spatial Audio.
Apple TV+: new originals, Charlie Brown
Meanwhile, Apple TV+ is ready to help families and kids spread the holiday love with a joyous lineup of new episodes of Apple Original series, as well as the streaming debut of holiday Peanuts specials.
As one’s holiday entertainment experience isn’t complete without the iconic A Charlie Brown Christmas, Apple TV+ is offering a free stream of the holiday special from December 22 to 25.
Here are other shows to enjoy throughout the season:
- Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock
- Interrupting Chicken (December 2)
- Pretzel and the Puppies (December 2)
- The Snoopy Show (December 2)
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (Stream for free from December 22 to 25)
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse (December 25)
Lastly, to make the holiday bonding even more special and fun with friends and family, here are a few games from Apple Arcade to check and enjoy:
- Amazing Bomberman
- SongPop Party
- Hanx101 Trivia
- Nickleodeon Extreme Tennis
- Gear.Club Stradale
- Hidden Folks+
- Gibbon: Beyond the Trees
- Jetpack Joyride 2
- Cooking Mama: Cuisine!
90 days with the Galaxy Z Fold4
A three-month affair with Samsung’s high-end foldable
The first time I laid eyes on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, it felt like seeing a friend whom you know has gone through several character developments.
It’s not a love-at-first-sight scenario unlike what struck me when I saw the Galaxy Z Flip3. Despite having a marvelous time using the Fold’s predecessor, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of having a long-time affair with this foldable smartphone.
So I gave it another try — 90 days, that is. Just like that hilarious reality series brimming with loathsome personalities.
On the first month of having the Galaxy Z Fold4, I treated it like a partner that I’m becoming acquainted with. I thought of it as an ex-lover who got better, trying to win my heart again.
The first thing I did was personalize it to my liking. I ordered a case from China that would make me happy while using the device while keeping it protected from scratches and dents — if it accidentally slips.
Using it bare, you can feel that the device is lighter than its predecessors. True to the company’s claim. It’s like a classic tale of shedding a few pounds and increasing your worth. The Fold is more attractive when it’s lightweight.
Yet somehow, it didn’t feel safe and secure in my grip. It’s slippery, too massive in my tiny hands, and still felt fragile despite proving its immense durability over the years.
A smartphone with an almost US$ 2000 price tag is certainly delicate, no matter how you look at it.
With the phone case I bought, the Fold felt heavier but it gave me assurance that it was protected from anything that might break it.
Arm and eye candy
I’ve brought the Galaxy Z Fold4 to meetings, events, and conferences. Every time I whip it out of my bag, I pique the crowd’s curiosity.
The Fold4 isn’t a shiny new toy anymore. But it bedazzles anyone who sees it for a multitude of reasons. Expensive, a unique form factor, and surely, an innovation to most eyes.
It’s like having a partner that’s both an arm and eye candy. I enjoy the attention I get from the crowd, mesmerizing them as I showcase the Fold’s camera features.
I can take a group selfie like a regular smartphone, or prop it open and use its under-display camera. Furthermore, I used the rear camera to take a selfie, by exhibiting how the secondary screen can act as a mirror when taking photos.
The same trick can be used when taking portraits of friends and acquaintances, so they can strike a pose while giving them a glimpse of how they’d look.
Here are some photos I took using the Galaxy Z Fold4 in different modes:
The Galaxy Z Fold4 has a versatile arsenal of cameras at its disposal, breaking the notion that all features of a flagship smartphone should be used to maximize its worth.
After all, people have different preferences and usage regarding the devices they own. With a unique form factor, the Fold sets itself as an everyday device that can adapt to different situations. At least, that’s what I thought of after having the device for a month.
Days with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 got a little bit stale after the first month, seeing how I got swamped with various projects at work.
The honeymoon phase fizzled already, getting used to having the Fold with me at all times.
I’ve recognized its ability to help me catch up with work while on the go. It lets me check designs, communicate through emails and chats while power walking through fifth and ninth avenue in Bonifacio Global City. With it, I can also monitor my platforms through its big screen.
Occasionally, I use it to play SimCity — a game I play to train my decision-making skills by becoming a mayor of a made-up town. The device offered plenty of screen real estate to give me an overview of the game. However, I couldn’t say the same for other titles.
Some would enjoy having the bigger screen on a portable, versatile device as they play graphics-intensive and action-packed titles. I saw some tech creators do it. Not me, though.
It allows me to have a tighter and firmer grip on my device as I smash my thumbs against the display. The Fold4 required me to spread my fingers apart to support the device when playing games.
Entertainment on the go
While I have qualms regarding playing games on the Fold4, the same cannot be said when watching films and TV shows. With its lightweight form factor, it’s easier to hold with one hand when watching videos on the go.
But if I get exhausted, I can prop it up and fold it halfway so it stands on its own. It’s a much smaller screen real estate, but it’s manageable to watch on, especially when you don’t have any phone stand that can support the Fold4’s size.
Lasts for quite a while
For what it’s worth, I’m elated with how the Fold lasted me throughout the day. It didn’t give up on me on days when I’m stuck running around the Fort, traveling between cities, and being out and about.
Most reviewers picked on the device’s battery and “slow” fast-charging, but seeing how I’m the peak, multi-tasking average user — it’s still enough. It could’ve been better, that’s for sure. Especially for days when I leave in the morning and back home at almost midnight. Halfway, I would need to recharge my device.
But truth be told, nowadays, people bring power banks and carry their cables and adapters in case they find sockets to charge their devices on. Besides, the Fold is barely a device you bring along for long days of work outside — it really just isn’t it.
After spending two months with the Fold4, I found it difficult to keep using the foldable smartphone as my lifestyle changed.
I can only keep up with using it when I’m handling commitments to my work and my sports team. I’ve been using the device as a work notebook in most cases. From tracking down my meetings, hopping on zoom calls at the nearest Starbucks cafe, and catching up with important messages.
As I put more focus on being an athlete, it was challenging to bring the Fold to my training. It doesn’t fit my armband, and it’s heavy for my belt bag and hydration vest. I felt it will impede me from reaching new personal records.
My last race, which was held in Timberland Heights, didn’t give me the opportunity to use the Fold4’s impressive set of cameras.
I had wished it was there with me. To capture my favorite moments of triumph and victory over a grueling race course. But I didn’t since the device wasn’t meant for rugged activities.
As I ended my 90-day stint with the Galaxy Z Fold4, I’ve had epiphanies regarding the device and of course, myself.
It wasn’t meant to be
The Galaxy Z Fold4 wasn’t meant for me and the person I’m becoming, no matter how much I enjoy its features and unique form factor.
It’s like a lesson of learning how to cherish the people we come across. We might be able to delight in the experience of having them with us for a moment in time, but our paths only cross for a short while.
It wasn’t even a “right device, wrong time” situation. It’s simply a case of not being my GadgetMatch. Think of the relationships you’ve had in the past. The connections you’ve outgrown. The people you left behind because you weren’t aligned anymore.
That is my case for the Galaxy Z Fold4. It’s a fleeting affair. A companionship that harmoniously blended into my life for three months. That is until I decided to leave my comfort zone and pursued what really makes my soul jump.
I don’t intend to bring it into the new chapter of my life. But if my path moved once more and we crossed paths, maybe I can take it for another time. Maybe, third time’s the charm. Or maybe, it’s an experience that I will fondly recall in the months to come.
Who knows? The future is uncertain and that’s what makes life exciting. C’est la vie.
Manulife launches online shop for insurance services
Digitizing their insurance service
Manulife is riding the digitization train, launching a Manulife Shop that will allow Filipinos to purchase affordable insurance conveniently online.
The website may be accessed here. Customers may avail of annually renewable insurance products with up to a PhP 1 million life protection coverage.
The timing of the site’s unveiling follows suit Manulife’s recent study titled “The Modern Filipino Family: Exploring family dynamics and digitalization amid the new normal” where the insurance provider discovered the following findings:
- 90% of Filipinos surveyed use e-commerce apps
- 82% use finance apps for cashless payments or to buy insurance
- 25% of Gen Xers and 33% of millennials have bought insurance online in the past year
- 41% of Gen Zers are considering purchasing insurance online in the next year
Additionally, participants have citied convenience (45%), sense of security (22%), and protection (17%) as the top 3 reasons why they have bought insurance policies online.
Here are the three services customers may avail online through the newly-launched website:
- 365 Ready Accident: Accident life insurance plan that covers accidental death, dismemberment, total permanent disability, double indemnity, and family assistance for as low as PhP 199/year
- 365 Ready Life: Term life insurance plan providing coverage for as low as PhP 249/year
- 365 Ready Duo: Combination of term life and personal accident insurance plan that provides both life and accident protection benefits for as low as PhP 448/year
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