It seems that bdfone has finally released their first Android phone: the bdfone A2W. I previously mentioned them having a prototype over 1.5 years ago but it seems that they have finally got a production unit. From their Facebook page it seems to have started selling in December (in my last of connectivity, I must have missed it). It is currently priced at B$290 on QQeStore
They have hit a good price point, but with an older version of Android (not even 2.3) and a relatively old and slow CPU, it seems to lose out to the competition. There is also no mention of resistive or capacitive screen, just a “touch screen”. I also wonder how they will support Android updates or if they will at all. For the price I would recommend the Sony Ericsson WT19I Live with Walkman for B$308 (which has better specs) or even the LG Optimus Net P690 for B$268 (which has very similar specs).
Brunei made Android phone
Competitors with better specs in the same price range
Old slow 600MHz CPU (other budget phones use 800MHz)
Unknown screen type
Unknown Android update possibilities
Unknown available space for apps
CPU: 600MHz (based on Wikipedia’s entry on the MSM7227)
The bmobile Pure is a budget Android phone running Android 2.2 and has pretty device specs but a pretty good 3.8″ high resolution screen. The high resolution 3.8″ screen makes it nice to read and surf the Internet but the 256MB RAM may be limiting for multi-tasking and general smoothness of the device. I was not able to get the Flash apk to try install and test Flash on the device but the 600 MHz CPU may not be capable of Flash, so I wouldn’t expect it to run.
Sadly there is no Android Market or Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Maps and the Market. Not having the Market means that the device needs an alternative Android app store. The Pure is bundled with the local grown Widget Warehouse for apps, however it seems that the Widget Warehouse doesn’t even work with the Pure. So I guess there is a need to rely on other 3rd party app stores such as GetJar, Soc.ia Mall (previously AndAppStore), SlideME, Opera Mobile Store. Side loading apps via downloading apk files (Android installer files) work well and that was how I installled apps to the device.
I love the fact that Android is able to scale down to a device as cheap as B$199 and with that device, although having limitations such as not having Google apps, it still has all the full functionality of a smartphone.
I stumbled upon the Acer Aspire S3 at Netcom at the Mall and it being the first Ultrabook in Brunei, I just had to take a look and play around with it.
It is a 13″ ultrabook which a form factor similar to the 13″ Macbook Air meaning it is thin and light but without an inbuilt DVD drive. Ports are similar to the Air with two USB 2.0 ports, one full HDMI port, SD card reader and a 3.5mm headset jack.
Based on reviews (LaptopMag, The Verge, Engadget) I knew that a few things to look out for were the keyboard, cursor keys as well as the touchpad. I found the keyboard to be fine but the touchpad was hard to press. It has no physical buttons but pressing the lower left or lower right sections of the pad acted as left and right mouse clicks. It can be configured to “click on tap” as a usable workaround although this still isn’t ideal for drag and drop actions. The cursor keys are indeed the smallest I’ve seen: 3 cursor keys side by side is of the same length as a single Shift key. This is surely too small for typical use.
The quick resume worked as advertised, with the laptop being on by the time the screen was at a viewable angle. The base (i.e. cheaper) model comes with a hybrid drive which combines a solid state drive with a conventional hard disk drive to try give the best of both worlds: SSD for faster disk access (faster boot up, stand by, resume times) and the typical HDD gives you space to store all your files as SSDs are expensive and have less capacity.
All in all I liked form factor of the device but was initially put off by the price of B$1778 which I was told as the based model price. However after the recording I found out that the price of B$1778 was for the higher specification model, not the base model. According to Concepts’ pricing the base model is B$1188 which is much less than the B$1728 or B$1328 for a 13″ or 11″ MacBook Air thus it may be a good deal for those who want a thin and light but capable but with a large enough screen for viewing your content. Do have a look at the device and take into account that this is a first generation device and that Acer competes more on price than actual quality.
Describe Yourself in 5 Words
Dato Hamdillah, Lai Pei-Si, Norali Yusop
Word Association – Music. Delicious. Brunei. Success. Significance
Dato Hamdillah, Lai Pei-Si, Norali Yusop
What Has Changed in the Past 16 Years?
Why Did you Move from Comfort to Something Unknown and What Was it Like?
What it’s Like as a Blind Person?
What Would You Say to The 65 Year Old?
What Would You Say to 18 – 65 Year Olds Considering Chasing Their Dreams and Steping Out of Their Comfort Zone?
What Would You Say to The 18 Year Old?
Did your Previous Roles Help you become an Entrepreneur?
What is Success? How Do You Balance Family and Work Life?
What are you Daily Difficulties Getting Around in Brunei. What Kind of Changes would you Like to See to be More Independent?
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone: What Have You Got To Lose?
Dato Hamdillah, Lai Pei-Si, Norali Yusop
3) 140 Characters or Less: Why Join the Twitter Conversation? (mp3 download link)
Dato Timothy Ong @Timothy_OngTM
Hj Rozan Yunos of Brunei Resources / @bruneiresources
4) From Idea to Enterprise: What Does it Take? (mp3 download link)
Keeran Janin of MeSixty / @keeranj
Simon Soo of MixMedia International (MINT) Moderator:
Seems like a great budget Android phone with a slightly larger screen than the Xperia Mini pro but without a keyboard to make it more svelte. Seems to share all the same common good specifications for a budget phone but a slightly larger screen and slightly cheaper at B$350.
320 x 480 pixels, 3.2″ capacitive screen
320MB for applications
5 megapixel camera w/ 720p video
Front facing VGA camera
xLOUD™ loudness enhancement makes it possible to listen loud without distortion.
Select "None" as a "Payment Method" section during the registration
I still think getting a US iTunes Account is still the best option as it is completely unrestricted. You can create a US account without a credit card, using the same method above but select US instead of Brunei. You will need to buy gift cards online though, and I have bought iTune gift cards from both PC Game Supply and Jerry Cards with good results so thus far. See which works best for you and join the ecosystem that has yet to be rivaled (especially outside the US).
This phone seems to be a phone I would buy, if I didn’t buy my LG Optimus One, as a great budget Android phone which seems to have the least compromises. Check out the video that I managed to get at Incomm as I played with the device.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread: the current major version of Android of phones
3" HVGA (320×480) screen: a bit small in size but good resolution that is widely supported by all apps
Slide out landscape QWERTY keyboard
1GHz Snapdragon CPU with Adreno 205 GPU
400MB for apps (according to GSM Arena): a bit small but acceptable for a budget phone and sadly (for Arc users) it is the same amount as the Arc based on Sony’s specs which says up to 320MB (Arc vs Mini Pro)
5MP rear camera with autofocus, flash and 720p video recording (auto focus while recording video, recorded in mp4 encoded with h264, aac)
VGA front facing camera for video calls
Supports Adobe Flash
Plays 720p videos (mp4 encoded with h264,aac)
Can open PDFs and Microsoft Office documents (doc,docs,xls,xlsx,ppt,pptx)
I really like that this budget phone seems to have practically no compromises for a budget phone: there doesn’t seem to be any major show stoppers. Most budget phones will have no front facing cameras and won’t have cameras that can record 720p. A budget phone won’t have a keyboard nor a 1GHz CPU. The CPU couple with a GPU and sufficient RAM should ensure this device is smooth and usable for the regular user.
The main issue is the small 3" size of the screen (iPhone: 3.5", Optimus One & Wildfire S: 3.2", Galaxy Mini: 3.14"): a small size coupled with a high resolution may make some text small to read and will make using the onscreen keyboard a bit difficult. Thankfully there is a physical keyboard on the Xperia Mini that should help alleviate this (as long as the keyboard is good and usable). Also the smaller 1200mAh battery (vs 1500mAh of the Optimus One) may give it less battery life, but that also depends on the amount of work being done: with a better CPU, the same amount of work may require less energy from the Xperia Mini. I guess we’ll just have to wait for more in-depth reviews with battery life scores and this is the main unknown factor at the moment. Another compromise would possible be the UMTS frequency band support with it only being dual (900/2100) or triband (800/1900/2100) depending on where it is purchased but I don’t think this will affect many. Most of these issues/compromises are acceptable for a budget device.
With that said, I think I could tentatively highly recommend this phone to users but only after they take a look at it and try to use the keyboard and check to see if the text is too small on the device; and also after some battery life tests are published – all the features are of no use if the battery life is bad. From my use with it, the screen and text size seem fine but my fat thumbs did have a bit of an issue with typing. It could play 720p video, Flash video and even edit office documents. Overall a snappy device and I’m just very impressed at what Sony Ericsson managed to pack on this device hitting all the right check boxes giving the user minimal compromises. Great job Sony Ericsson, now improve your higher end devices!
Sample Photos (note front camera was covered with a thin plastic film):
So today was the launch of the iPad 2 in Brunei and @mfirdaus and I managed to do a bit of live streaming coverage. I got there just before 9am and noticed that there already was a queue of about 10 people but soon after that when the AV staff arrived on the scene they put up a proper queue with queue posts and a with a nice little sign.
I asked the AV staff on hand about how many units they have, and was told “alot” and not to worry. But sadly about 15 minutes after that @JustCinful went in to get hers, but was told that there were no more 3G models in stock and could only pre-order. She was about 50th in the queue, so there weren’t that many people before her. I honestly wish AV gave a specific number of units rather than a vague terms like “a lot”.
Above is a Photosynth panoramic image at 10:08am after the first batch of 20 went in.
At about 3:30pm after recording a uploading the video and did some other recording, I went to AV and they still had Wi-Fi models in stock. Final prices are below and contact AV on Facebook, Twitter (@ave_brunei) or call them at +673 223 7650 (Kiulap) / +673 245 6436 (Mall)