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Sep 8, 2011
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Smart now has a smartphone of their own: the Smart Netphone 701. [firstpara] The phone was unveiled in a grand launch last September 1 at a fittingly grand venue, Republiq in Resorts World.

The first question that should pop in any techie's mind: What was Smart thinking getting into the smartphone arena?

Is it not crowded enough with all the Blackberry's, the HTC's, and the iPhone's? Won't another entry lead to a supply shortage of touchscreens?

Okay, so that last question was a bit far out, but as for the question of the market being oversaturated, the reality is the competition is at its thickest.

But lest we be accused of being overly pessimistic, let's make it clear that we fear not for Smart's Netphone. Smart has an excellent package here that's going to make people pay significant attention.

The Netphone 701 is an Android phone (Android 2.2 FroYo), which we hear from Techie is the first in a hopefully long line of Netphones, and is geared towards topnotch usability of the web, social networking and various other services.

Its specs: a 600MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip processor and 512MB of RAM, a 3.5-inch 800 x 400 capacitive touchscreen, and a 3.2-megapixel rear camera with autofocus. Wireless connectivity is achieved via 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth.

Nothing mind-blowing, but from a purely functional standpoint, the numbers tell you that the phone has enough wind in its sails for a relatively smooth journey. And for just 9,900 pesos for the prepaid unit (and free at Smart's Data Lite Plan 800 and Plan 1200 for All-in packages), the phone is a solid representation of Smart's goal to make it easy to own a reliable, full-featured smartphone.

What's more likely to impress is the phone's SmartNet platform. What is it? It's essentially a collection of Android apps that are designed to make life more convenient for mobile web users. Hey, it's not called a "Netphone" for nothing.

The way it is implemented is a highlight, giving users a hub where they can easily make use of instant messaging services, and integrated Facebook and Twitter feeds via the Social Stream. Like Blackberry's own, the Netphone boasts of its own Netphone messenger, which allows you to chat with other Netphone users, Facebook, and Yahoo Messenger contacts, all from one hub.

Owning the Netphone also gives the privilege to use the Netphone's Global Directory service, which lets one save and store their contacts on the web. That's particularly useful, especially if you tend to lose your phone every so often.

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Last but no the least, the Smart Netphone lets you gain access to the Smart Center, where you can, among others, check your postpaid bill or prepaid load balance instantly, account subscriptions, subscribe to Smart phone and web services or access phone reload services.

Very attractive, right? Perhaps the only way they could make it better is if they got Sam Pinto to endorse it. Oh, wait. They did that too. Check out Sam Pinto's Netphone ad below.

WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES
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