Cubix Cube Lite Review

Five days after Lazada delivered my Cubix Cube Lite, I can say that this phone is well worth its price. The specs are reasonably sufficient for general use. It looks like an enlarged Xperia Go with its bright display, textured back panel, rubber slot covers for SIM & microSD, and its light weight. It takes a while to figure out how to uncover the SIM slot at first.

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Performance-wise, the experience is smooth for most of the tasks but it sometimes lag when several background apps start to pile up. Obviously, its not designed to be a gaming phone.

The internal speakers and the bundled headset are nothing to be desired. But when I plugged in an Apple Earpods, the Cube Lite was able to pump out acceptably good music with ample bass.

Photographs produced by front and back cameras cannot compare to those from mid-range phones in the market but will be acceptable to those who are just starting with smartphone photography.When manually focusing objects on the camera. Ther

Battery lasts more than 2 days with light use (like 1 hour of music, 1 hour of FM radio, occasional social network checks via wifi and a few dozen texts per day) but can easily get consumed up in less than a day with heavy use.

Out-of-the-box configuration isn’t very polished so I installed Microsoft’s locker and launcher and disabled a few pre-installed apps that I don’t use (Kakao Talk, Talkback, TouchPal, live wallpapers, etc.). The end-result is a satisfactorily usable smartphone that is light in the pocket both literally and figuratively.

RIPD

I am juggling between watching the movie “R.I.P.D.” and writing this blog post when it struck me that I should adopt the same title here.

Rest in Peace, Devices!

Just two weeks after Microsoft announced its acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business, Research in Motion is writing down almost a billion dollars for its smartphones that lost charisma among consumers. Almost everywhere, RIM is considered “unofficially” dead.

Their epitaph reads:

Nokia and Blackberry: the two biggest brands before the iPhone era.  Taught fingers how to do the talking. Left the world with a million fingers talking about them.

Nokia and RIM could have survived if not for being too self-consumed by their own respective “mobile phone world.” Apple went out, proved to be, and remains to be the differentiator.

RIM panicked in 2007 after the first iPhone was launched but was too confident that Blackberry’s business users would stick to the email-focused device with an exclusive messaging service. It was too late for RIM to realize that sales would be driven more by apps than by hardware features. Before it decided to let go of the physical QWERTY keypad and make the BBM application available to iOS and Android users as well, RIM’s market share has sunk to unrecoverable depth.

Nokia was too confused which way to go. It got rid of Symbian OS in favor of Meego. After creating one great Meego phone, it went for Windows while the rest of the non-iOS world moved to Android.

Unfortunately, these wrong moves were lethal for Nokia and RIM.

Those who are afraid to die have been keenly looking at Apple. Google bought Motorola. Microsoft got Nokia. Apple made them realize that it wins by taking full control of the hardware and the OS. Now, Samsung is reported to be porting all its future devices to its own operating system, Tizen. It’s arguably built out of fear as Google has started creating smartphones with a proprietary version of Android.

Each of these tech giants are not myopic about innovation. All of them have made their marketing teams a lot of things to brag about. But the primary success factor in the mobile device industry in the last few years has been consumer-conscious innovation. It is delivering new ways that enhances how consumers use their devices, not just new technologies to bluff about which in the end do not get utilized at all.

The competition keeps getting more exciting. Two down, and more to go.

Hey Samsung, how’s Tizen doing so far? Make sure it’s not a re-branded Bada or else you’ll be next in the RIPD list.

In The Red

For two weeks now, I’ve been hearing (and reading about) the decommissioning of Red Mobile. Its subscriber base of around 900,000 (was 1.4 million in 2011) is now being migrated into Smart’s mobile network. It’s sad to see that this is how the story of my preferred mobile network brand ends.

From an ambitious startup as CURE in 2001, it was one of the first 3G network service providers in the Philippines. It was supposed to run as an ad-supported mobile platform (see my related post here) but this non-traditional strategy did not work. Rebranded as  ümobile, it was acquired by Smart Communications in 2008 with the latter’s plans of expanding its 3G network. It was later relaunched as Red Mobile with very affordable call and text messaging rates.

I am using a Red Mobile SIM since mid-2009. I even got a 3G Motorola phone at half the price when Red Mobile had a promotional sale in Davao City then. Its prepaid services and rates have always been better than Smart or Globe whether postpaid or prepaid. That was until its conversion into a 2G-only network that resulted to end of support for data services including mobile internet and video calling.

Now, Smart has stopped selling new Red Mobile SIM cards and Red Mobile’s 3G frequency franchise will be turned over to the government. It is apparent that Red will face the same fate as Addict Mobile had a few years back.

Well, that’s the way business ventures work. If it won’t generate revenue, it won’t attract any business interest. PLDT and Smart’s focus now is on Sun Cellular. But I won’t mind it much. Whatever happens to my Red Mobile number, I’m sure to get better mobile services in the years to come.