Philippine tech company Xurpas has announced yet another acquisition, this time of a mobile content provider in Indonesia, marking its first foray into the country. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Xurpas said it bought 49 percent of PT Sembilan Digital Investama, parent of Ninelives Interactive, for US$245,000. The Indonesian companies are engaged in mobile content development and distribution, the same business as Xurpas’. They have existing contracts with top carriers such as Telkomsel, as well as XL Axiata and Indosat.
In a milestone for smartphone growth in the Philippines, the nation is now the third largest market for smartphones in Southeast Asia. Jerome Dominguez, market analyst at IDC in the Philippines, tells Tech in Asia that the Philippines overtook Vietnam in 2014, which now drops to fourth. Indonesia is first, while Thailand is second. This is thanks to the growing adoption of smartphones by consumers. According to IDC, a total of 26.8 million mobile phones were shipped to the Philippines in 2014. The ratio of smartphones increased to 47 percent in 2014, up from 24 percent in 2013.
Philippine budget phone maker Cherry Mobile beat South Korean giant Samsung as the leading smartphone brand in the Philippines in 2014, IDC said today. It was the second straight year that Cherry has whipped Samsung in the nation. According to the research firm, Cherry cornered 21.9 percent of the Philippine market in terms of volume of smartphones shipped in 2014, overtaking Samsung, whose share declined further to 13.3 percent.
MANILA, Philippines – Cherry Mobile recently launched two new Alpha series devices at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain recently. In its five years in the industry, Cherry Mobile has continued to expand its gadget lineup and market share despite international brands dominating the country. In 2014, Cherry Mobile it worked with Microsoft to introduce the Alpha series which boasted of two smartphones and two tablets – all equipped with a Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 operating systems.
MANILA, Philippines – Subscribers of Talk ‘N Text, Smart, and Sun Cellular can now access a suite of mobile Internet services for free through Facebook’s Internet.org app, which made its Southeast Asian debut in the Philippines last Wednesday. Subscribers with a data-capable device can access Facebook, Facebook Messenger plus 22 other websites — providing news, health, weather, and other services – by downloading the Internet.org application on Google Play or visiting http://www.Internet.org on their mobile browser. They can get more information by texting INTERNET to 9999.
After rolling out the service in six countries since 2014, Facebook today announced the availability of the Internet.org app for millions of people in the Philippines. The app provides mobile phone users free access to basic internet services related to education, health, employment, communication, and information and news. This means Filipinos will now be able to browse Wikipedia for information, read the Inquirer for news updates, check the weather using Accuweather, look for jobs on Jobstreet, chat with friends on Facebook and more – without data charges. However, it’s limited to a bunch of curated sites that Facebook has chosen.
The University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines has joined the NetSuiteAcademy Program to offer hands-on education in cloud technology. The program is designed to bring cloud-based business management solutions to university classrooms. It offers no-cost licensing, resources and training to help schools equip students with the next-generation cloud IT and business skills prized by today’s employers.
The Philippines plans to create a new Department of ICT to deliver online services to citizens. A bill to create the new department will be passed by June, a Senator said. The bill will lead to a restructuring of the Department of Transportation and Communication, into two separate departments responsible for transportation and ICT. E-government initiatives are currently implemented by the ICT Office in the Department of Science and Technology.
HackOsaka 2015, held earlier this month in Osaka, featured a pitch contest where 10 startups pitched their services and products. The event was hosted by Osaka Innovation Hub (OIH) and Osaka Economic Strategy Bureau. I would like to introduce prize winners and other presenting startups. mClinica CEO Frouk Meralli is originally from Canada but now based out Manila, the Philippines.
Manila-based Yoyo Holdings, the Japanese-led startup known for its mobile rewards platform Candy, announced last week that it has launched a lock screen-based rewards platform for Android users in Indonesia, called PopSlide. The app is available on Google Play in Indonesia. The platform distributes news, weather forecasts, other updates, and ads to your smartphone lock screen. In return for viewing such information, users receive rewards for free Internet access on their smartphone.
MANILA, Philippines – Life, just like the way you use your mobile phone, is what you make it. In the days of old, when I first got my cell phone, there was just prepaid and postpaid. I chose a plan and lived with what I paid for. That is no longer how the telcos work: Globe Telecom has made it its mission to make sure that a plan that a postpaid customer gets is one that is made for how one uses the cellphone.
Google announced today it is finally offering the much-anticipated Android One smartphones in the Philippines. This comes five months after the Android One program first launched in India. Two Android One phones will be available in the Philippines, made by homegrown phone brands Cherry Mobile and MyPhone. Caesar Sengupta, Google’s vice president for product management, says that the new phones – the Cherry One and MyPhone Uno – will be sold for below PHP5,000 (US$113).
MANILA, Philippines – Sakay.ph recently released its biggest update since its launch, making commuting in Metro Manila easier than ever. Commuters can use Sakay.ph to find the best possible routes to their workplace or school, and to explore unfamiliar new areas of the city. The update introduces a brand new look, a mobile app, and further-improved routing directions.
MANILA, Philippines – The search is over for the country’s most powerful and affordable locally branded smartphone with the launch of the Cosmos One Plus. With the newest addition to Cherry Mobile’s extensive gadget line-up, the local tech giant once again takes a step forward in the industry as it stays true to its commitment to provide quality phones to fit every lifestyle.
Ecommerce giant Rocket Internet and Philippine telco PLDT are on a roll. The partners are setting up another joint venture, this time for online business development in the Philippines. This comes just two weeks after the duo signed an agreement to form a 50-50 venture for online and mobile payment solutions, with a focus on emerging markets. In a joint statement today, Rocket and PLDT said they will set up the Philippines Internet Group (PHIG).
SMART e-Money, Inc. (SMI), the mobile financial solutions arm of Smart Communications, Inc., in partnership with Citi Philippines and Visa recently unveiled Charge2Phone or C2P, the country’s first sticker-based Near Field Communication (NFC) payment solution that is expected to revolutionize the way Filipino consumers pay for face-to-face and online transactions. This innovative payment technology enables Smart and Sun postpaid subscribers to use their phones not only for SMS, calls and browsing services, but also to pay for small-ticket items.
MANILA, Philippines – Leading telecommunications and multimedia services provider PLDT, through its home digital services group PLDT HOME, has maintained its leadership in fixed broadband with a 70% market share at the end of the third quarter of 2014, more than triple that of its nearest competitor. PLDT HOME has remained the preferred broadband provider in the country with consistent double-digit increases in broadband subscribers as it grew a robust 18% at the end of September from its year-ago level, bringing its total broadband subscriber base to nearly one million.
The Philippines has published government contracts in the mining, oil and gas industries on its open data portal, data.gov.ph. These industries account for US$1.2 billion (PHP 52 billion) of government revenue, the Open Data Taskforce said. The government is committed to meeting international standards of transparency in revenue from extractive industries, it added.
Philippine mobile operator Smart Communications welcomes the year 2015 with a surprise for its subscribers: an extended free internet promo. Smart announced in a statement today all 69 million subscribers of Smart and affiliate brands – Talk ’N Text and Sun Cellular – can use their mobile phones to surf the web for up to 30 megabytes daily without charges till February 5, instead of January 5. To take advantage of the promo, subscribers just need to register by texting FREE to 9999.
Christmas has come early for Philippine Bitcoin remittance service Rebit.ph. Rebit, one of the verticals under Bitcoin umbrella company Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), has booked an average 150 percent growth in value of transactions month-on-month since October. That’s a big jump from the usual 80 percent growth it registered during the first few months from its launch in July. The reason for the spike is obvious: remittances from overseas Filipinos usually peak in the run-up to Christmas because of holiday spending, and Rebit has been able to capture a portion of that market.