Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smart sees still untapped Internet market

Although the Philippines already has a mature and active Internet user group, only 30% of the country’s 95 million total population has Internet connectivity.

So, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) aims to reach the remaining 70 percent, especially the low-income groups in far flung areas across the archipelago, via a P12,795 tablet PC - the ZTE V9.

Tablets have surged in popularity since 2010 because of its high mobility and its possibilities in changing the Internet, information and media landscapes. Some 17.6 million tablet were sold globally last year, outnumbering laptops and netbooks the former bestsellers, according to research firm Gartner.

With the emergence of several low-cost models, 69.5 million tablet PCs will be sold this year. Smart was the first telco to introduce the tablet in the country with the Samsung Galaxy Tab fully powered with network and data services.

Now, the telco has lauched the ZTE V9 is a 7-inch Android 2.2-powered tablet being bundled with Smart Bro the wireless Internet service of its affiliate, Smart Broadband, Inc.

Initially being offered for prepaid subscription, the ZTE V9 combines the Internet experience of desktops and laptops with the convenience and portability of Internet-capable mobile phones and is payable in 6 monthly instalments, interest-free.

“Many Filipinos still access the Internet mainly through Internet cafes and work or school computers. With low-cost Internet devices such as this, we aim to increase the country’s Internet population, by enabling more people to easily have their own personal Internet access device,” explained Orlando B. Vea, Smart’s Chief Wireless Advisor.

Smart expects Smart Bro to revolutionize the way subscribers use data services through the ZTE V9. Because the tablet is powered by Android OS, ZTE V9 owners can easily customize and make their tablet more relevant to their needs and preferences with downloadable applications or apps.

These apps, thousands of which are available in the Android Market, can expand the tablet’s functionalities with various information, connectivity, social networking, gaming and multimedia services, all supported by Smart Bro’s connectivity. These apps will also make it easier for Smart to deploy future data-driven services direct to its subscribers.

But aside from its data-centric features, Smart Bro Prepaid subscribers using the ZTE V9 may also use their Smart Bro account to access the tablet’s SMS and voice call functionalities.

Other key features of the ZTE V9 include a 3.0 MP camera, WiFi, USB connectivity, built-in apps such as multimedia player, maps, YouTube, e-mail and more, and storage memory expandable up to 32GB.

With the launch of the ZTE V9 and with other affordable tablets and smartphones coming soon, Smart officials are confident that they will be able to capture new subscribers especially for their broadband services.

Subscriber can pay for their ZTE V9 in installments at 0% interest through participating credit cards. It comes with a Smart Bro prepaid SIM with 5 days of unlimited Internet browsing. Subscribers may then register the Smart Bro prepaid account to avail of Unlisurf Packages, Per Minute Packages, or All Text Packages.

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