We all know that its pretty hard to live without the internet these days – as we usually spend most of our waking hours maintaining our connection to the online world through as many devices as we can with any sort of live web connections we can manage. Not long ago, we had limited connectivity through bulkier laptops and wired LAN or 56k connections – which evolved into netbooks, smartphones and tablets with their 3G capabilities. But those didn’t completely solve the problems of being connected with powerful tools as much as they were small devices for communications – not to mention that oftentimes 3G connections just didn’t cut it. Enter the announcement of Intel’s new Ultrabook design spec and PLDT’s WiFi Zone offering – the former designed as fully featured laptops in a slim, power efficient case; while the latter being the telecommunications company’s new WiFi subscription service that you can access from 2,500+ points in the Philippines.
A couple of Ultrabooks here: HP on the left; Acer on the right.
We’ve seen Intel’s Ultrabooks before – with the thin and powerful new laptop breed being pushed out by well known manufacturers such as Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, and the like. It is a new design spec that requires a thin body with powerful specs – effectively pushing out the netbook specification with a powerful, small full-featured laptop. The initial requirements dictated that it should run on the Sandy Bridge (i3, i5, i7) processors with bodies up to 21mm thick only. It also required a minimum of 5 hours battery life and 7 seconds resume from hibernation. The small sizes (up to 14” screens) should allow for users to pack a powerful Sandy Bridge laptop in a thin body with enough battery to go the extra mile for mobile users.
Two of the PLDT WiFi Zone girls, who go to establishments to launch WiFi Zones
PLDT aims to combine these Ultrabooks with the WiFi Zone which was launched late last year with a free trial period, which now costs PHP 150 or PHP 300 to DSL subscribers or landline subscribers respectively. The new service allows the consumer to connect to a large amount of WiFi servers scattered around the metro – and was last seen expanding to Cebu and Baguio. Currently, there are over 2,500 establishments with these WiFi signals and the list is supposed to be growing quite rapidly. Establishments like coffee shops (Figaro, etc.), restaurants (Burger King, Max’s, Army Navy, Yellow Cab, etc.), bars (Bugsy’s, Opus, Republiq, etc.), and even entire shopping malls (Eastwood City, Araneta Center, Greenhills Shopping Center, Blue Wave, etc.) are now PLDT WiFi Zone areas – and of course there would be more to come. The service is said to be backed by extremely fast gigabit connections and dedicates at least 1MBit (100Kb/sec) to each user – allowing you guaranteed speeds especially when its needed.
With the combination of both these new mobile products, mobile professionals and even social media users like us should be able to maximize our online presence while on the field – even while having a cup of coffee with colleagues and friends. There has been no announced joint package for Ultrabooks and WiFi Zone however, but Intel and PLDT are hoping to come up with solutions for interested parties. Lastly, a prepaid WiFi Zone was announced at the event, and should be coming to consumers soon – we hope so too as the promise of fast WiFi on popular establishments really do quite get us interested.
We were able to test out the WiFi Zone at the event and the connection gave us a solid 237.8KB/sec download and a 119.5KB/sec upload (and even a 26ms ping) – quite a respectable speed indeed. (Our main connection being 300KB/sec at our offices.) We’ll hopefully be testing out the WiFi Zones in a few locations in the coming months so we’ll let you know how that goes as well. Until then, if you’re a PLDT Subscriber, you might want to check out WiFi Zone on their website here.
For more pictures of the event, check out our gallery below.
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