I really wanted a phone upgrade this year: I wanted a touch phone and one that’s powered by Google’s Android platform. Here’s the story of how I got it in less than an hour, as well as my first impressions of my phone of choice.
I’ve asked @SMARTCares over at Twitter about which Wireless Centers have stocks of HTC Magic but didn’t get an answer — good thing I have a friend at Smart’s public affairs surprised me with news that their Megamall Wireless Center had plenty of it. Within minutes, I coasted from Vito Cruz to what was once the country’s biggest malls.
Ms. Via Sta. Cruz graciously welcomed and immediately helped me accomplish and sign all the forms, let me pick my new Smart mobile number, processed the card payment, presented me my new phone and activated both the SIM card and the unlimited 3G service — all in less than an hour. That’s what you call service.
Ive obviously picked the HTC Magic as my new phone. One could get it free at Smart’s Plan 1800, inclusive of unlimited 3G – -with the requisite credit requirements and with a lock-in period of 24 months.
I found the second way of getting the HTC Magic more palatable — pay P8,500 for the phone, P1,200 for the first month unlimited 3G and P300 for the first Gold Lite monthly subscription – or a total of P10,000. This way, I’m tied to a P300 monthly plan for just six months. Unlimited 3G is optional and may be renewed every month at the nearest Wireless Center. Documentary requirements for Smart Gold Lite is quite minimal: Just a valid ID with address and the P10,000 payment (cash or card). If your ID has no address in it, just bring a long a proof of billing.
So, in sum, I just shelled out P8,500 for the HTC Magic which, I am almost sure, is a very good buy however I look at it. The rest of the P10,000 I’d be able to splurge on unlimited 3G and P2.00/minute Smart-to-Smart calls through the next 30 days.
I’ve been able to use a Nokia E63 (sold at lunch time yesterday!) and an iPhone 2G for about a year now so I was really looking forward to some Android goodness with my new HTC Magic.
After using an E63 non-touch QWERTY phone for over a year, I found the Android’s user-interface refreshing.
The phone packaging is smaller than usual and contains the phone, the battery, an Hongkong/UK-type charger with adaptor, a data cable, headset and documentation.
My HTC Magic is black, with maroon all around the sides. The screen responds to touch — of course — and I was making so many mistakes touching the apps I wanted to open. Maybe I was just too excited. While waiting for Smart to activate my SIM card, I was already surfing the internet on the built-in web browser via SM Megamall’s Free WIFI service.
The downside is that the firmware/ROM installed in my HTC Magic is kinda bare and lacks the Google Market app — which is a shame because that’s what I’d like to see and play with. I’ve been able to download and install some apps directly like Meebo, Twidroid and WordPress — but have been been unsuccessful in getting Foursquare and Facebook apps up and running. I hope Smart and HTC would soon introduce firmware/ROM upgrades to fix this terrible absence of the Google Market app. (A check at the HTC website reveals a newer firmware/ROM. But the serial number of the Smart-provided HTC Magic isn’t recognized.)
In the next few days, I’ll try to enjoy my new phone and take down notes for a review.