Smart’s changing the game with their Netphone 701

While smartphones are amazing machines on their own right, the smart in its name is usually taken out of the equation when you try to use them without data. Mobile data is what makes the smartphone world go round, whether you’re a minion of the fruity one or a passionate supporter of the green droid, your smartphone isn’t much use if it doesn’t have a good data plan attached to it. Here’s the thing though: while always-on internet plans are available for both networks, few people avail of them because of the costs involved. Filipinos are notoriously price sensitive, and would rather pay for data that they use. While tech-savvy users know that mobile data is the oil that makes smartphones go, paying for data is usually an insurmountable wall that masses can’t get over.
Enter Smart’s Netphone, a game changing device that brings the smartphone experience to the masses. As far as smartphone specs go, it’s not ground breaking – 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 600MHz processor on board, 3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash. What makes the Netphone stand out from the slew of other similarly specced devices out there is through SmartNet, an app portal created by Smart that allows users to access the net for free. And when we say free, we mean without consuming a single cent.

Remember when we talked about mobile data, or specifically, paying for data is an insurmountable wall that the masses can’t get over? Well, the Netphone 701 has a patented “Safe Browse” feature – which is a button you can press that stops all net traffic from third-party applications from going out. Smart-branded apps meanwhile, will still go through and grab data from the net, but without consuming a single cent. Initially the apps that will be available will be the Smart’s own social aggregator Social Stream and the Netphone messenger (think a multi-client messenger) but that’s set to grow exponentially in time. Smart also gave us a little demo of a Jollibee app that would allow you to order online and though the app was incomplete during launch, it showed the enormous potential of the device.

Another nice thing about the NetPhone is that it’s basically a cloud smartphone – all your contacts, media, apps, and SMS are backed up in a central server somewhere, and if you lose it and get a new one, you can just grab your data from the server and you’re back online.

So the big question is how does Smart make money out of this? Well, aside from the obvious (postpaid plans and prepaid use) we think that a big chunk of their profit will come from devs and app creators – think about it. Being put in the whitelist of apps that’s able to access the internet is huge, as you can bet a large part of the Netphone install base would keep that Safe Browse feature on most of the time.

And Smart’s plan for SmartNet doesn’t stop with the Netphone 701. Smart execs hinted that we would see SmartNet being available on the Android market “soon”, with a version of the app for other OSes in the works (including one for the PC).

The Netphone 701 will be available for Php 9,990 for prepaid users. For postpaid users, they’ll be able to pick up the device for free at plan 1200. To know more about the device and other postpaid plans, you can go to