Starhub's i-mode trial
I-mode 9 Nov 2005
Starhub's trial of i-mode began last week.
Many were chosen to participate in the trial. From
online discussions, it can be seen that there are two offers, the first being
the first 500 having free phone and plan for 4 months and after which they have
to return the phone. The 2nd, for those who responded slightly later, would be
to choose 1 out of the 3 phones at a discounted price. There is also trade in
available but nothing much mentioned about which phones can be traded-in for
For those who have gotten the phones, it will be an interest experience. You get free subscription, usage, caller-id, roaming for
4 mths till end of Feb 2006. Data
is free till June 2006. Among the 3 models, the Samsung SGH-S410i seems to be the best among
price/feature at S$388 (trade in S$200, will be S$188). As the price is rather
steep for the NEC N600 (3G cum
i-mode phone), a lot of subscribers are backing out from the deal.
Some even complain that it is a bad deal claiming that why
should they pay to BETA TEST. (how bad can it be if you are given 4
mths of usage, but you need to sign 2 yrs usage plan at S$28?)
Being someone who goes for technology, i jumped onto the bandwagon.
Last week, I went to the i-experience expo at Suntec and got
hold of the Samsung S410i i-mode phone from Starhub. It is a fun
experience going through the various contents provided on the i-mode portal.
Some of the more useful ones are the News from various providers like Straits
Times, Zaobao, BBC. Set an alert and you will be notified of breaking news. With
i-mode mail, I can now receive emails pretty quick. I did a test, asking a
friend in Taipei to send me a mail, I got it within a minute or so. The mail is
"pushed" to me as I didn't configure it to poll the mail server. All i-mode
email addresses ends with email@example.com. On my trip back, I did a test
on the bus and everything seems to be working well. I downloaded (not streaming
in 3G) some clips from Mediacorp portal and it can playback pretty well.
From what I understand, my Samsung S410i will not work with OCBC bank as it
requires Doja 2.5. That puzzles me why Starhub introduces a phone that does not
support Doja 2.5 and never really tell us it won't be supported?
Contents wise, I see pretty
regular news updates. To read the news, you have to subscribe to it before you can
view the contents. At this moment, subscriptions are free. There are many
categories of information. When you first log into the i-mode menu, you can find
sections on News, Sports,
Banking and Trading, Entertainment, Chinese Universe, Shopping, Info &
Directories,Fun Downloads, Games, Chat, Lifestyle and i-EXperience Zone. It
definitely seemed to have more than what the 3G portal has. The Barclay video
streams can be viewed by downloading the video clip of 236KB to your phone and
viewing it off-line. The audio and video quality is excellent i would say. There
is a Street Directory too which you can view the maps by supplying road names or
postcode. Something which I didn't like is the price guide which is not up to
The Samsung S410i is a pretty good phone I would say. With 1.3mpixel camera for
still image and video recording. ~90MB of storage space is good enough for me to
store all my ringtones and pictures. The Bluetooth transfers the file types
automatically and drop them into the respective directories.The phone supports
MP3, MMF, M4A as ringtones. Play it back in 3D Surround or change it with 3
preset Equaliser modes. The front panel also has quick access buttons to
playback your updated playlist of MP3, M4A. I tried some MP3,
and I was surprised that I couldn't set it as ringtone. The M4A files and
MMF/MIDI files are OK. Something is a bit weird
during my trial. Some of WAP sites like the Gee! won't completely load up.
All the data transfer is FREE until June 2006 and I got a few months free
subscription to my usual $28 plan. Starhub also threw in caller-id and
international roaming for free till Feb 2006. Not a bad deal considering I trade
in a S$200 Samsung phone (E810C) for this featured packed
MP3,Bluetooth,I-MODE,Camera phone :)
While most people are not
familiar with i-mode, most people would say that you can do the same using a
normal WAP site. In fact, the i-mode thing seems to be able to do a bit more
than that from a central portal.
At the mean time, the opera browser (java based) has been available for
downloading. I have tried the browser on my K700i and
surprisingly, it works very well. It loads fast and reduces the images sizes to
save on amount of data transferred. So, will you go
for I-mode or will you just install a java based opera browser on your existing
java enabled phone and continue viewing WAP sites?
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