Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Back when this month was still a few days old, a notoriously accurate smartphone leaker showed what may well be the earliest images of the latest Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy S10. What was initially an edited image with a blurred-out icon screen was eventually confirmed the following week when the South Korean electronics giant announced a live event scheduled for February, punctuated by a promo poster showing the number 10. There can be no coincidence there. Anyway, over a week after the Samsung announcement, tech reporter and veteran spoiler Evan Blass strikes again, with images intimating that the Galaxy S10 will have three possible variants.
Tech Crunch has it that Evan Blass has just gone and posted a new leaked image on his Twitter page of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone. Well, to be specific, he posted an image of three types of Galaxy S10s, variants to one another. From the shared photo below, the basic Samsung Galaxy S10 is in the middle; to its right is the larger S10+ phablet, and at left is the S10E. This three-variant product release is similar to the model implemented by Apple when they introduced the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR.
And just like with the new Apple iPhones, the third Galaxy S10 variant the S10 is touted as the entry-level version: slightly less powerful than the baseline S10 but at a more affordable price range. From a cursory glance at the image above, the S10 variants have in common the loss of the once-familiar top-edge notch where the “selfie” front cam normally is. Now it is located in a hole-punch to the upper right of the display. The fingerprint sensor is apparently on the screen this time. Speaking of front cams, the Galaxy S10+ has two lenses; and while this and the regular S10 have three rear cam lenses the S10E version only has two. Also, it might only have an LCD screen rather than the more pricy AMOLED display.
With this new leak by Evan Blass, there seems to be not much left to reveal at their February live event about the Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone line other than their internal components. Still, maybe the Korean company still has a few surprises left for their loyal Galaxy users on the 27th of next month. Even if it is only another preview of their folding-screen smartphone prototype, it will dazzle along with the Galaxy S10s.
Image courtesy of 9to5 Google

MARAWI “Solid Vote” for BOL

Yesterday, residents of the provinces and areas that comprise the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) came out in force to redo what their parents and elders have done back in 1989 which led to the creation of their region in the first place: a plebiscite. This time, the plebiscite will ask whether or not they want their communities to become part of a new Bangsamoro autonomous region replacing the ARMM, through the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. The proposed region will have even greater levels of autonomy than what the ARMM enjoyed. Among the most enthusiastic BOL supporters voted from the once-troubled capital of Lanao Del Sur: Marawi.
CNN Philippines has it that, on the day of plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law this Monday, January 21, Marawi City in Lanao Del Sur quite obviously voted overwhelmingly for the ratification of the BOL and, consequently, for inclusion in the territory of a future Bangsamoro autonomous region. In unofficial results following the completion of canvassing for the provincial capital this 3 AM of Tuesday, January 22, some 58,688 registered voters across the 96 barangays of Marawi voted “Yes” to the BOL, against 112 “No” voters. These results will be deemed official once announced by the national board of canvassers.
Support for the BOL and the resultant new autonomous region in Marawi was never in doubt. With a Muslim resident population of over 99% (but not fully 100), the city is one of the historical cultural centers of the Bangsamoro people. Following the devastation it suffered in 2017 after being occupied by ISIS-aligned extremists, Marawi looks to an autonomous region with greater autonomy from the rest of the Philippines as an added measure of security. The rest of Lanao Del Sur is fit to follow its capital, although canvassing in the rest of the province is unfinished and resumes today.
If Marawi is a bulwark of the BOL “Yes” vote, another major historical cultural center of the Bangsamoro looks to remain aloof. Cotabato City, which rejected inclusion in the ARMM nearly three decades ago, is looking to vote “No” once again, this time to the BOL, despite campaigning by Muslim supporters and the tacit desire of President Rodrigo Duterte himself. The late-night initial canvassing was put on hold at 1 AM Tuesday but will also resume in the morning. In the rest of Maguindanao, of which Cotabato is geographically but not politically joined, BOL ratification and inclusion looks very certain according to Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangundadatu, with a 97% “Yes” vote in three municipalities combined.
A second plebiscite will be done on February 6 for North Cotabato, Lanao Del Norte except Iligan City, and 28 adjacent areas which petitioned for Bangamoro autonomous region inclusion, but only if the BOL ratification goes through from January 21.
Image courtesy of SunStar Davao


It is often amazing how some of the biggest things around could start from the smallest beginnings. There is the Biblical example of the mustard seed; and then there is the story of the little shoe retail shop in Quiapo back in the 1950s that would become the seed of a mighty Philippine retail empire. The store’s name was Shoemart, brainchild of Fujian-born entrepreneur Henry Sy Sr., and from shoe sales it expanded into a chain of department stores and ultimately, supermalls that bear the moniker “SM”. The primacy of SM among Philippine malls can be attributed to the marketing brilliance of Sy, who had passed away just this weekend.
Business World Online reports that Henry Sy Sr. died last Saturday, January 19, at the age of 94 years. According to an official statement released by SM Investments Corp., better known as the SM Group, Sy passed peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of the preceding weekend, though the conglomerate shared no further details regarding the death of the man whom they called the company’s “Father”. Sy served as chairman of SMIC until stepping down to emeritus status on 2017. During the past 11 years he has been named by Forbes as the richest man in the Philippines.
A separate statement from the Sy family expressed thanks to the condolences given by Filipinos as soon as word of their patriarch’s death was made public. “We are truly grateful for the outpouring of sympathy on the passing of our father, Henry Sy, Sr.,” announced a spokesperson for the family, adding that the Sys are currently in reflection and making arrangements for the funeral, and are therefore asking for privacy.
Henry Sy Sr. or Sy Chi Sieng (Shi Zhicheng in modern Hanyu Pinyin), was born 1924 in Fujian, China. His family moved to the Philippines in 1936 to operate a store. When the closing months of World War II saw their business destroyed with much of Manila, the Sy family returned to China except Henry, who finished his education at Far Eastern University and started his business career by selling surplus US Army boots. This eventually led to his opening of the Shoemart shoe store, and the rest is history.
The current SM Prime Holdings mall chain is now only one part of the larger SM Group, which includes real estate developments, hotels, convention centers and a sports arena, and two banks (BDO and Chinabank).
No details on Sy’s wake have been disclosed as of yet. At present, his children Henry Jr., Teresita, Elizabeth, Hans, Herbert and Harley hold controlling positions at SMIC, though the current chairman is Jose Sio.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star