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Never off the grid: Smartphone rental for tourists in Hong Kong
Touch down, rent phone, get online -- the "not available" status is officially obsolete
There's no way to get away anymore -- travelers to Hong Kong can now rent smartphones at the airport arrivals hall for HK$68 (about US$8.8) a day with unlimited 3G Internet access.
The fee also includes unlimited local and overseas call time to 17 countries.
The 3G service covers Macau as well, although you can't make free international calls from there.
Dubbed "Handy," the rental service that launched last week is an alternative option to paying data roaming fees to your home service provider.
"From now on, prepaid SIM cards, paper maps, coupons, frenzied searches for Wi-Fi hot spots and physical guidebooks should be things of the past for tourists," said Terence Kwok, founder of Tink Labs, the company offering Handy.
As great as it sounds, the service is also an evil temptation for those trying to take a vacation from their Internet addiction.
Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in.
Hong Kong's Handy service comes just after Singapore started renting out iPads to tourists through TouristPads.
Read more at: New in Singapore: iPad rentals for tourists
Handy only rents out the 5.3-inch touchscreen Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone for now. Kwok said they wanted to pick a device that uses Android and that gives "the best user experience."
Depending on user feedback, Tink may offer other smartphones for rent in the future.
Each Galaxy Note is pre-loaded with more than 40 apps by the rental service, although instant messaging service Whatsapp, widely used in Hong Kong, isn't pre-loaded.
Users can download any additional app for Android that they want through Google Play.
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Rent and return Handy smartphones at units A03 and B12 of the Arrivals Hall at Hong Kong International Airport. A cash deposit of HK$4,000 or a credit card is needed for rental services. Reservations can be made online. See www.tinklabs.com for more details.