Pokemon Go -Niantics Secret Weapon!

4 07 2016

So, after a lengthy hiatus, what a better way to return than a piece on Pokemon Go, Niantic’s new game.

After what would seem a reasonable success to some, Niantic’s second game is unsurprisingly far more hyped than its little brother Ingress.

After an on again, off again relationship with Google, Niantic now stands alone again, having once been part of Googles wider family.

Ingress was rolled out in 2012 in beta form, invite only, with fairly few users, but a very active community. Having obtained an invite in 2013, I’ve had Ingress for a while, and whilst the concept and exclusivity factor made it pretty cool to dabble around in, it never gripped me quite like it has with some.

Ingress-screenshots

People now holiday together playing Ingress, specifically trying to capture portals based on real life locations, with large events organised by Niantic on a fairly regular basis.

After struggling to get on with Ingress, but seeing its huge potential, I am hugely excited for Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go is a location based game, based on the Pokemon series which needs no introduction, with its multi-million game sales on the Gameboy, and DS, and is all about trying to catch as many Pokemon as you can, battling your way to the top !

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The screenshots that have been revealed so far, show two different modes, AR & VR, both performing pretty well to engross the user in the overall experience.

Some early testers have complained about the Pokemon appearing to hover over the ground, not blending seamlessly into the background, but what can you expect in an early access beta ?

The game carries over some of the features we loved from the Gameboy games, battling opponents, challenging gyms, and collecting items from specific places (pokestops in the game).

The gym aspect is pretty cool, similar to a portal in Ingress, which can be defended by leaving a Pokemon of your choosing for opponents to battle, much like the resonator equivalent in Ingress. This brings it to life a whole lot more, and makes you think twice about which of your precious Pokemon you leave behind !!

Pokemon Go Screenshots

It is also understood a great deal of the testing that has been carried out this year by beta testers has been around the algorithms which dictate which Pokemon appear where. These are thought to be reasonably intelligent, with water Pokemon appearing near the water, grass near patches of grass and such like ! This element will be particularly interesting, but sadly Australia may be a long way to go to capture a Kangaskhan!

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It is understood that there will be an in game purchase capability in the app, unsurprising, but I hope that the game isn’t dictated by this, ruining it for anybody who doesn’t want to splash their cash on it. These purchases are thought to be for items such as pokeballs, potions, revives etc, all of which are thought to be able to be obtained via normal play via pokestops, so if you have a pokestop nearby.. you may be in luck ! The locations of these pokestops are also thought to follow a similar format to portals in ingress, being located at key locations in an area !

Pokestop

As well as in app purchases, there is a physical piece of hardware available for use with Pokemon Go, the Pokemon Go Plus. This is a small device that can be worn as a wrist band, or clipped onto a piece of clothing, the idea of this, is to prevent you having to be glued to your phone, thus being able to enjoy your natural environment when you want, whilst still being able to respond to crucial events in the game such as throwing a Pokeball. This was a bit of an issue for me with Niantic, not wanting to kill the phones battery, or walk down a busy street with your head in your phone!

Pokemon Go Plus

The game its self, could be very poor, but will undoubtably get a tonne of support due to the underlying support of Pokemon.

The firm release date is still to be announced, but Niantic & Pokemon have said this will be in July 2016, with the Pokemon Go Plus pre-orders (Now sold out) being delivered in late July.

No doubt there will be a further update once the game has launched and my Pokemon Go Plus has been delivered, but for the time being, I’ll keep my eyes peeled until a launch date is officially released !





Jumper Card Review

8 02 2014

So recently, I was sent the Jumper Card to review, and was really excited to get my hands on it after reading about it on Indiegogo.

This is a credit card sized device, that can be used to charge your smartphone or tablet, transfer files, or do anything your existing charging cable can do.

This has recently launched on Indiegogo, and you can fund this project using this link – http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/jumper-card-emergency-battery-charger

The product is around the same size as a credit card although slightly more chunky, and fits extremely well into uour pocket or wallet.Image

It is coated in a really nice rubberised material, and is extremely light despite its thickness. It feels tough, and is made to military spec, so you can be sure that it will last.

The device can be charged using the USB port and has the capacity to hold 480mAh of battery, this is enough to get around an hour of use, and can be re-charged again and again, unlike a lot of other products similar to this which can be limited in this area.

It comes with a micro USB socket, lightning socket, and the older traditional apple fitting. This means you can charge most android phones, digital cameras & other accessories as well as the entire apple range. It doesn’t take long to fully charge the jumper card, and this gives you a decent amount of battery on your device depending on the size of the battery, as obviously this will charge iPhones considerably more than iPads etc due to the size of the internal battery varying massively on device to device.

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Now, on charging my phone specifically (HTC One) I was prompted with a message advising that fast-charge was no longer enabled and that the device would charge considerably slower than by using an HTC official charger. This was the case, but the phone still charged well, and also worked really well on my iPhone and iPad. The product also comes with a built in LED light which indicates when it is finished charging and has inbuilt overcharge protection. The product is activated by a simple slider on the side, which can also be used to turn on a bright LED flashlight which is always handy !

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At $25, it is an extremely cheap emergency charging option, and can also be plugged into a USB Car lighter adapter which is great for keeping it charged on the way to work or anywhere else.I have been using this thoroughly for around 2 weeks now, and the device still feels as good as it originally did, and I haven’t encountered any problems with it at all and would highly recommend this to anybody who uses their phone as much as I do, and constantly encounters problems with the capacity of modern day batteries !





Wireless Touch Speaker Review

23 05 2013

The Wireless Touch Speaker by Thumbs Up is a product sold by The Great Gift Company UK.

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The product retails for £30, and is pretty competitively priced in the market with a great deal of competition seen online, as well as any local music stores/HMV etc.

These sort of devices have came out in barrel loads over the past number of years, with sizes decreasing and more increasingly clever ways of making them portable and wireless.

The thing that interested me most about this speaker was the fact that it did not connect to the device it was amplifying by any cables or Bluetooth. I’ve reviewed an amplifying solution that did this before, but never to the extent of this device. It works by claiming to use ‘Near Field Audio’ technology. This means that the device does not connect to the phone or mp3 player, and simply if the device is placed on top then the music is amplified using the inbuilt speakers with the volume being controlled by your device as you usually would.

There is also an option to plug your device into the speaker with a Headphone jack on the device, and also an option to plug into DC if you don’t want to use the 3 AA batteries required to use on the go.

The amplification is massive, I was astounded as to how loud it was at first. Due to the wireless nature, I had expected to be let down, but I wasn’t in the slightest. The volume can fill a room easily, and for £30 it is a pretty good purchase. The device feels well made, it is simply designed to look at, and includes a rubber band to hold your device to the speaker if you are using this on the move.

Discovering a flaw with the NFA technology, the amplification only works when the speaker is directly on top of a certain place on the device. As you can see in the videos posted, If the iPod is turned 180 degrees, no amplification is achieved. This was discovered completely by accident, but I am assuming this is to do with the technology it uses. This could potentially be an issue with centrally located speakers, and I’d also be curious to see how this would work with devices such as the HTC One with front facing speakers.

Coming up to Father’s Day, www.thegreatgiftcompany.com has lots of great items that anybody would be thankful for and reasonably priced. If your looking for something unusual or unique, I’d recommend giving this website a look, especially if your stuck for ideas as there is a lot of items that will spark anybody’s imagination !





Ubuntu Phone , a new contender or overhyped flop ?

6 01 2013

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Ubuntu, em… what ?

To most people, this means nothing. But to a small percentage of like-minded computer geeks like myself ! Ubuntu, is another Operating System. Similar to Windows or Mac. Ubuntu is a Linux based OS, some people may have heard of Linux, Ubuntu is based on the Debian Linux Distrubution and like Android, is free and open sourced. There are many more Linux operating softwares but Ubuntu is the most common, giving the user more control of their computer, similar to rooting a phone. Ubuntu also claims to be Virus-Free, and has great in built Virus protection. Ubuntu is free to download, install and updates are also free for life.

Ubuntu can be installed alongside an OS like Windows, this is what I have running on my computer. Ubuntu alongside W8. This means that upon boot, I can choose what OS I want to run, with a section of my Hard Drive partitioned to this OS and this OS alone. Ubuntu can currently be installed on an Android phone, with the phone still running Android, but when docked and plugged into a monitor and keyboard, becoming a fully fledged PC.

Ubuntu phone is going to bedifferent to this. This will be a standalone phone OS, i.e your phone will run Ubuntu instead of Android.

app-launcher

The video above gives an idea as to the UI and operating of this and will be available before February as a patch for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. As soon as this is released I’ll post another thread on this, to give an idea of how it runs and functions with day to day use.

welcome-screen

Many think Ubuntu have taken a step too far with trying to implement this OS onto a mobile platform, and single handedly trying to Unify all of their Operating Software Platforms. They claim to be the first to be able to do this, but many would argue Windows got their first with the unification aspect.

This looks really interesting and the UI looks really fresh and different, I’m intrigued to see how it goes !!

http://www.viddler.com/v/ac8413f3

The Video above is from Engadget and also gives a slightly different, but great look at the OS in action and is well worth a watch.





HTC 8X and 8S , Windows Phone Preview !

14 10 2012

So, Nokia have advertised the life out of the new Lumia range and the Windows software it will be running, but now the guys over at HTC have released some specs and pictures of their new HTC 8 range.

Im not going to spend all of this article talking about Windows Phone as I’ve already shown my excitement for it previously and wrote a few articles that concern it, as well as the Lumia 920 article, each of these can be found here ..

https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/nokia-lumia-920-are-the-boots-of-apple-google-shaking/

https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/270/

These articles will give you a bit of an overview of Windows Phone 8, and what you can expect from it.

The HTC 8X and HTC 8S will both run the Windows OS. Just like the HTC One X & S, you know more or less what to expect from each of these models that each will have its own selling points.

Taking the 8X first of all, it looks great as you can see below ( except the Big Bird yellow colour ). The design looks similar to the Lumia 920 if you ask me, but that again in my opinion isn’t a bad thing. The Lumia is a great looking device and I think the 8X is also equally as good looking. The phone has a 4.3 inch 720p Screen incorporating Gorilla Glass 2.

Thankfully Big Bird yellow isn’t the only colour this device will come in, there are a number of different colour options you can go for which are each shown below.

 

My favourite is the ‘blue’, I think it looks purple but I suppose seeing it up close may change my opinion of it.

The 8X’s Camera is also quite highly touted, this is an 8MP camera but this isn’t its main selling point. The camera is said to capture almost 3x the image area that a normal smartphone camera does. The image below is taken directly from the HTC website and gives an idea to what is meant by this.

Both phones also have Beats Audio, predictable in most HTC phones now considering they more or less have the controlling stake in the company, this is a good addition but not a deal-breaker to most, but might sway some iPhone users over to HTC’s way of thinking!

The 8X runs a Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHz Dual-core processor, so isn’t running a Quad-Core monster like the One X or One X + but is pretty quick regardless.

Now, taking the 8S. This device looks a bit like some of the Sony Ericsson Xperia devices in my opinion, but again not a bad thing as the device does look pretty good.

 

Like the 8X, the 8S comes in a number of different colour options all of which are shown above. I like the black and white one of these the best but almost every one of these devices look good sporting a 4inch screen that is slightly smaller than the 8X.

 

The 8S is the more lower end device, just like the HTC One range. This still has pretty good specs though but may not be enough for the dedicated smart-phone geek. The 8S has a 1Ghz Dual-core processor but has an optimised battery for this processor and therefore takes less time to charge and has a significantly longer battery life due to the smaller processor.

The 5mp camera is also highly regarded but again is obviously a significant step down from the 8X. With the 8S, 7GB of free Sky Drive is offered, this is mentioned quite a lot on their website but to most users of Dropbox or Google Drive, this will be pretty insignificant.

I like the look of both variants massively, they look new and modern and different from the ship load of smartphones we are seeing recently. I could be tempted with an 8X, but it would depend on how it matched up to the Lumia 920 and how the roll out of Windows 8 went. The HTC 8X is said to be going for £400 unlocked and HTC 8S for £225 unlocked when they launch in November, so for me, these are massively more appealing than the £500+ iPhone 5 but like most things, only time will tell if they are as successful as they should be !

 

 





Plague Inc App Review !

13 10 2012

Plague Inc is a great app available on Android and iOS.

Its 69p in ITunes and is strangely free on Android so if your on on Android, your in luck ! Says me after downloading it for my iPad then releasing it was free for my GNex later that day ..

The game is based around Wiping the world out by a range of different means.. bacteria, virus, nano-virus, fungi etc.

I’ve been stuck to it for more or less the past day, and its infuriatingly addictive.

You start of by choosing a country your looking to infect, you then gain DNA points throughout the course of the game by bursting bubbles as they appear, the same way you infect new countries. Using these DNA points you can choose to upgrade your Diseases Transmission, Symptoms or Abilities. Under Transmission you can upgrade things like making the disease airbourne, making it be carried be wildlife including rodents and birds and also through water or blood. Under symptoms, this is where the fun starts, you can choose what effects your disease will have, from a case of the runs or nausea to coma’s and tumours, this seems sick but it is great fun! Under the abilities section we get to give the disease a bacterial coat to help it defend itself in tough environments as well as making it better protected against drugs, the cold, the heat and also other countries efforts to eradicate it !

The above screenshot gives you an idea of what happens mid game, this shows Africa more or less infected and the buttons that pop up for you to infect other countries, as well as the general game UI.

Completing a level can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on how much your into it so it does definately give you great value for money if you do have to shell out the 69p! I’ve only completed a few of the levels and it certainly isn’t getting old anytime soon.

I’ve been reviewing and playing a lot of games recently on all of my devices ! For a while the Free’mium market was putting me off of mobile gaming altogether but with some great recent purchases my faith has been restored and this has definately been one of them .. although the option is there to advance to the next level with paid content, the option doesn’t ruin the game or give you a massive unplayable advantage against anyone else.

If your inner Science geek is itching to come out, get this game. The diseases act very true to life, if you infect a poorer country you have to expect the disease will be best spread by insects, poor hygiene and blood where as in richer countries this wouldnt be the case so you have to adopt different methods for different places.. as well as certain symptoms effecting certain people more like pneumonia and coughing and sneezing. The makers of this game deserve massive praise as this is sure to give me endless more hours playing time !

 





Bad Piggies !! App Review

7 10 2012

Rovio might not be a big name to some .. but when you say Angry Birds, everybody knows what your talking about !

Angry Birds to date, has brought in a horrendous amount of money from the games, the sequels and now the abundance of products with Rovio clearly doing a ‘George Lucas’ .. if a birds face can be on something, then do it !

I’m a massive fan of the games and have enjoyed the original, sequel and space versions with some purists prefering the original experience alone .. I think they are missing out on some great games.

The newest installment of Rovio’s world domination is called ‘Bad Piggies’ and focusses on the green pigs introduced in the first line of games.

Each level of the game involves you being given a number of different items, and making a contraption that will take you to the end of the level, these involve wheels, rockets, propellers and bottles of fizzy juice !
I think this idea is great, they aren’t just making another rip off of Angry Birds.. its a completely different game.

This game is a breath of fresh air as far as im concerned to a franchise that could have potentially started to fall down in the opinions of many with a lot of similar game releases one after the other.

I’ve been playing this game for a few days now and im not even a quarter of the way in, so it does provide a pretty decent challenge to most. Bad Piggies has also sadly caved into the pressure of additional in game content, this means that whilst in the game you can buy some in game credits to which the pig-like Adrian Newey builds you a contraption worthy of beating all others and completing the level. This doesn’t guarantee the level to be completed but does give you a a massive push in the right direction.

I’d highly recommend this game to anybody, its less than £1 on Android and iOS and if you have played any of Rovio’s other games, you will know that for that £1 your getting a lot of hours of addictive fun.








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