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.





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.





iPhone 5 , is this what you have been waiting for ? Or a massive letdown?

13 09 2012

So as expected,  Apple have unveiled the new iPhone but not the iPad Mini as was widely expected!

The iPhone 5 has been hyped up to its eyeballs, mostly due to the monstrous success of all of its predecessors so has pretty big boots to fill going head to head with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III & the Nokia Lumia 920.

The new iPhone is bigger and thinner than previous models, and if you have been on the internet in recent weeks, the official design looks almost exactly like the concepts and leaked images that have been doing the rounds of the web. The larger screen has allowed it to have an additional line of apps/folders in comparison with previous models.

If you are looking for completely new groundbreaking innovation, I’d say that the iPhone 5 is slightly underwhelming. Apple have done what they do well, refining and perfecting, but there aren’t many steps outside the box in comparison with perhaps the first iPhone or features like Siri.

The new model boasts a new A6 chip , this is touted as being almost twice as fast as the previous A5 chip and provides better graphics and even better battery life, a major issue for almost all previous iPhone models with 10 hours video playback being claimed on Apples website.

One of the massive talking points of this release was of the new connector. This is different to all previous models and make far more sense being far smaller, more durable and reversible however if you want to use existing peripherals you are going to require an adapter. The adapters are shown below and are available for a price of between $30 and $40 from the good folks at Apple and in some cases this will still render your peripherals and accessories useless.

The new phone also comes with a redesigned set of ear buds , so the iconic iPod earphones have finally changed and this should supposedly stop them from falling out of ears all over the world with a redesigned shape!

The new phone will also come with a nano sim allowing the phone to be thinner than before, and will be capable of handling a 4G network. This will be big news for residents of countries with a capable 4G network, but with this in the early stages in the UK, won’t mean as much till the 4G spectrum is more widely available.

The new OS will vastly improve this as a device, whilst also keeping the rest of the iPhone family in line with updates as far back to the iPhone 4. If you are looking for more information regarding  iOS 6, We have an article previously posted regarding this massively improved OS @ https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/apple-ios-6-preview-nemesis-of-jelly-bean/

When the iPhone 5 is released, it will no doubt sell by the truck load! I think that also this will happen, it will be interesting to see how this device effects its market share. Many Apple fanboys have claimed instant love for the device but many have also turned their backs being entirely underwhelmed by the lack of change between the 4S and the 5. The iPhone 5 seems to be like JellyBean was to Androids Ice Cream Sandwich, this is an improved version giving better performance and functionality but doesn’t have the same amount of new features many were expecting.

Only time will tell of its success!





Nokia Lumia 920 , are the boots of Apple & Google shaking ?

6 09 2012

So with the annoucement of Nokias new Lumia handset, are the bosses at Google and Apple nervous ? or simply having a fly chuckle to themselves in the corner.. Well its not as much the second as many may have first thought !

The Lumia 920 is Nokias newest phone of the Lumia range, this will run the newest version of the Windows operating system and will be looking to build on the reasonable success of the previous Lumia phones. If people weren’t going Apple, Android or Blackberry, the chances are they had a Windows Phone. Many people instantly fell in love with the block like UI and the others will probably have to sooner or later as this looks to be the same UI Windows 8 for your desktop or laptop will use in the near future if the preview versions are anything to go by and with the recent look of the Xbox interface, this will be big shortly.

The looks of the device are very similar to the previous model with the brightly coloured shell and contoured glass making it look and feel pretty sturdy and well built and are comparible in size with Samsung Galaxy SIII, so pretty chunky to say the least !

It will run a Snapdragon S4 Dual-core 1.5 Ghz processor as well meaning its up there with the Galaxy SIII and the HTC One X for speed and certainly isn’t the fat kid running miles behind!

The screen is taunted as being the fastest, brightest and clearest touchscreen there is, and is also thought to be responsive to your fingers even when they are covered up (wearing gloves etc).

The Maps aspect is as impressive as always with Nokia phones and this phone makes further use of Augmented Reality like some previous phones have already tried to do. This means that by turning your maps on you will see what is infront of you on your screen using the camera, the camera will then use the images and relate them to GPS to show you what is infront of you and provide links to websites relating to these places etc.

The PureView camera system has a lot of peoples interest and looks to be one of the better mobile cameras available in todays market. We already have some phones with amazing cameras and ridiculously high levels of mega pixels but this isn’t the whole picture, having 5MP or 15MP will surely make a difference but this isn’t the only spec that has to be addressed when looking for a great photo. The Lumia comes with a 8.7MP camera with a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens with added Optical Image Stabilization technology meaning that the photos should be blur free regardless of how shaky your hand is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lumia is also capable of wireless charging. This means that you don’t have to plug it in to charge but simply place it on a wireless charging portal, this to me doesn’t make much difference if you have to put it in a portal anyway ? But either way is a great piece of technology going forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will this device squeeze Apple and Googles marketshare between 3? I’m doubtful. But the previous Windows Phones did make a lasting impression on the market and their share is growing steadily. I don’t see the sales of iOS and Android phones plumetting but I do see this as an up and coming opponent and its easy to see why. Nokia are desparetly trying to turn their business around so are making high quality, functional phones. Some phones on the market are of a lesser quality but due to them possibly running Android for example, people will choose them anyway. This phone looks great and I cant wait to get my hands on it for a test run !





The Cloud, bye bye hard drive !

24 08 2012

Ok so, for quite some time now there has been a lot of chat about “The Cloud”.

By “The Cloud” we mean Cloud based computing and storage, but this can take many forms, some of which shown below in the image i exquisitely stole from Wikipedia.

Some people practically live on the Cloud, whilst others are sceptical, prefering storage on USB sticks, hard drives etc.

The new Google Chromebook is a great example of Cloud computing. This sits on the border between being a pure cloud client and a laptop. The Chromebook only has a 16GB hard drive. This, still could function as a computer but considering the standard iPhone is 16 GB, it doesnt give much room to play with presuming that some of this internal storage is also used for the Chrome OS data. There are limited offline capabilities but when connected to the internet , you essentially have unlimited storage and capabilities with access to the web store to purchase web apps to use programs such as Word and Excel and taking 8 seconds according to Google to boot up with a pretty instantaneous set up from the box.

There are a lot of Cloud applications floating about now (excuse the pun), with services such as Google Drive and Dropbox aswell as Apple’s iCloud service. I am registered for all of these and each have their own great features. My iPad is backed up to iCloud meaning that if the preverbial hits the fan on my laptop or the iPad, I can simply restore my settings from the cloud. Being an Android geek I also have Titanium Backup linked to my Dropbox and Google Drive account, this means all of my phone backups are stored on the cloud and even if my phone is completely wiped I can restore these apps from thin air!

Cloud applications are incredibly useful and are basically the future of University. The amount of times a student will walk into College or University only to be met with the fear after discovering their USB Stick with all of their work is still at home will be uncountable. Using Dropbox for example, files are uploading to this service at home using a mobile, laptop, iPad etc.. and when you are using any other computer,laptop etc you simply access Dropbox and then have access to your previously uploaded files, meaning files you uploaded at home are on the computer you are using in University with a simple log in to each of the Servers.

Now, getting to the sceptics.
A lot of folk will be sceptical purely due to their lack of control of their files. Of course files can be uploaded, downloaded and deleted at your request, but in the meantime.. What is happening with your files and where abouts are they? The answer to this question is fairly simple.. instead of using your own small DVD Sized Hard-Drive, you are probably using a Corridor filled with massive servers and hard drives in an industrial estate.

Now, although you may think your data may be easily compromised. These establishments are pretty well secured (most of them anyway) and have complete sevurity teams with access documented to the rooms and some of them are even pretty green and environmentally friendly in comparison with these types of centres of old.

Another reason most people seem to be sceptical is the reliability of these sort of services. Facebook rarely goes down, Twitter rarely goes down but it does happen and when it does the whole world knows about it. Although this wouldnt happen much, If it happens on an occasion where your stored data is integral to what you do, you would be pretty much screwed if you don’t have it there and then or when the service resumes crucial files may have became corrupt or deleted.

I sit very uncomfortably on the fence on this matter. I use Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive and probably other services that aren’t at the forefront of my mind. I use these in addition to Solid Storage. I still have many USB sticks, a portable Hard Drive and a laptop with a substantial Hard Drive. These services, as far as I can see compliment each other. Having a plan B is never a bad thing so if you have the time or the resources to implement both I still see this is as the way forward in the near future.





Great Little War Game Review ! iOS Android

16 08 2012

Great Little War Game is a turn-based strategy game available for £0.69 on iOS and $0.99 for Android.

This game was originally higher priced, but with the release of its new sibling Great Big War Game ($2.99  on both platforms) its price has been cut and is the current bargain of the minute with a lot of gamers !

I know a lot of people grudge paying for apps, regardless of the miniscule price but this game really is worth the money. If you can’t justify less than £1 for a game when you possibly spend £30/40 on a console game then I know I can’t sway you anyway..

The game is turn-based strategy so each player takes a turn, finishes his moves, then the opponent completes their move. This is great, especially for a mobile platform when you may not be spending 100% of your concentration on the game, or are playing it in broken up chunks throughout the day, it doesn’t require your undivided attention to be great and has plenty of missions to keep you occupied for some time !

The video above gives a good idea of the gameplay, showing a good proportion of the first mission of the campaign. The game is obviously war based, and is very similar to games such as Advance Wars for the Nintendo DS with each mission having its own required objectives for completion.

The games graphics are really crisp and great for the price as well as providing a smooth flowing game with no Ad’s. For the price, this is a bargain. It is very similar to Great Big War Game and for a third of the price you definately don’t get a third of the game!

 

 

 





Chirp iOS App Review

8 08 2012

Chirp is a free app on the iOS store, specifically for iPhone but can also be downloaded for iPod Touch and iPad with no real effect on the user experience.

Its classed as a ‘social networking’ app by iTunes, but isn’t your usual Twitter or Facebook, although it does include integration with both of these services.

This app uses sound to send data from Phone to Phone. I had this set up with 2 iPad’s in my house and used it to send notes, links, pictures etc. When you open up the interface you can choose what your looking to send, the app then changes this information to a sound wave and plays the ‘chirp’ through the devices speaker, the other device picks this noise up via the microphone and translates it back into what it should be, i.e a picture or a note. For the devices to register and translate the chirp, the app its self must be open, so it will not translate chirps if the app is open in the background.

Of course there are numerous advantages as well as disadvantages with this,

This could be used on a large scale e.g played through the speakers at a local supermarket giving shoppers voucher codes or special offers, or it could be used in a room full of people to quickly send and share photos or links with everyone.

On the downside, playing chirps as a way of sending messages in a public place means anyone with the app open can intercept the message and have a nosey into your conversation or steal your images !

This, I see more of an innovative creative kind of new tech. This shouldn’t have holes poked in it due to its lack of security in public places, it should be praised as somebody thinking outside the box and not making another repetitive ‘freemium’ game. This app may be the first of this sort of technology but could become mainstream with numerous applications outside the app world being possible..








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