Thursday, 26 February 2015

Why I cant wait for the Ubuntu Meizu MX4

Its been a long time since I have been excited about a handset, particularity a handset with an untried and test OS like Ubuntu Phone.

However Ubuntu has a fantastic chance to really make it in the mobile space and that's because it truly is open.

Google have Android of course, and while Android is an open source you cant ignore that Google have started to tighten their grip on the platform. Something Samsung have started with from day one with Tizen and in some ways that's even more of an Trojan horse platform due to its horrendous list of partners. Apple too which force you to use all their guff even if you have no desire to.

Ubuntu on the other hand is as open as they come, no outside influence from a network provider to get you to buy, or because its under pinned by services that record your every move. Its here that I think Ubuntu will ultimately win over business and consumers, it needs the Blackberry effect in some ways to make it a stand out as an honest OS.

Meizu MX4

The spec list of the new Ubuntu phone is a real head turner, much better than the one that popped up in Europe which to be honest, a Moto G with a few whistles on - not something I want. Again come MWC the Meizu MX4 maybe seen as a little under powered but I'm sure it will pack enough punch to make the Ubuntu handset come alive. To be fair it was good as an Android phone anyway and would Ubuntu need all that power anyway ?? Who knows but the handset does have superb battery life, and a decent screen both important areas for me personally. Check out GSMarena's conclusion on the MX4 which was very positive.

So we really need a great push by developers to make this platform great and stand out - I haven't used the OS yet but I cant wait and hope someone will either send me one or I'm first in the queue to buy one. From whats been said about the little BQ handset, the devs really are taking it seriously.






Saturday, 7 February 2015

Brawler's Quick Pick - Dying Light

So I've decided to call this, "quick pick," because I'll just be giving my early opinion on the games I choose before I complete it, because unlike big name game journalists, I have no one paying me to stay up all night completing a game for work. 

Let's get this out the way, I play multiple games at once, and because of this it can take me like a month to complete a game, pending how interesting it is, the length, and how much fun i'm having outside the house. So with that said, let's begin....


Graphics

Graphically Dying light looks great in my opinion. From the look of the landscape to the dismemberment of body parts. When the sun begins to set, is when this games looks best to me, because It's as if the game's atmosphere is shifting into a whole new dimension, especially when you know what comes next. I've experienced nothing bad at all, other than my flashlight not really getting the job done in some areas, but it's nothing I couldn't get over.


Sound

The sounds in this game definitely get the job done. When sprinting you hear the heavy breathing from running out of breath. When attacking you get the sense of a successful impact with every blow, and when your running for your life at night, the sound of those mutant zombies chasing you, gives you every reason to never really want to look over your shoulder.

Story

The story revolves around a agent named Crane, he has a first name, but I didn't care to remember it. At the point I'm at, Crane has been tasked with finding some secret Gov't file, but of coarse that's easier said than done, and Crane soon finds himself stuck doing task for two different factions, and having to deal with a heavy conscious as he makes some very tough decisions as the story progresses. Oh yea, Zombies hinder his every move.

Gameplay

Dying lights gameplay isn't anything new, when it comes to the concept of running around with a character that knows parkour, but where Dying Light differentiates itself, is having that ability while running from zombies. The combat is good, but good luck early on while being attacked by multiple enemies, it can get tough. Being able to run and jump everywhere gives you a real sense of freedom, and leaves you with the sense that you can escape almost anything. Co-op in this game worked really well, and being able to run through the main story with friends is a huge plus, and an advantage to you in the tougher areas of the game.

Game Vibe

As of right now I get a great vibe when playing this game. It's fun, engaging, full of quest, and perfect to play with friends. This game will go down as one of the best zombie games to hit a next gen console, and will be one to top in the coming years, and even if it is topped real soon, I can assure you that it most certainly outshines the Dead island series.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Google, Apple, Sony, Samsung and Blackberry will shape 2015

Lots of rumors and suggestions of take overs, mergers and partners working together to get one over the other guy are nothing new; but this time round the impact of some of these rumors (if true) could be massive. 

Google, Apple, Sony, Samsung, Blackberry and certainly the Android-eco system are all in for massive change. Of which I have no idea if its for the best. So lets take a look at whats on the cards and the impact of each.


Samsung

I enjoy change but sometimes it can back fire on the consumer, something I have been saying allot about with Samsung's every quest to ram Tizen at us in all sorts of interesting ways, by interesting I mean irritating. However that aside, Samsung's been in talks with Blackberry to purchase whats left of the giant and its corporate centric business, which it hopes will take some of the corporate pie away from Apple and give the Korean company some patents in the Enterprise space where Knox failed to get traction. So that would mean Samsung would then have 3 (yes three) OS platforms to worry about, its own Tizen, Android and then Blackberry's own platform. 

That's alot to manage, especially when Samsung hasn't been very good at system updates on just about any hardware they make. Axing jobs would be its second job after working out which platform to stick with, I cant imagine they would want to change out BB quickly in fear of upsetting the clients who still enjoy the platform. Would it be a case of lifting the features and backing them into a Tizen made handset with a Blackberry stamp on it. Genius idea if they can make it work, instant massive user base on a platform which can run Android coded apps right from the Blackberry store or visa verse. 

Maybe the end of Blackberry OS as we know it.


Google & Apple

Here we have a very interesting set of changes, firstly Apple are making more software, apparently a search engine to rival Google. 

Lets face it Apple have not had a good run since Steve Jobs left this earth sometime ago (from a software QA perspective at least). Borked iOS upgrades, piss poor Apple Maps; still not working, and plenty of Mac users up in arms their previously reliable laptops now getting the Microsoft school of coding treatment. Yes, what I am trying to say is, making maps was no fun, and I'm not sure making a search engine from the ground up is an easy thing to do, regardless of throwing money at it. Just ask Bing. 

But, if they can make it work then Google's revenue would be in huge risk, plenty of Apple users would jump all over it as if its the answer to world hunger without really any thought of "why" of "is it any good". I should imagine it will take years of getting right, but the impact on Google's bottom line would be huge. 

So what can Google do in the meantime, I know, open up an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) on T-Mobile or Sprint. A good way to get user data from handsets while being OS heterogeneous. Now that's a smart move, assuming people are willing to jump networks for what appears to be right now, no unique selling point. Unless deeply discounted plans are on their way with a purchase of a Nexus (that can also swap between 2 networks) or whatever the pet project is this week, thus securing Android as the default platform for the US. Hopefully starving off Tizen or anything else coming along. 

Sony

Last year Sony dumped the laptop business and the brand name VAIO. Which I thought was crazy at the time because ending the PC business to save cash is one thing, selling a strong brand name is completely another. 

Whats in the box ?
VAIO by all accounts will be reincarnated into a cell phone brand which would carry cheers from the brands fans, especially from South America where VAIO still has an incredible brand image (for the good). 

Now there was nothing wrong with VAIO Laptops & computers, far from it, Sony just couldn't make any money from them after selling off its semi-conductor business. The brand name was strong, something Sony should have realized before sticking with the "Xperia" name on handsets. 

Anyway Sony's loss is an investment companies gain, and when VAIO handsets come to market (if they do) then the one company that will suffer is Sony (along with a few of the smaller Android OEMs). 



Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Best Twitter Apps on Google Play




There are a tonne of half decent Twitter Apps on Google Play but while most kinda do a "job" many fall over at the first hurdle of providing a great user experience, so which ones should you give your time to (and indeed Money).

I'm not much of a fan of free apps, as you would either have to give up half of your screen estate to some bullshit advert or handover your digital DNA to a company who will sell your soul on your behalf, yes I'm looking at you Facebook. 

To keep it simple I have just given my thumbs up to just two of the best paid Twitter apps out there, otherwise this could have been the longest post in history of this blog had I mentioned them all in some way.


Plume

Plume has been around forever, and has some great features like live streaming, multiple account support and the ability to highlight tweets from certain people. There is a snazzy tablet version also which really does give you multiple line view with all your tweets, mentions, DMs, and other configurations which you can dick around with to your hearts content. 

You can select a tweet and then swipe the bar under the tweet to choose a ReTweet, Quote, Copy and a host of other options without clogging up your display like some kind of TouchWiz.

Ignore the free version and go straight to the 'Premium' version to avoid those pesky adverts. There is a new material design on its way that was in beta, its received a bit of a mixed bag of support and hate recently so you might want to look elsewhere until that settles, personally I think its excellent. 



$4.99 on Google Play


Fenix

Bit of a dark horse this one, and certainly left of field, its close as you can get to the official app without losing the features that Plume offers. There is also a superb tablet specific app here, so it does do a great job on any screen size, we tested on 10.1in, and let me tell you it looked great. The material design is in full effect here, and I must give full props to the design team as they nailed it. 

What I love about Fenix is that is displays pictures in a very large format both in the stream and when opened / viewed. Its much better than say the official Twitter app and in Plume in that respect. 

On first glance you would think Fenix is actually under featured but things like Quote tweet are hidden away in the ReTweet icon, but one cool item that's missing from Plume, Tweet Cast and others is the option to translate right from the icon pull down on the right of any tweet, once selected Google Translate will fire up and as you how you want the tweet translated; I like.

I choose the dark theme, although you might enjoy the lighter one. 

Fenix really is the best out there in my opinion, check it out. 

$4.99 on Google Play