The Wrap: News apps deliver, Consumer Reports tests us, “Fatty in the bowl”

Here are some of my favorite news items of the week. What about you?
CNN arrives, New York Times hits 2.0
It was a good week for news junkies. The New York Times unveiled its redesigned Windows Phone app—version 2.0—which includes a bunch o…

Here are some of my favorite news items of the week. What about you?

CNN arrives, New York Times hits 2.0

It was a good week for news junkies. The New York Times unveiled its redesigned Windows Phone app—version 2.0—which includes a bunch of neat design and feature upgrades. You can now pin sections and blogs to Start to see the latest news and save favorite articles to the cloud, where they’re viewable on multiple devices. Neat stuff. Get it here

First released exclusively to Lumia owners, CNN has now made its official app broadly available in Marketplace. The app serves up the latest headlines, video, and breaking news alerts. You can also tune into CNN Radio and send eyewitness pictures and video to CNN’s iReports directly from your phone. Grab the app

The official New York Times goes 2.0 and adds some great new features.The official CNN app, new to Marketplace, is another must have for news junkies.

Consumer Reports tests the Nokia Lumia 900, HTC Titan II

The Consumer Reports lab crew recently put the first Windows Phones compatible with AT&T’s fast 4G network to the test and liked what they saw. Editors praised the Lumia 900 for its “stunning” screen and good video recording ability. “With it’s large, beautiful display and handy controls, the Lumia is a very good choice,” they concluded.

The Titan II, meanwhile, stood out for its outsized specs, including a 4.7-inch screen and 16-megapixel camera (“the highest resolution we’ve seen on a phone”). Both models posted good battery life scores, testers noted. Results appear in the magazine’s July issue.

Create a Windows Phone app in 30 days? Yes you can.

If you’ve contemplated cashing in on the smartphone boom and creating a Windows Phone app, you probably arrived at your keyboard with a million questions: What do I need to know? How do I make money? And most importantly: Where the heck do I start?

Now Microsoft has a new site called 30 To Launch that provides answers to these questions and more. Moreover, the site outlines a plan for creating your dream app in just 30 days, hooking you up with free resources, tips, and expert advice along the way. What are you waiting for? I want your awesome app on my phone.

Seton Hall freshmen get Windows Phones

How times have changed since I was in college. As Information Week reported Tuesday, Seton Hall University’s entire incoming class of 2016 is receiving Nokia Lumia 900 handsets and free service from AT&T for the fall semester. The phones will come with a homegrown SHU app that provides access to campus directories, maps, and news feeds. Another pre-loaded custom social media app lets students connect with classmates, roommates, advisors, and others. “The university picked the Windows Phone devices due to its native integration with Microsoft’s Office suite of software,” Information Week notes.

Inside the minds of Nokia’s top engineers

Nokia Conversations, the company’s official blog, ran two items this week that should appeal to armchair engineers and anybody curious about what it takes to create a cutting-edge smartphone today.

The first introduces readers to Stefan Pannenbeckern, Nokia’s head of industrial design and the man behind the award-winning Lumia 900. Pannenbeckern shares some of things designers at Nokia obsess over—like speaker holes—when building their Windows Phones. “We care about the smallest details and craft each part of the phone so it becomes what you’d expect from a beautiful watch, or a beautifully engineered pair of sunglasses,” he says. Read on

3D wax models of the Nokia Lumia 800

In a separate post this week, writer Karen Bartlett talks with Nokia sound engineer Oscar Lopez, who details some of the company’s secrets for achieving crystal-clear calls—like using two microphones inside each Lumia 900 instead of one.  Find out why. Lopez also notes he spends a lot of time in dead-silent padded rooms.

3D wax models of the Nokia Lumia 800.

And finally…”Fatty in the bowl”

It’s always fun to see what kinds of snapshots people take with their Windows Phones. So the curious writers at Nokia Conversations decided to survey Flickr’s metadata and compile some of their favorite Lumia images. See them here. Some shots are stunning examples of what a smartphone camera, and especially Nokia’s, is capable of these days. Others are just, well….

Fatty in the bowl 

Two Worlds 2 review

Can the disppointment of Two Worlds be transformed into a sequel to challenge an aging Elder Scrolls IV The truth? No. This is another whiffsome mess of role-playing.

One of this adventure’s principle gimmicks is that – rather than have to make the early sacrifice of plunging points into various skills and attributes (and therefore, say, ruling out any chance of being a mage or ranger class without another playthrough) – our hero is able to wield blade, bow or mage’s staff with equal gusto.

 

 

Unfortunately, even on lowly ‘medium’ difficulty, Two Worlds II is hard as nails – and we mean really, really hard. We ended up having to plunge all our points into levelling up our health and skills as it soon became clear that range-based attackers were ineffective against the eclectic selection of zomboids, mummies, rhinoceroses and… ostriches that roam Two Worlds II’s wilderness.

 

Originally posted on CVG: Two Worlds 2 review

 

So while it sounds decent enough being able to kick off a scrap from far away in mage regalia before flicking a hotkey to instantly switch over to sword and armour, ready to mop up the grisly remnants… the whole set-up just doesn’t work.

 

Looks-wise, it’s the usual fantasy RPG story – with some reasonably purdy looking forest/mountainous/desert areas underpinned by shatto character models.

 

 

Rant all you like about Bethesda’s dated engine, but a half-decade-old Oblivion still looks leagues better than this. In terms of atmosphere, it hardly helps that the game’s princely lead is an obscenely gravely-voiced self-parody of a hero, a voice hilariously at odds with one of the campest running animations we’ve ever seen.

 

If you manage to make it through the underwhelming first five hours, things gradually begin to pick up, but then that’s never been our issue with Two Worlds. It always presented a sprawling world, with a selection of (middling) quests and an impressive amount of inventory.

 

The trend continues here; the magic system (handled through a deck of cards) is a nice touch, as is being able to reduce items to their component elements to reinforce or indeed construct other weapons.

 

Like we say, persevere and it’s not a total loss, but the languid opening is a considerable barrier to entry to all but the most determined adventuring sorts. The bugs don’t seem as numerous nowadays, but the AI is still awful (sometimes an enemy follows you to the ends of the earth; sometimes they give up and prance back to their start position even while being pelted with arrows; sometimes they just stand there and take it), while strange events abound (keep your eyes peeled for errant barrels rolling down hills for no apparent reason).

 

Two Worlds 2: Verdict

 

If you’re after a bland slog-o-thon of an adventure that’ll easy soak up fifty hours of your life while never truly thrilling you, we’re guessing you might see something in Two Worlds II. In the final analysis, though, the wealth of content means nothing when it’s so torturously implemented. Any fantasy role-player released continues to be compared to Oblivion, and there’s a reason for that – it’s the standout genre piece by a country mile.

Two Worlds 2 release date: Out now on PC, PS3 Xbox

Two Worlds 2 price: £32-40

Link: CVG
 

Posted by Xbox World 360

Can the disppointment of Two Worlds be transformed into a sequel to challenge an aging Elder Scrolls IV The truth? No. This is another whiffsome mess of role-playing.

One of this adventure’s principle gimmicks is that – rather than have to make the early sacrifice of plunging points into various skills and attributes (and therefore, say, ruling out any chance of being a mage or ranger class without another playthrough) – our hero is able to wield blade, bow or mage’s staff with equal gusto.

 

 

Unfortunately, even on lowly ‘medium’ difficulty, Two Worlds II is hard as nails – and we mean really, really hard. We ended up having to plunge all our points into levelling up our health and skills as it soon became clear that range-based attackers were ineffective against the eclectic selection of zomboids, mummies, rhinoceroses and… ostriches that roam Two Worlds II’s wilderness.

 

Originally posted on CVG: Two Worlds 2 review

 

So while it sounds decent enough being able to kick off a scrap from far away in mage regalia before flicking a hotkey to instantly switch over to sword and armour, ready to mop up the grisly remnants… the whole set-up just doesn’t work.

 

Looks-wise, it’s the usual fantasy RPG story – with some reasonably purdy looking forest/mountainous/desert areas underpinned by shatto character models.

 

 

Rant all you like about Bethesda’s dated engine, but a half-decade-old Oblivion still looks leagues better than this. In terms of atmosphere, it hardly helps that the game’s princely lead is an obscenely gravely-voiced self-parody of a hero, a voice hilariously at odds with one of the campest running animations we’ve ever seen.

 

If you manage to make it through the underwhelming first five hours, things gradually begin to pick up, but then that’s never been our issue with Two Worlds. It always presented a sprawling world, with a selection of (middling) quests and an impressive amount of inventory.

 

The trend continues here; the magic system (handled through a deck of cards) is a nice touch, as is being able to reduce items to their component elements to reinforce or indeed construct other weapons.

 

Like we say, persevere and it’s not a total loss, but the languid opening is a considerable barrier to entry to all but the most determined adventuring sorts. The bugs don’t seem as numerous nowadays, but the AI is still awful (sometimes an enemy follows you to the ends of the earth; sometimes they give up and prance back to their start position even while being pelted with arrows; sometimes they just stand there and take it), while strange events abound (keep your eyes peeled for errant barrels rolling down hills for no apparent reason).

 

Two Worlds 2: Verdict

 

If you’re after a bland slog-o-thon of an adventure that’ll easy soak up fifty hours of your life while never truly thrilling you, we’re guessing you might see something in Two Worlds II. In the final analysis, though, the wealth of content means nothing when it’s so torturously implemented. Any fantasy role-player released continues to be compared to Oblivion, and there’s a reason for that – it’s the standout genre piece by a country mile.

Two Worlds 2 release date: Out now on PC, PS3 Xbox

Two Worlds 2 price: £32-40

Link: CVG
 

Posted by Xbox World 360

Best phones of MWC2010

MWC 2011 is set to get under way in literally hours. With stunning new Android handsets from HTC, the first hands-on with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and a host of Android Honeycomb tablets so hot that we’ll need oven gloves to get near them, it’s t…

MWC 2011 is set to get under way in literally hours. With stunning new Android handsets from HTC, the first hands-on with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and a host of Android Honeycomb tablets so hot that we’ll need oven gloves to get near them, it’s time to take a look back at MWC 2010 and the stunning new phones that launched there.

From the HTC Desire to the Samsung Wave, here’s the best mobile phones of MWC 2010.

 

 

Posted by Mark Mayne

Pico Projectors: The Group Test

Pico technology has continued to shrink projectors, with low-energy LED lamps and tiny DLP or LCOS chipsets making it possible to get an 80-inch image from a device that fits in your pocket. As a result, you can make that killer presentation any time,…

Pico technology has continued to shrink projectors, with low-energy LED lamps and tiny DLP or LCOS chipsets making it possible to get an 80-inch image from a device that fits in your pocket. As a result, you can make that killer presentation any time, any place, anywhere. Just add a visual source and screen…

 

 

Best: Small budgets
Adapt ADPP-99
£100
Love: Lightweight design. Affordable price
Hate: Poor brightness, colour and resolution, with pixellated images. Poor file support via SD
Adapt ADPP-99 review I Link: Adapt

 

 

Best: Portability
Acer C20
£200
Love: Slick styling. Good connectivity. Vivid colours
Hate: Needs a dark room
Acer C20 review I Link: Acer

 

 

Best: Photography
Nikon Coolpix S1100PJ
£300
Love: Easy to shoot and instantly show content. Decent compact camera
Hate: Low brightness and resolution doesn’t do your photos many favours
Nikon Coolpix S1100PJ review I Link: Nikon

 

 

Best: Compactness with quality
Optoma PK201
£230
Love: Strong image quality in low-light. Wide file support thanks to plenty of connectivity options
Hate: Only 28MB onboard storage. No HDMI to mini HDMI adaptor included
Optoma PK201 review I Link: Optoma

 

 

Best: Deeper pockets
Aiptek Pocket Cinema V50
£300
Love: A powerful LED lamp for daylight viewing
Hate: Loud cooling fan. No storage. Expensive
Aiptek Pocket Cinema V50 review I Link: Aiptek

 

 

Best: Overall
Samsung SP-H03
£220
Love: Sizeable images that are detailed enough even in daylight. 1GB storage. Good battery
Hate: Not the most portable device on test
Samsung SP-H03 review I Link: Samsung

 

 

Posted by Jim Hill

HP TouchPad video

The HP TouchPad was announced yesterday along with a re-worked webOS for the HP tablet.
 

The TouchPad touts an iPad-matching 9.7-inch, 1024×768 screen, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.4GHz processor, which means this thing is lightning quick. It needs to be seeing as it has webOS’s full multitasking smarts, with Cards and Stacks, as well as being a ‘true visualisation of your workspace’. Marketing flimflam aside, it really is designed to be the most worker-friendly tablet ever.

 

We managed to get some time with the device. Click play for the HP tablet video.
 

HP TouchPad video

 

Source: T3 best tech videos
 

Here’s a breakdown of what the video has in store:

00.01: HP TouchPad hardware specs

02.05: HP TouchPad email

03.18: HP TouchPad keyboard

05.07: HP TouchPad photo application

06.30: HP TouchPad Kindle app

07.10: HP TouchPad 3D gaming

07.40: HP TouchPad webOS and multitasking

07.57: HP TouchPad text messaging

08.40: HP TouchPad browsing

09.18: HP TouchPad Touch-to-Share

 

Posted by Rhiain Morgan

The HP TouchPad was announced yesterday along with a re-worked webOS for the HP tablet.
 

The TouchPad touts an iPad-matching 9.7-inch, 1024×768 screen, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.4GHz processor, which means this thing is lightning quick. It needs to be seeing as it has webOS’s full multitasking smarts, with Cards and Stacks, as well as being a ‘true visualisation of your workspace’. Marketing flimflam aside, it really is designed to be the most worker-friendly tablet ever.

 

We managed to get some time with the device. Click play for the HP tablet video.
 

HP TouchPad video

 

Source: T3 best tech videos
 

Here’s a breakdown of what the video has in store:

00.01: HP TouchPad hardware specs

02.05: HP TouchPad email

03.18: HP TouchPad keyboard

05.07: HP TouchPad photo application

06.30: HP TouchPad Kindle app

07.10: HP TouchPad 3D gaming

07.40: HP TouchPad webOS and multitasking

07.57: HP TouchPad text messaging

08.40: HP TouchPad browsing

09.18: HP TouchPad Touch-to-Share

 

Posted by Rhiain Morgan