Telltale’s Walking Dead Season 3 trailer

Telltale Games has released an in-engine trailer for the upcoming third season of their The Walking Dead series of games.  The game will be set a few years after Season 2, and Clementine is confirmed to be returning.  Players with saves for the first two seasons will find the decisions they made have an impact on the story in Season 3.  Along with Clementine, players will be taking control of a new character, Javier, who is described on the Telltale blog as “a fellow survivor who has been through hell, and has managed to remain alive as long as Clem.”  Little else was revealed about the game, but it is expected to be released this fall.

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Telltale unveils screens from Batman

Telltale’s Batman game was announced at last year’s The Game Awards in December.  Telltale has arrived prior to the start of this year’s E3 to unveil some screenshots of the upcoming adventure game.  Also revealed is the game’s voice cast which features Troy Baker as The Bat himself.  The list of voices joining Troy Baker in the game’s cast is as follows: Travis Willingham as Harvey Dent, Erin Yvette as Vicki Vale, Enn Reitel as Alfred Pennyworth, Murphy Guyer as Lieutenant James Gordon, Richard McGonagle as Carmine Falcone, and Laura Bailey as Selina Kyle.  Telltale is promising more reveals of characters and cast as the season progresses.

Kevin Bruner, Telltale’s CEO, said the following about their upcoming Batman game:

“We’ve been hard at work at Telltale creating an all-new iteration of the iconic Batman story that puts players in the suit of billionaire Bruce Wayne, just as much as it will put them behind the mask, deciding how to carefully navigate a complex drama, rich with action, crime, corruption, and villainy lurking around every corner of Gotham City. The complex life and fractured psyche of Bruce Wayne has lent itself to becoming a bold evolution of the signature ‘Telltale’ role-playing experience, and we couldn’t be more excited as we prepare to debut the series to players across the world this summer.”

Windows Phone Featured App: Nextgen Reader

NextgenReaderRSS is important for me.  It’s how I stay up-to-date on all my gaming news and gives me the info I need to create new posts for PowerUp.  It’s my morning newspaper with a cup of coffee.  As far as RSS readers go on Windows Phone, Nextgen Reader is easily the best I’ve put on my phone.  The application connects to a Feedly account and gives you access to the feeds that matter on the go.  While I’ll encourage you to support the developer and shell out the $1.99 the full app costs, it does feature an unlimited ad-free trial.

Nextgen Reader

Experiencing Nokia’s Lumia Icon

Q9cI will never shy away from the fact that I’m a Microsoft fanboy.  My home is well equipped with a number of devices that are powered by Microsoft software.  My first smartphone was the Motorola Moto Q9c.  While Windows Mobile may not have been the best of mobile phone operating systems, it supplied me with what I needed in my pocket:  Microsoft Office.  The reason I’ve stayed so dedicated to Microsoft’s mobile platform even in its more bloated iterations was the fact that I had Microsoft Word with me wherever I went.  As a writer, this was more important than any number of apps could ever be – syncing my documents to the cloud back before OneDrive was even SkyDrive (back in those days, your phone synced up with “Microsoft MyPhone” and Office Online was known as “Office Live”).

Thankfully, Microsoft has moved miles beyond what they were doing with Windows Mobile with the launch of the Windows Phone operating system.  Their partnership with Nokia has also helped to reinvent their image in the portable market by giving consumers highly durable, yet sleek mobile phones made by one of the most recognizable names in the cellphone world.  While Windows Phone 7 may not have set them up as an industry leader, it was a necessary step in providing their best mobile operating system yet, 2012’s Windows Phone 8.  Built on the same kernel running Windows 8 PCs, Windows Phone 8 provides a huge promise for what can be done on mobile phones.

Lumia928Verizon users looking to get a Windows Phone have, until relatively recently, been restricted in the hardware available to them.  While there were Windows Phone devices available, it wasn’t until the Nokia Lumia 928 was released that we really saw a powerful phone running Microsoft’s mobile OS.  The small footprint of Windows Phone 8 made the limited hardware less restricting, but users, understandably, wanted something more.  The 928 didn’t disappoint, either – it was a fast phone with a beautiful display, sleek yet durable design, and excellent imaging capabilities.  Nevertheless, technology can always be better.

Enter the Nokia Lumia Icon.  Originally leaked as the Lumia 929, Verizon’s new flagship Windows Phone is a marvelous piece of portable technology.  Side by side, the phones are almost identical in physical size – turn on the display, though, and you’ll see a huge difference.  The Lumia 928 features a 4.5” AMOLED display at 1280 x 768 resolution and a pixel density of 334 ppi.  An impressive screen and it, inarguably looks gorgeous.  Place it next to the Icon, though, and you’ll be ready for an upgrade.  The Lumia Icon screen is a 5” display with a resolution of 1920 x 1020 and a pixel density of 441 ppi.  That’s a noticeable difference.  Throw in an extra column for pinned apps on the start screen, and you’ll barely believe that they managed to put that all in a body the same size as last year’s 928.

IconAd

The display is absolutely gorgeous, too.  Everything I’ve seen on my new screen is vibrant and crisp.  Looking just at messages, the screen’s crispness is a whole new world as even under my closest inspection, it’s difficult to spot those pixelated “jaggies” around curves.  Contrast is also excellent as I’ve noticed a number of apps that have a distinct differentiation between a dark grey and a black that wasn’t nearly as noticeable on my 928.  I don’t doubt that I will at times pull my phone out just to stare at how clear it looks in my hand.

The .5” difference between the Icon and the 928 is immediately noticeable, too, as the display extends closer to the phone’s outer edge reducing the bezel to a thin black border.  Games, videos, and just apps in general look so much better on this larger, higher resolution screen.  That said, I think the thing I like most about my Icon’s larger display is Nokia managed to give me more screen space without bulking up the phone as a whole.

I don’t have large hands, and I don’t have large pockets.  I appreciate the idea behind the “phablet,” but I really don’t like the added bulk or the ridiculousness of sticking an oversized phone to my ear.  I want a portable device to be portable.  The Icon gives me the best of both worlds: I have a powerful phablet with a large, gorgeous display, but it all fits in the palm of my hand – and my pocket!  I, honestly, don’t think I can stress enough how thankful I am to have the option of a powerful phablet without having to handle the bulk of one.

BatteryOn the topic of power, the Lumia Icon is a beast.  I loved my 928 – it was easily the best device I could fit in my pocket up until the moment I left the store with my Icon.  It was fast, the battery was great, the screen was beautiful… but the Icon has shown me just how much better it can get.  Featuring a Snapdragon 800 – a “system on a chip” featuring a 2.2 GHz quad core CPU – along with 2 gigs of RAM, this phone clips right along.  I was surprised to see how much more responsive this phone felt in comparison to the 928 – a phone I felt was substantially fast already.  Opening apps, multitasking, and just simple navigation are hugely improved by how this system outperforms its impressive predecessor.  In spite of the powerful guts of this machine, the Icon boasts an impressive battery life with its 2420 mAh battery.

Another important talking point for the Icon is its 20MP camera.  While Nokia’s own Lumia 1020 is still the king of mobile phone cameras (featuring a 40MP camera), it’s only available through AT&T.  Verizon members looking for an impressive camera on their phone will still be plenty pleased with the Icon’s offering.  The image capture is truly impressive with the camera’s six lenses, and video capture is equally impressive with its crispness and sound quality.  The Icon features 4 microphones and reduces ambient noises to ensure that what you’re trying to record is what you are going to hear.  I haven’t had much opportunity to put the noise cancellation to the test, but the comparison video between the Icon and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is impressive.  I also noticed a huge improvement of zooming while recording videos compared to my 928.  While you will still see that zoom jitter that is seemingly inescapable with cellphone cameras, the Icon is noticeably smoother with zooming during video recording.

Honestly, my only one gripe with the Icon is the lack of support for the Glance screen.  Especially how excited I was to get my notifications on Glance with the Lumia Black update that (finally) hit Verizon.  Glance provides users with a quick look at important information like time and notifications.  Having no support and no words on an update to include Glance support for the Icon is disappointing, but I feel the good outweighs this minor complaint by a large margin.

Nokia never fails to impress with the quality of their devices, and the Icon is no slacker.  It’s an incredibly powerful phablet with a more manageable form factor easily fitting into any hand.  The screen is absolutely gorgeous and coming equipped with Lumia Black gives even more functionality to the Windows Phone OS.  If you’re looking to get a Windows Phone on Verizon, you can’t do better than the Lumia Icon.

Windows Phone Featured App: Lockmix

LockmixThe lock screen.  The first thing you see on your phone when the screen lights up.  Sure would be nice if it had some important information displayed on it.  With Lockmix, you get the benefit of pinning widgets to your lock screen.  While some widgets within the app do have a price attached to them, some of the most useful ones (like weather, battery life, and calendar) are available for free with the initial app download – which is also free.

Lockmix

Windows Phone Featured App: App Folder

AppFolderSomething included with the Lumia Black update available for Lumia devices on AT&T is the App Folder.  Sadly, Lumia Black isn’t available on Verizon phones – however, the App Folder application is.  I’ve been wanting app grouping on my Windows Phone similar to Windows 8’s app grouping since I got it.  That’s unlikely to happen.  However, having folders for my apps allows me to keep all of the apps I use on a daily basis on my Start Screen while reducing clutter.  You can create folders within the app and pin those folders to the Start Screen.  It does have some cons as it’s not as fast as just launching the app from the Start Screen, but the benefit of keeping things in order is certainly worth the minor inconvenience.

Nokia’s App Folder

Windows Phone featured apps

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While it might not be the largest demographic of smartphone owners, Windows Phone does have a solid presence in the world of mobile computing.  That said, it’s not as heavily covered or supported as the iPhone or Android devices.  There’s still plenty available on the Windows Phone marketplace with, but there’s not nearly as much awareness for what’s out there.  Being the proud owner of a Nokia phone, I do what I can to discover what’s out on the marketplace and have made it my purpose to share my findings with you.  Apps that are deemed useful or just generally awesome by me will be featured in an article with a link to its location in the store for easy access.  I would also like to mention that I have an app currently being certified for Windows Phone devices and will totally feature it out of pure bias for myself and my upcoming web series.  That is all.

San Andreas is now available on Windows Phone

San Andreas Logo

Rockstar Games has finally brought Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to Windows Phone 8 devices.  Currently, the game is only supported on the following Nokia Lumia devices: 1520, 1320, 822, 820, 810 and HTC’s 8XT.  Consumer reviews on the game indicate that it is running fine on the Lumia 920 and 928 devices.  The game is available on the Windows Store for $6.99.

While it’s great that Rockstar is supporting Windows Phone, it is a bit disappointing to note that this release of San Andreas doesn’t take advantage of Windows Phone’s Xbox support.  Yep, no Achievement support for GTA on your Windows Phone.

Xbox One has its own SmartGlass app

Gamers looking to get Microsoft’s new game console should note that it will feature its own, updated SmartGlass app. The current app available for using the feature on 360 is not compatible with the Xbox One. The updated app is definitely worth a download for gamers looking to expand their Xbox gaming experience. Dead Rising 3, an Xbox One exclusive launch title, will feature exclusive missions using the SmartGlass feature. The app is available for free download on Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

The Walking Dead: Season 2 trailer is live

The second season of Telltale’s award winning The Walking Dead is coming to consoles, PC, and mobile soon and to drum up some excitement for what is sure to be a heavily emotional experience, they’ve released this brief teaser.  The first season was easily some of the finest adventure gaming I’ve ever experienced with some incredibly heavy moments (the season finale was just brutal), so I’m really looking forward to what this next season has to offer.