So… Dryft looks cool

dryft

When I first entered the world of smart phones, I opted for one with a physical keyboard.  The Moto Q may not have been the best phone ever, but it served me well many and many a year ago and I was happy with my choice.  When it came time to upgrade, I went with something with a little more screen space – which meant sacrificing my physical keyboard for a full touch phone.  I decided on the Samsung Omnia II.  The only thing that really disappointed me with my decision was the resistive touch screen, but it was a worthwhile sacrifice because my phone supported Swype.

I can be a heavy texter at times and I write a lot.  So, it was important for me to be able to maximize my typing capabilities on my phone.  Giving up my physical keyboard, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t spending 30 minutes to write a 3 paragraph Word document.  Swype addressed my concerns by allowing me to type around 50 words per minute.  Not quite what I’m capable of on a PC’s keyboard, but substantially more than I can with a standard touch keyboard or even a phone’s physical keyboard.

That said, typing on tablets is still a bit of an issue.  Using default on-screen keyboards, you’re limited to skilled hunt-n-peck typing techniques which really limit your potential.  Sure, Swype is an option on tablets, but it’s not perfect.  Enter Dryft – the solution to all your tablet typing problems.

Dryft is a non-static keyboard for tablets that orients itself based on your hand placement on the screen.  Yep, Dryft allows you to rest your hands on your tablet screen without causing any inputs.  Instead, it utilizes the device’s accelerometer to recognize when you’re actually inputting something.  Resting your hands will cause the keys to form around your hand placement, but it will only recognize keystrokes when you actually tap on the screen.  It’s really cool and promises up to 80 words a minute typing.  This is a great idea and will no doubt do wonders for portable productivity.  Check it out in the video below.

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Xbox Music now on Android and iOS

Microsoft’s rebranding of Zune services, Xbox Music, has now found its way to competing mobile devices. The service allows music streaming similar to online radio providers, but a subscription to the service enables unlimited music downloads as well as access to full albums. The service is live on iOS and Android now through the App Store and Google Play respectively. A subscription to Xbox Music is $9.99/month or $99.99/year.

Microsoft acquires Nokia’s Devices & Services business

Microsoft made a bold business move with acquiring their mobile phone partner Nokia. The deal is worth 7.2 billion dollars and includes Nokia’s mobile phone division and a 10 year contract for Nokia’s patents. Said contract can be extended indefinitely.

 

With Nokia being the biggest and inarguably best provider of Windows Phone devices, the move makes sense for Microsoft. The software giant is currently making a push to encompass a more rounded structure that includes devices and having a division for mobile phone development, especially one as highly regarded as the Nokia brand, under their banner will be a huge win for Microsoft.

 

There will undoubtedly be some changes under the new ownership, but I have faith that Microsoft will help expand the brand and Windows Phone’s market share. As a Nokia phone owner and a Windows Phone user, I’m happy to have some confirmation that I’ll be able to upgrade to a new Nokia phone running my preferred OS when upgrade time rolls around.

 

How do you feel about the Microsoft acquisition?

Nintendo announces the 2DS

2DS

Gamer’s looking to experience Nintendo’s new handheld library (like the upcoming Pokemon X and Y), but unable (or unwilling) to shell out the cash for a 3DS will be happy to hear that Nintendo is releasing a cheaper alternative.  Dubbed the 2DS, this new hardware will allow gamers to play classic DS and 3DS games at the lower entry fee of $130.  The system doesn’t have the clam shell design of DS systems past and doesn’t have a 3D display, but does offer the capability to play games made for the 3DS without the risk of eyestrain.

It’s no doubt this new entry in the DS family will confuse consumers (and more than likely disappoint eager children this holiday season), but it’s, in my opinion, a needed move by Nintendo to try to expand the 3DS user base.  Having a cheaper system out there will drive up hardware revenue and have a positive impact on attach rate as well as boost the sales of the system’s upcoming killer app – the aforementioned Pokemon games.

The 2DS goes on sale October 12.

“Moon” rights revert back to Renegade Kid next year

Moon

I’m not going to lie, I loved Renegade Kid’s DS outings.  The Dementium games were refreshing and terrifying handheld experiences and Moon demonstrated that Samus isn’t the only character capable of starring in a captivating first-person adventure.  Both properties demonstrate the kind of quality on a Nintendo console uncommon in third-party developers, so I’m all for seeing more.  With Moon being one of the few games out there to successfully replicate the feel of a Metroid Prime game, the idea that there might be more in the future is certainly exciting.

Renegade Kid had a five-year contract with publisher Mastiff for Moon, those five years are up in 2014.  Jools Watsham, the co-founder of Renegade Kid, has hinted that with the property being back in the hands of its creators, that there might just be more in the future.  In a conversation with Polygon, Watsham stated, “We… are very fond of Moon, and have always wanted to continue the story of Major Kane…. We purposely left it open-ended at the end of the first game for this reason…. [W]e absolutely intend to support Moon with future development efforts. We’ll have more news on our plans soon.”

 

Source:  Polygon

Celebrate Independence with The Walking Dead

400days_keyart_with_infoTelltale’s special episode of The Walking Dead, meant to expand the universe and sate gamers’ appetites while we wait for the second season, will be releasing on various platforms this week.  The game will follow five characters in their own stories and will be available for $5.  The North American release schedule is as follows:  July 2nd on PlayStation Network, July 3rd on PC and Mac, and July 5th on Xbox Live.  PSN in Europe gets the episode on July 10 while iOS gamers worldwide will get it on the 11th.

 

Source:  IGN

Age of Empires going mobile

AgeOfEmpiresLogo

Microsoft is licensing its Age of Empires IP to KLab Inc. for development of a mobile entry in the franchise for mobile platforms.  From the sounds of things, the game will be coming to iOS and Android first with a Windows Phone version coming at a later time.  The game is being developed in English first with a global release planned and other languages as well as the Windows Phone version planned for a future release.

There was speculation of other Microsoft franchises planned to be released on mobile platforms, but Microsoft refuted those rumors with the vague “there are no further announcements beyond Age of Empires at this time.”

 

Source:  Polygon

The Walking Dead: 400 Days trailer

Upcoming standalone episode in Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 1 now has a trailer.  It shows off the five characters that will be the focus of 400 Days with the promise that this expansion is “coming soon.”

The Walking Dead: 400 Days coming this summer

400days_keyart_with_infoThe next episode in Telltale’s award winning The Walking Dead game is subtitled 400 Days and will be heading to pretty much everything this summer.  Choices players made in previous episodes will carry over into the new game which will feature five new characters in their very own stories.  Telltale suggested that some of the characters the player meets in 400 Days might show up in Season Two with all the choices they make in the new episode also impacting that storyline.

 

Source:  Joystiq