Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Windows Phone apps!

I have switched my phone to Nokia Lumia 800, a Windows Phone 7.5 device. The OS has a very different approach to apps, basically making most apps cost something, but also offering free previews to them.

I have been trying out some of the most common apps like Facebook and Foursquare, and have to say they are smooth and nice looking. Facebook is very functional, where as Foursquare UI is visually appealing, but slightly difficult when you are at a place where there is lots of POI's on small area. Also, the Foursquare app doesn't offer very easily info about my Foursquare friends, compared to versions on Symbian, Meego and iOS i have tried.

Nokia has also some apps they have made themselves, and I have to say those are very useful and compliment the phone well. Nokia Maps is of course great, but so is Nokia TV, Nokia Music and Nokia Transportation, to name a few. To my understanding these apps are only for Nokia devices and not for other Windows Phones.

Nokia has announced that they will be building new devices for Windows Phone 8, and at least I am excited to get my hands on the Lumia 920 and it's photo abilities. I love taking photos, and the phone is a perfect pocket camera for me.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Voddler movies and TV-shows on mobile

Voddler is an online movie service that let's you access a large number of both free and paid movie & TV content through your mobile phone or iPad. The idea of the app is really good, and I had to download it to both my Nokia N8 as well as iPad2, even before testing it. For Nokia I got it for free as there was a launch promo, but for iPad I had to pay almost 6€ for it.

Voddler usability

The app is built very nicely and the UI works well on both platforms I have tested. Some of the menu structures are so new that I did not first understand how to use them on N8, but after I got the idea, the UX felt very natural.

Content on Voddler

Searching for content yielded a lot of results, both rental and free. Most of the content was un known to me, so I would categorize most of it not to be mainstream. On the rentals side there is more familiar titles, such as Pirates of the Caribean, Fast and the Furious and so on.

Watching movies on Voddler

When starting to look at the movies, the free ones first start with ads. This is expected and for me ok. But at this point already the experience starts going horribly wrong.

When the app starts downloading content, it becomes awfully slow. Even when trying to login to my account. Watching movies is so slow, that just getting past one ad took me 15 minutes. I tried this several times on Nokia N8 and I have yet not been able to get a movie to play in a way that would make it comfortable to watch, no matter if on WLAN or mobile data. On iPad I have tried this ones, with same results. The few seconds of moving picture I have been able to view, at least still indicate that the resolution is good enough for the experience to be ok.

Conclusion

The slowness of the watching is a major problem for the use of the app, and at this point I am waiting for Voddler to get a new version of the app and maybe more bandwidth, but currently it is unusable. Idea is good enough for travel especially, that I will keep on testing this in the future too, and hope that I get it to work one day.

At this point Voddler is only available in some countries, so if you can't access it, it might be due to the location you are in.

Download and test yourself. Maybe it works better for you:
For Nokia devices: http://store.ovi.com/content/187345
For iPad: http://itunes.apple.com/fi/app/voddler/id409806444?mt=8

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good old Snake Game for Nokia N8

I remember when I first played the Snake game on my Nokia phone about 10 years ago. At that time it was one of the more fun elements on the phone and made it quite advanced. I even played it against my friend who had a similar phone with an IR connection.

Since then time has passed and the games on mobile have changed quite a lot. I had pretty much forgotten this game. But as I work in Digital Marketing and one of our late projects has been to build a Social Snake game for Nokia facebook pages I tested couple of version of the game again.


Snake - Classic

This version of the game mimics the first Nokia versions of the game. It is a true retro game. The game has a selection of levels (speeds the snake moves) you can play on, and a small area where you can collect the food. I am not completely comfortable with the touch mechanism when directing the snake, but never the less that seems to work fine. I guess I am just slow to learn as for this game the number pad seems like the correct controlling environment.
Also, the game grows boring after a while. I do need some nicer graphics and a feeling like I am playing something new. This game hasn't changed at all in a decade. Still, if you are a Retro game enthusiast, this one is really close to the original.

Download Snake Classic at: http://store.ovi.com/content/42261

Snake Revolution - Demo version

I decided to also test a version that is a bit more modern. This game has a free demo version, but the full version costs couple of Euros.
This game has a bit more updated UI, but it still seems like a game designed for a low end devices. The graphics are a bit poor for the Nokia N8. The game has couple of differnet modes though, a "Snake World" version and a "Classic" version. Due to the limitations in the Demo version, Id didn't get far on the Snake World version. Still, the idea came clear, and the purpose on that is to advance further on a map by completing Snake game challenges on different game levels.
This version could entertain me probably couple of hours, but again this time the cost becomes an issue. I didn't like the game enought that I would be willing to pay for it. I think htat you need to be a Snake game enthusiast to want to load this.


Download Snake Revolution Demo and test yourself: http://store.ovi.com/content/75607

Snake game on Facebook

Well, as our company did create this Snake Game for Facebook, I think that we maybe did a bit better job than what the mobile can even offer these 2 tested versions. What the net offers is a place to channge your friends and compete in points on who makes the high scores. That smalls social aspect is enough for me to raise my competitive spirits and be willing to play this web-version, rather than the mobile apps. And yes, I might be biased!

Try it yourself and create your own levels!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Angry birds review for iPad and Nokia N8

Everyone knows (or should know) Angry birds already, but I thought to give you my take on the game.

When I first tested Angry Birds the "original" version sometime ago on my Nokia N8, I thought it was the best game for mobile devices. Before that I had tried out several other games on my N8 and most of the time they all had problems with usability, graphics or just not being properly designed for Mobile screens. Angry Birds was the first game that looked clean and worked smoothly.


The game logic on Angry birds is simple. Just sling those birds at the objects on the ground so that you can hit the damn pigs with something. After a short period though, you can start understanding the different layers of the game, like points received from braking different objects, different abilities of different bird types, effect of different shooting angles in the total score etc. And those details are the fun part of the game.

Some of the details or tips that people should know about the game are that different birds act differently with different obstacles. For instance, the blue bird that turns into 3 birds when tapped while flying is really good at braking ice objects. Then the red (small) bird is best at braking wood objects and the rock objects can only really be broken with the exploding Black birds. 

Versions of Angry Bird

The different versions of the Angry birds do not bring that much life to the concept in my opinion. In fact the latest Angry Birds Rio - version lacks the pigs, which really make the concept complete. On the other hand, I do understand, that the monkeys do add a new layer of game play. Also, the Seasons version just adds more levels, which does add more game time, but other than that is just a repeat of the Original.

Game play on iPad vs. Nokia N8

Playing the game on iPad is much smoother and clear than on the small Nokia N8 screen. On the other hand, the iPad is too heavy to be carried around all over the place so the pocket version (on N8) is better while traveling. In general though these versions don't have much difference in game play, so I can safely say, that this game is thumbs up on both devices.

Download for iPad:

Download for Nokia N8: