Apps & Games

By June 23, 2016 Read More →

Zappar brings AR and VR creation to the masses with ZapWorks

wavingZappar, a global leader in augmented reality (AR), has launched a comprehensive set of augmented reality and virtual reality creation tools called ZapWorks at Augmented World Expo. The suite is designed to let digital creatives author the best, snackable and immersive AR/VR content experiences in the market.

ZapWorks has been in development for more than five years, and was originally built to meet Zappar’s own need for powerful AR creation tools, as the company created world-leading AR campaigns for partners like Rovio/Angry Birds, Coca-Cola, PEZ and Warner Bros.

“Worldwide, we’ve made thousands of bite-sized AR experiences for hundreds of brands over the past five years, using our proprietary authoring tools to help partners engage with their audience on mobile and sell more product,” said Caspar Thykier, co-founder and CEO of Zappar. “Instead of keeping the tools to ourselves, and in line with our mission to truly democratize AR for the first time, we’re setting the full suite loose through ZapWorks—re-imagining what’s possible on the mobile canvas as we begin to not only look at our phone screens, but see through them. We’re delighted to announce that with ZapWorks, those experiences can now extend beyond AR to creating short form VR content as well. This is a game-changer.”

Key ZapWorks features include:

  • Fully vertically integrated tools provide a single user interface for creating and distributing content and gathering analytics
  • Tiered, per-seat subscription with unlimited free zapcodes
    • Basic seat: £30 per month, allows users to manage codes and use the Widgets and Designer tools
    • Pro seat: £90 per month, access to the entire suite, including ZapWorks Studio, which allows users to build more advanced AR and VR experiences
  • Unparalleled feature set for creating short-form content, including AR, VR, 3D model support, JavaScript actions, and single-click previewing and publishing
  • Uniquely, gives the ability to publish VR content over the air without creating a stand-alone app and enduring the hassle of app store submission processes

In addition to augmented reality creation, ZapWorks supports the creation of virtual reality experiences for devices such as Google Cardboard, aligning with the company’s and experts’ belief that the two technologies will increasingly be presented together.

“ZapWorks was used to create the fantastic AR experiences on our dispensers tied to the Angry Birds Action! game,” said Gabriele Hofinger, Head of Marketing, PEZ International. “We pride ourselves on being the pioneer of interactive candy, so it’s a natural next step to move into AR and add another layer of interactivity for our customers. What Zappar is doing with these tools will really bring this tech to bear in the marketplace.”

The three modules offered in ZapWorks are:

  • Widgets: Quick and simple way to create basic AR content (i.e., images, videos, contacts, etc.)
  • Designer: Allows you to create more customized, interactive AR content, including  experiences with advanced image tracking
  • Studio:  A fully scriptable, 3D toolkit for advanced users for AR and VR

Zappar co-founder and CTO Connell Gauld will be giving a talk at AWE on today at 7:30pm BST (2:30pm PDT) to unveil ZapWorks and discuss its potential to transform AR/VR creation.

For more information, visit ZapWorks [and try it out for free!] at https://zap.works

By June 3, 2016 Read More →

Zappar brings AR and VR creation to the masses with ZapWorks

stdZappar, a global leader in augmented reality (AR), has launched a comprehensive set of augmented reality and virtual reality creation tools called ZapWorks at Augmented World Expo. The suite is designed to let digital creatives author the best, snackable and immersive AR/VR content experiences in the market.

ZapWorks has been in development for more than five years, and was originally built to meet Zappar’s own need for powerful AR creation tools, as the company created world-leading AR campaigns for partners like Rovio/Angry Birds, Coca-ColaPEZ and Warner Bros.

“Worldwide, we’ve made thousands of bite-sized AR experiences for hundreds of brands over the past five years, using our proprietary authoring tools to help partners engage with their audience on mobile and sell more product,” said Caspar Thykier, co-founder and CEO of Zappar. “Instead of keeping the tools to ourselves, and in line with our mission to truly democratize AR for the first time, we’re setting the full suite loose through ZapWorks—re-imagining what’s possible on the mobile canvas as we begin to not only look at our phone screens, but see through them. We’re delighted to announce that with ZapWorks, those experiences can now extend beyond AR to creating short form VR content as well. This is a game-changer.”

smart

Key ZapWorks features include:

  • Fully vertically integrated tools provide a single user interface for creating and distributing content and gathering analytics
  • Tiered, per-seat subscription with unlimited free zapcodes
    • Basic seat: £30 per month, allows users to manage codes and use the Widgets and Designer tools
    • Pro seat: £90 per month, access to the entire suite, including ZapWorks Studio, which allows users to build more advanced AR and VR experiences
  • Unparalleled feature set for creating short-form content, including AR, VR, 3D model support, JavaScript actions, and single-click previewing and publishing
  • Uniquely, gives the ability to publish VR content over the air without creating a stand-alone app and enduring the hassle of app store submission processes

In addition to augmented reality creation, ZapWorks supports the creation of virtual reality experiences for devices such as Google Cardboard, aligning with the company’s and experts’ belief that the two technologies will increasingly be presented together.

“ZapWorks was used to create the fantastic AR experiences on our dispensers tied to the Angry Birds Action! game,” said Gabriele Hofinger, Head of Marketing, PEZ International. “We pride ourselves on being the pioneer of interactive candy, so it’s a natural next step to move into AR and add another layer of interactivity for our customers. What Zappar is doing with these tools will really bring this tech to bear in the marketplace.”

The three modules offered in ZapWorks are:

  • Widgets: Quick and simple way to create basic AR content (i.e., images, videos, contacts, etc.)
  • Designer: Allows you to create more customized, interactive AR content, including  experiences with advanced image tracking
  • Studio:  A fully scriptable, 3D toolkit for advanced users for AR and VR

Zappar co-founder and CTO Connell Gauld will be giving a talk at AWE on today at 7:30pm BST (2:30pm PDT) to unveil ZapWorks and discuss its potential to transform AR/VR creation.

 

For more information, visit ZapWorks [and try it out for free!] at https://zap.works

By May 20, 2016 Read More →

Google Play Store to hit Chomebooks

F101_Pixel2_Silver_PlayStoreIt’s not news, more than a rumour and far from a surprise however Google has now made an official announcement about the arrival of the Play Store to the Chromebook.

So, we’re bringing Google Play (the most popular app store in the world) to Chromebooks. This means you’ll be able to download and use Android apps, so you can make a Skype call, work with Office files and be productive offline — or take a break with games like Minecraft, Hearthstone or Clash of Clans. The same apps that run on phones and tablets can now run on Chromebooks without compromising their speed, simplicity or security. 

With day two of the 2016 Google I/O developer’s conference in full swing, you would think there might be a little info dribbling out however I guess this is not Android new, but Chrome news so it can take the back burner for now. I would expect something to be mentioned before the conference if over.

There is a little info to be gleaned from the announcement. The update will arrive in the developer channel with M53  and will initially be supported by the ASUS Chromebook Flip, the Acer Chromebook R 11 and the latest Chromebook PixelFrom the sounds of it there might be some incompatibilities on the cards for certain Chomebooks as Google state they are working with partners to launch some great new devices specially designed for Play. Worry not as you can check, Google is keeping an updated list of supported devices here.

With this manoeuvre the Chromebook changes greatly in the eyes of the consumer. The Play Store leads to games, something that the Chromebook has been short of, helping it’s position as a tool for business and education. On the other hand, it brings it a lot closer to the Windows platform for app content. One thing is for sure, there will be a lot of people looking at how to swap out their 16gb drives for something larger.

Posted in: Apps & Games, Laptops, News
By May 17, 2016 Read More →

Google launches Google Spaces

Google-Spaces-group-messaging-2Google Spaces has launched. This is a peculiar new social/sharing/chatting application for both Android and Chrome. Not quite the messaging application many believe Spaces is a social interface, closer to Google+’s Communities than Groupme or Telegram.

Spaces is an app for small group sharing. Users can create a space in one tap, and invite people in any way that you like with a quick link. With Google Search, Chrome, YouTube and Google Photos built in, you can find and share articles, videos and photos from within the app. And when you need to get back to something that you’ve recently seen in one of your spaces, use the search feature to find it quickly.

From study groups to house hunting to weekend trips and more, Spaces helps you get a group together quickly to share things about any topic.

For example, here is a Space created earlier for any and all to chat about our Tech Addicts UK Podcast

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By May 17, 2016 Read More →

Superbook gives your phone that Laptop potential

12671689-d4ea-42e5-b701-17ce1579542aWhilst Microsoft are blowing trumpets out there for Continuum there is no real alternative currently available for Android. Certainly there is Air Droid however it’s just to much of a different approach to be considered an alternative. Whilst Chrome itself has a nice Remote Desktop client that is very reliable and both of these options require an internet connection. However, they are a world apart from Continuum. So there is a gap in the market.

That’s were the brand new Andromium OS steps in. With a clean, sleek design to match the aesthetics of a “Superbook.” The Superbook is a laptop shell, purposefully engineered to give any Android smartphone the capabilities of a complete, internet-connected laptop. Inside the hardware is the technology to translate video data over USB, meaning it’s universally compatible with nearly any Android smartphone. Just download the Andromium app from the Play store, connect the smartphone to a Superbook, and that’s it, your phone is now a laptop.

We won’t see this on the market right away, The Superbook and Andromium is on scheduled to launch on @Kickstarter on June 15th! However, it  sounds like the sort of thing that could work. There have been several attempts over the years to create a dumb terminal that translates your phone into a laptop operating system however none have been as conceptually realise as the Superbook. The names Redfly and Palm Foleo spring to mind, ideas that might have been ahead of the time. The Superbook may just arrive with time enough to make an impression before Google does something about the position of Chrome and Android.

By April 19, 2016 Read More →

Gameloft becoming freemium

Gameloft-Gets-With-AppNexus-What-Are-They-Up-ToIt would seem that publishers are really turning to the free-to-play revenue model as the only proliferate approach across the mobile space. However French developer, Gameloft, who was one of the last big brands to use the premium priced model without in-app-purchases has now announced the switch to the more lucrative free-to-play model. Up until now Gameloft has offered a library of titles that were sold as complete games for one price, a revenue model most familiar to those who play games on dedicated gaming devices throughout the last 40 years, and a model that many veteran gamers still insist on using.

Gameloft’s premium franchises such as N.O.V.A., Modern Combat, and Asphalt have in part come to define hardcore gaming on mobile, and helped set the precedent for mobile games being sold for more than 79p. Despite having cultivated both an image, and an audience that revolved around premium games, Gameloft has apparently shifted its development resources to focus on freemium titles.

When Twitter user @steventhiele2 inquired about the forthcoming release of Modern Combat Versus, fellow Gameloft enthusiast, @TonySshy, asked about the pricing for the game. Gameloft’s German branch replied to the line of questioning by stating that, “[…] we are not producing premium titles anymore. All our future games will be F2P“.

2016-04-19

What this means for Gameloft games previously released as paid titles has yet to be determined, but we will be seeking a comment from Gameloft’s representatives in order to obtain greater clarity about which games, and which regions, will be impacted by this turn-of-events.

For those that follow Gameloft closely, this seemingly sudden focus on freemium content may not be all that surprising. Later entries in the Asphalt series launched as premium titles but eventually switched  to the free-to-play model. More recently, titles such as Rivals, and Spider-Man Unlimited, have launched as free-to-play content. As such, Gameloft seems to have been testing the free-to-play waters for some time.

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By April 10, 2016 Read More →

Setting up a Home Security Camera on a budget Part 1: Perch

IMG_20160409_121743Installing an IP camera on your house is one of the cheapest and best solutions to using an old smartphone and keeping track of your house when home and when not home. There are many articles on net about how simple it is to convert an old phone into a  security camera and truth is this probably the best utilisation of an older phone, and it certainly beats the expensive of a Foscam set-up any day of the week. Of course this kind of IP camera set-up is not going to be 100% reliable and will suffer moments of downtime, set-up annoyances and tricky methods to store the data.

I have been using a set-up with Android phones, IP Webcam Pro application alongside the tinyCam Monitor PRO application to view, there are free versions with Ads available too. Including a couple of cheap phone stands/cradles from Amazon or Ebay this set-up costs roughly £10 not including the price of the phones. Primarily I have been using some budget phones I had lying around taking up space from ZTE and Acer running Android 4.3 Jellybean.  Using all phone holders with suction cups for cars to attached the devices to windows is a little spark of ingenuity I was quite proud with. Running power to the phone’s made for some creative decisions rather than having walls lined with USB cables and extension cables running across the floor. There is no one solution for all here.

Once installed an IP camera becomes easily one of the most useful tools in day-to-day life. The obvious one is monitoring your house when you were not there on holiday perhaps or just at work. Other applications allow you to view who is calling at the front door, keep an eye on a car in the front garden, watch animals or your children play in the garden. Many many more other applications will be found and more applications will present themselves once the person gets to grips with the setup.

Right now, I would recommend one of two options.

The first would be the best way to dip your toe in the water. Download an application called Perch to your phone. Perch might be in Beta however it is a great start. It is also free for the time being however I would imagine that there will be a paid model once the application comes out of Beta.

download

 

 

 

Perch gives you a simple stream from the camera on a phone and presents it on their website or through the app on another device for the user to view. There isn’t too much in the way of options and whilst this could be seen as a good thing for the newbie a seasoned vet of IP cameras may find Perch annoyingly limited.

As a beta Perch is rather well laid out, the stream is quite reliable and footage is quite good. There are some basic features like motion detection with notifications, the ability to record sound from the camera and recording at scheduled times. There isn’t much more than that and the features have not been expanded in the year since I last used their service. They have, however, become more reliable and solid. So work is being done to stabilise the platform before launch. One might suggest that it is pretty much rock solid right now.

Perch

Unfortunately there is no way to export the videos from Perch and this is a really off putting for the user. You can check your timeline to see something that happened and this goes back seven days. If a crime has been committed then you might have to go to Perch. Currently there is no information on their website about export the videos.

One problem I have encountered is the motion detection is incredibly sensitive. Some days it looks like the camera has been recording non stop for over 6 hours. Whilst I cannot be certain I believe a shadow of a bush moving on the area I am watching is triggering the record function. This makes Perch more of an indoor camera than outdoor for most.

2016-03-11
However, what if you really need more in the way of features and are prepared to make the effort to set up a more robust system? Next week we will be taking a look at a home made camera setup that does not only secure your home, but doesn’t open things up to anyone to potentially hack very easily.

By October 23, 2015 Read More →

Boomerang loops little videos for Instragram

downloadContinuing to evolve, Instagram has unleashed a new app that makes for fun and creative way to make short videos to share with your friends and family. Boomerang take 10 quick images and stitches them together to make a 1-second looping clip.

Like most video interaction in photo apps this is very simple to use, there’s just one button. Press it when you’re ready to record, and it does the rest. When you share the clip to Facebook or Instagram it’ll be on an infinite loop for anyone who wants to watch it.

For example:

 

Who’s not looking at you kid? #boomerang

A video posted by Gareth Myles (@garethmyles) on

 

Give it a quick download over at Google Play!

Posted in: Apps & Games, Cameras, News
By September 25, 2015 Read More →

Fallout Shelter Game Review

vlcsnap-error240Fallout Shelter is the first foray onto Mobile gaming for the Fallout franchise. Rather than stepping back to the roots and reinvisioning one of the first few games ala Baldurs Gate we are given a frequently visited approach that is not without it’s merits.

Gareth takes a look at the latest offering in the series and decides if it is a fun romp in the Wasteland or a waste of time at the end of the world.

By September 15, 2015 Read More →

Videoconferencing – Where do you Want to Talk?

shutterstock_151167128The concept of video conferencing was once the sole domain of science fiction as you are no doubt aware, but things have changed considerably since the days of old, and with good reason. Technology has marched forward at a considerable pace, and with smart devices at everyone’s disposal, it should be no surprise that companies like the BlueJeans are taking clear advantage of it. There are a few things that you must understand about the new video conferencing software, particularly how it will help you to connect to your employees or co-workers better.

We’ve Come this Far

How far have we come with video conferencing exactly? What changes have been made? Do you remember software like Netmeeting? Do you remember how difficult it could be to arrange a meeting with that software? Yes it was lightweight and it did come pre-installed on every machine from Windows 98 all the way to Windows XP, but it did have its share of limitations, for example the ability to run solely on Windows which created compatibility issues. For many years companies have dreamed of having the ability to connect anywhere regardless of the device or operating system. Just imagine being able to video conference through a web browser back in the nineties – that would definitely take the cake. These days, believe it or not, web browsers are very much able to perform tasks such as chat, video conferencing, file transfers, etc. The changes in web browsers have given them so much more capability than the HTML display application they used to be. Now, a web browser can be your portal to the world, at least with the right plugins.

What Device do you Want?

The most important question right now, is where do you want to chat from? Where do you want your employees to chat from? Holding a conference has never been easier, and the available software supports a number of different platforms. Whether you want to bring a smartphone to the table, or perhaps want to chat from your computer, all you need to do is click a button. The video conferencing software today even supports Google Hangouts, meaning you never have to install any software – it just works.

Imagine a scenario where you have several employees out of the office and you need to hold an emergency meeting. In the old days you would need to coral everyone into one place, which can be quite inconvenient, and it can be bad for business. There are several commodities in business that cannot be measured tangibly but are critical nonetheless:

  • Money
  • Employees
  • Time

Notice how we have bolded the last point: time. When they say that time is money, they aren’t kidding. Without time you would be unable to complete even the most basic of tasks, and the more time you waste, the less you will be able to accomplish. The more time your employees spend in the office having meetings, the less time they will be spending with clients, and that’s really bad for business. That being said, now would be a great time to start looking into a better video conferencing software. Remember, videoconferencing is not necessarily JUST for contacting foreign investors or customers in other states, though it is most certainly useful for that. Conferencing software can be focused on employees as well as outside contacts, and the newest software can save more time than you realize.

So long as everyone in your office has a compatible device and a good connection, they will be able to participate in your meetings, and soon enough, you will have a much higher level of productivity. It might seem like a small change, but a good software for online conferencing like Blue Jeans UK can literally change the way you do business, and that’s definitely worth looking into.

Go to the Cloud

Author Stream recently published a paper outlining some of the benefits of cloud computing, and particularly, moving video services to the cloud. Rather than relying on software that is installed locally, make sure that you find a company who can provide you with a cloud solution.

The cloud is an amazing innovation, and a great way to save money according to Tech Target, though not new by any means. In terms of video conferencing, it means that you will not have to deal with the administration of the software, and it means that you will not have to worry about compatibility issues. A piece of software served from another location will be compatible with all browsers and all operating systems across the board. Going to the cloud is one of the best things that you could possibly do for your company. Start looking into the benefits of taking your video to the cloud and it won’t be long before you’re saving both time and money.