Archive for the ‘Smartphone’ Category

Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles should look somewhat familiar to you. It was released in 2008 on the Nintendo DS and in 2009 for iPhone. And now Gameloft has ported the adventure to Android.

If you were a fan of Ubisoft’s ambitious Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 production, you know the set-up. An assassin named Altair is scouring the Holy Land for the means to bring down the Templar knights, an organization with sinister designs on the world in this narrative. The iPhone game serves as a prequel to the console game. Altair is in search of a specific artifact called “The Chalice,” which possibly has the power to bring the ugly Crusades to an early, merciful end. But seeking this relic raises more questions than it answers, setting up the console game, which I consider to have one of the best fictions in videogames in quite some time despite its uneven game mechanics.

As Altair, you must use your stealth abilities to seek the Chalice. The rooftops, awning, and beams that stretch across the grand cities of the medieval Holy Land are your playground. Careful movement above the sandy streets will keep you out of harm’s way for the most part, although occasionally you must descend to the avenues below and draw blood. Altair has a sword that can be upgraded, but there are other devices and items he uses in his quest, such as a grappling hook and bombs. Altair’s signature weapon, though, is his hidden dagger that is used to silently execute enemies and not raise the alarm of dozens of guards and Templar reinforcements.

As you explore the Holy Land, you will pick up hundreds of blue orbs that can be traded in for upgrades, such as expanding Altair’s health bar or the aforementioned sword. Personally, I tended to lean on sword upgrades because I wanted to make sure I could overpower enemies in any combat situation. I would accidentally blow a stealth situation by walking through a crowd too fast or stumble off a rooftop and land on the street below, just within striking distance of a Templar.

Naturally, this raises the issue of control. I think the control stick here is a little looser which does prevent absolute precision and will cause occasional mishaps, but for the most part, I really don’t have any major problems with how the game handles. The combat buttons work great, although the shield button placement over by the control stick is awkward. While there are some automated actions, like scrambling up a wall, I do wish that some small jumps were also self-propelled. The jump button works without a problem, but an auto-jump would help casual gamers by taking one less button out of the mix.

One feature in Assassin’s Creed I do not care for, though, are the minigames. I think they are pointless holdovers from the DS version. They felt tacked-on back then, like Gameloft was trying to integrate the DS touchscreen some way… any way. They don’t fare much better here. They function, but add nothing to the overall game. They feel gimmicky in a game that needs no gimmicks.

As mentioned earlier in the review, Assassin’s Creed looks fantastic. Everything — from the textures on Altair’s robes to the crackling fire effects — is brighter, crisper, and more detailed in this edition of the game versus the DS. However, Assassin’s Creed is not necessarily the smoothest play on a Droid. There is some framerate chugging here and there that mars the experience. However, some users have mentioned that Creed runs better on newer handsets. (ign)

Published by: Gameloft
Developed by: Gameloft
Genre: Action
Release Date: US: September 13, 2010
Also Available On: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC,Wireless, iPhone, Android
Also known as: Assassin’s Creed

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We’d heard rumors that a new Zune was on the way, but here’s a spot of evidence that something’s actually up: Microsoft’s adding a senior mechanical engineer to help build “the next generation of portable entertainment and communication devices.” While the job listing in question is technically for Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business, which oversees Windows Phone, it’s clear that some things have changed since the Entertainment & Devices shakeup: “We are the team that shipped the Zune HD,” the post reads. It appears that there’s a new group within Microsoft called the Portable Entertainment Group which isn’t afraid to design its own hardware and includes the Zune team, though whether that hardware be Zune, phone or something more obscure still remains to be seen. (engadget)

opera mini branding Opera Mini 5.1 released for Windows Mobile devicesAfter releasing an improved version for the Android devices (the one Stefan likes so much), Opera Software is going for the, let’s face it slowly dying, Windows Mobile community. The new version of the popular mobile web browser for Microsoft’s mobile platform packs several important enhancements, including:

  • The ability to set Opera Mini as the default browser
  • Support for devices with larger and high-res screens
  • Improved page layout and font rendering
  • Support for accelerometer (for auto-rotation)
  • Advanced configuration for power users

Rest of the features remain unchanged, hence you can expect the same fast page load times and compression that will save you some cash on mobile data.

Opera Mini 5.1 is available as a free download for Windows Mobile 2003 SE, 5.x and 6.x smartphones. To download it, simply point your existing mobile browser to m.opera.com and take it from there. (intomobile)

European retailer Germanos will launch two new dual SIM Motorola phones in October: Motorola EX115 and Motorola EX128.

Both handsets are unannounced, and they’re the first dual SIM Motorola devices to be available in Europe.

Germanos Romania says that the EX128 and EX115 will be launched on October 18.

Customers can already pre-order the two phones online, here and here.

The Motorola EX128 is a touchscreen handset that will cost about €120 ($150). The Motorola EX115 has a regular display and a full QWERTY keyboard, and should cost only about €95 ($120).

According to CelularCafe, the Moto EX115 is also called EX112, and it might be available in Brazil, too, featuring GSM/GPRS, Bluetooth 2.1, 3.5mm headset jack, and a 3MP camera.

With Nokia, Pantech, and now Motorola entering the dual SIM phone market, Samsung will have some serious competition – although, for a while at least, it will still be the most important dual SIM handset maker (it has launched more than 10 models until now). (unwiredview)

DROID X leaked Android 2.2 Froyo ROM

Still aching for that Android 2.2 update to roll out to your beloved DROID X?  Well, we still don’t have any word on when the official upgrade will hit (other than “late summer”), but there is a new leaked Froyo ROM for you to load onto your rooted DROID X!  In order to install the new ROM, you’ll have to be rooted and use Koush’s bootstrapper.  As with any new ROM, some users have experienced a few issues with installation, but others are reporting that this new build is running smoothly.  If you’re interested, you can find the necessary download links and instructions righthere.  Just remember that any time you hack with you phone, you run the risk of seriously messing it up.  Be careful!

Considering no one knows exactly when the official Android 2.2 update will finally roll out (we’ve heard early September in the past), it’s good to see the DX hacking community sharing new builds of the OS for impatient users.  Just remember that Motorola has said in the past that they won’t be providing an upgrade path to the official builds if you install any leaked ROM.  Also, if you do plan on loading this leaked build of Froyo, you should probably do it as soon as possible, as the last leaked ROM had to be pulled thanks to a cease and desist letter from Moto.  If you’ve already got the new build loaded up onto your DROID X, let us know about your experience! (phonedog)

It seems more than a little odd to us that Apple hasn’t bothered to make FaceTime compatible with its own longstanding desktop video chat service, iChat, but we’ve at least supposed that it’s an inevitability with whatever upcoming Mac OS X update or software bundle that Apple deems appropriate. Now Mac4Ever, who was spot on with a pile of rumors last year, but hasn’t succeeded with its recent prediction of an iLife ’11 launch in August, is saying that Apple is prepping FaceTime both for Mac and PC. We don’t know if that means building a whole copy of iChat for Windows, or just making FaceTime compatible with some existing PC video chat service, but it would certainly improve the odds of us ever finding a legitimate use for FaceTime. (engadget)

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Our tipster has been hard at work scouring the annals of Verizon Wireless inventory. First we saw the Motorola MZ600 tablet pop up with dummy and demo units in two, then we got a look at listings for the Motorola Citrus and Motorola XT610, and now we have the Samsung Continuum making an appearance. The Continuum is another mid-range device that should class in the same range as the LG Ally. Other than that broad categorization very little is known other than a rumored release date falling sometime in October.

With all of these new inventory additions it appears Big Red is preparing for an all-out Droid assault this holiday season, and it looks like a large part of it will be low to mid-range devices to fill out a lineup that has been a bit top heavy with behemoth phones like the Droid X, Droid 2, and Samsung Fascinate leading the pack. Who knows what will pop up in their inventory next! (phandroid)

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 Android 2.1

Sony Ericsson released the XPERIA X10 all the way back in March, although we just saw the handset launch on AT&T here in the U.S. less than a month ago.  Unfortunately, the X10 is still running Android 1.6 even though version 2.2 of the Android OS is available.  Sony Ericsson has said that the X10 line of phones will be updated to Android 2.1 in September, but at least one X10 has already been spotted on video running 2.1.  The video, which is in German, shows off the live wallpapers that Eclair is known for, as well as an updated UI and new launcher button.  There’s been no official word from AT&T on when we’ll see our U.S. X10s updated to Android 2.1, but hopefully it won’t be long after Sony Ericsson releases the 2.1 upgrade.

The XPERIA X10 may be somewhat long in the tooth, but with its 1 GHz processor, 4-inch screen, and 8 megapixel camera, it’s still a rather capable handset spec-wise.  Considering AT&T’s lean Android lineup, I’d say that the carrier would be wise to push out Android 2.1 to its X10s as soon as possible.  Once they do, we’ll be able to shrink the market share of Android 1.5 and 1.6 even further into the minority. (phonedog)

The stars are really aligning for this shindig HTC has scheduled in London for next week, aren’t they? All signs point to the launch of the Android-powered Desire Z and Desire HD — international versions of theG2 and EVO, respectively — and this render pulled off of German site BestBoyZ matches up perfectly with in-the-wild shots we’ve seen of the HD before. The only sticking point, really, is that there’s a Windows Mobile 6.5 Sense UI shot inexplicably plastered on top, which makes about as much sense as… well, re-releasing the HD2 right now. Bottom line, we think the hardware part of this picture is real; software, not so much. (engadget)

Another day, another Android phone. Something new’s leaked out from the Acer camp today –  a 3.6-inch WVGA android handset that looks to be nothing but metal. Our first guess on type is aluminum – something that’s become quite the trend in the technology universe – but a bronze-colored variant suggests one of the models could actually be crafted out of that metal, as well. If the specs listed by Russian outlet Habrahabr are correct, then this won’t be a stinker.

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It’ll apparently come preloaded with Android 2.2 with a custom skin being called Acer Shell 4.0. For RAM and ROM, you can expect 512MB for each and a Qualcomm MSM7230 800MHz processor + Adreno 205 GPU to back it up. Other specs include Bluetooth 3.0 and a camera with flash (type not yet confirmed), but that’s all we can take from this leak. I’m not sure how anyone else feels about the design of this thing, but I’d call it one of Acer’s prettiest offerings yet. I’m more interested in the performance and the software, however, but those bits and pieces will squeak out as time moves on, I suppose. (phandroid)

[Cheers, Aux!]

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