Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in lists!

It's the end of another year. Rather than bore you with yet another lengthy essay detailing my life in 2010, I present you yet another list!

Albums of the year:

Surfer Blood's Astro Surf
The XX's XX
Hot Chip's One Life Stand
Broken Social Scene's Feel Good Lost
Beach Fossil's Beach Fossils
Arcade Fire's Suburbs

Films of the year:

The Social Network
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Games of the year:
Heavy Rain
God of War III
Assassin's Creed II (because I played it this year)
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Valkyria Chronicles 2

Highlights of the year:
Conspiracy for Good by Tim Kring and Nokia
Nokia World
Angry Birds flashmob

Most impressive product:
Windows Phone 7 - I love it. It isn't for me, yet. But give it a year and it is going to rock!

Happy New Year dear readers

If you are in the Shoreditch area tonight, DM me @jonchoo if you want to join us for a quiet social celebration.

Have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Angry Birds Day London event

Last weekend was the first anniversary of the hit mobile puzzle game. To celebrate, Rovio Mobile, the Finnish based developer behind the game urges the fans of the game to celebrate by organising flashmobs around the world dubbed 'Angry Birds Day'.

We at #LeStudio52 has been thinking for a while on organising an Angry Birds competition using large screen, so when Rovio suggested this we immediately ceased the opportunity to turn the London event into the most memorable. We had the backing of Nokia as the main partner. Rovio also sent toys to be distributed to people attending the flashmob. Other partners includes Chillingo (the publisher of Angry Birds on iOS), Powermat and Spreadshirt.

We were divided into three groups, and we instructed to meet at 1pm at the respective meeting point. The idea was to meet up at different pubs, and have the participants of the flashmob meet up by 'finding the bird'. I was leading the group (that includes Chillingo) at The Nags Head on St James Street near Covent Garden tube station. Everyone who spotted me and my Angry Bird, got an Angry Birds plush toy.

The flashmob began at 2pm sharp on Covent Garden. After walking around the parameter of the famous market, we were stopped by security who insisted we leaved the borough, but we were allowed to continue our 'protest' on the bordering neighbour of Westminster Borough. The flashmob grew bigger as people started following us, and others caught up. We stopped outside the Zimbabwe Embassy and had a brief chat with the protesters outside. Eventually we arrived at Trafalgar Square, despite being previously warned by the authorities not to 'protest' there.

The flashmob was coming to an end, but then I shouted that we should head down to Parliament Square. Well we didn't quite make it to the former now none-Democracy Village, but we did stop outside the Horse Guards Parade and were allowed by security outside Downing Street for a quick photo stop.

The post flashmob event was held at the Northumberland a short walk from Trafalgar Square. There we held competitions, the top prize being a Nokia N8 generously donated by Nokia. Other prizes includes capacitive gloves, Powermat wireless charger and Angry Birds t-shirts.

The final consisted of a face off between Richard who won the 'most points' in Angry Birds level-5 competition and Ollie, who bested everyone by getting through six levels in the trial Angry Birds quickest (1.32 minutes). Ollie won the big prize (the Nokia N8) by hitting Richard three times using the Angry Birds plush toy.

Big thanks to Julien, the main brain behind the event, the people at Rovio and Nokia for supporting the event, 1000heads and WOMWorldNokia, Jenni and Abul from #LeStudio52, Lee for helping out with me in judging the competition and all the volunteers who made it happen (Alexa, Scott, Gareth - apologies if I forgot anybody else).

Angry Birds is available on iOS, Android, Symbian, Maemo 5 and WebOS, and soon to be available on PSP, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360.

More pictures here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Three UK unlimited data on The One Plan

Some exciting news from the mobile industry this morning just for you data hungry mobile peeps. Three UK has announced that The One Plan tariff now comes with unlimited all you can eat data with no hidden fair usage nonsense. That's right - real unlimited data with tethering allowed and no fair usage limits. During a time when all other networks are scaling back instead of offering more to their customers, and it is nice to see Three UK bucking the trend. Well done Three!

The plan will take effect starting today and all customers on The One Plan, new and old will immediately be able to enjoy unlimited data right away.

Next, bring me unlimited MiFi with no fair usage and I can kiss our landline broadband goodbye forever!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Motorola Defy is lifeproof!

Yesterday evening I was invited to a Motorola party in London. They call it the Defy the Cold party, and surprise surprise - it had something to do with their recently launched Defy smartphone. Also seen at the party was the new Motorola Milestone 2. Released in the US as Droid 2, the Milestone 2 is pretty old news now. Still it was pretty exciting to play with it, and I hope to get one soon to review.

Anyway back to the Defy... the Defy is a new Android budget smartphone. It runs on Android 2.1 (Eclair), which is an even older news now that Android Gingerbread 2.3 is out. Motorola reckons that the Defy will be blessed with Froyo 2.2 update on Q1 2011. At this rate, lord knows when if ever it will ever get Android 2.3 update.

Still for around £260 sim-free, the Defy nets you plenty of good specs - 800Mhz ARM Cortex A8, 512MB RAM, 2GB built-in storage with microSDHC slot, 1540mAh battery, WiFi, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, aGPS receiver, 5MP camera, 3.7" LCD with 480x854 pixels resolution etc. Oh and it happens to be dust proof and water resistant as well. Motorola calls the Defy the 'Lifeproof' phone. I call it a friggin awesome phone.

I can personally confirm its water resistance. It had no problems under the tap or when dunked under water. As long as the micro USB, headphone jack and battery door is firmly closed, water will not get in. The only issue I've encountered is due to the nature of capacitive screen, it is almost impossible to use the semi rugged Defy when there is water on the screen, much less under water.

Update: I wrote a slightly more extensive preview on Check it out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Skype now compatible with Nokia N8 and other Symbian^3 devices

They sure took their time, but hei, at least it is here and before Christmas too. Skype is now compatible with Symbian^3 - that means it will work on the Nokia N8, C6-01, C7 and E7 devices. As yet, I've not encountered any issues with the app but it's barely been a day. Now, give us video calling and I'll be happy.

To download and enjoy free calls on your phone, point your mobile browser to

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Three Blog Awards

Well it is December 2010 and so it must be awards season time. First up is the Three blog awards.

Unlike most awards with hundreds of categories (like the one I sometimes have on this blog), Three Mobile UK has narrowed down the categories to just four: mobile device of the year, guest blogger of the year, best app of the year and social media high of the year. Whoever you voted is up to you, but I personally went for:

Mobile device of the year: Mifi
Guest blogger of the year: Abul Hussain
Best app of the year: Angry Birds
Social media high of the year: Rage Against the Machine Vs. The X-Factor (Facebook)

Why? Well the MiFi, as you can tell from my positive review of the product, is an excellent mobile wireless hotspot that makes connecting multiple devices easily. It is cheap too and I predict that there would be a surge in similar products next year when mass market tablets starts hitting the market.

Abul is a great friend of mine and is one of the most experienced mobile blogger I know. His experience with mobile tech is immense! For best app of the year, this is easy. While Spotify may have gotten my vote, the fact that it requires a premium account works against it. Angry Birds on the other hand is a video game (and I like video games), works on multiple platforms and is dirt cheap. It also happens to be fun.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Games for your Nokia N8

All of these games are compatible with Nokia's Symbian^3 phones (N8, C6-01, C7, E7). If some of them aren't showing on your mobile's Ovi Store, well good for you. Go buy a PSP instead.

Angry Birds by Rovio

This delightful hit iPhone game is now on Symbian^3 (as well as every gaming platform on earth). Though it costs more, has less levels (more are promised with free updates) and lacks achievements, it is still a fun puzzle game that deserves your attention. It didn't sell millions for nothing. For the uninitiated (all seven of you), Angry Birds's gameplay revolves around using a catapult to fire birds (of different abilities) at evil green pigs in their fortresses. Fun? Yes it is.


Real Football 2010 HD by Gameloft

If there ever was a game that highlights the disadvantages of touchscreen only devices for gaming, this is it. Controls are unwieldy, it's like trying to drive a Formula One car fitted with a tractor engine. Visuals are ugly, and the commentary gets annoying after the first few seconds. Even the original FIFA was better, and that was released 17 years ago. Dear developers (not you Gameloft): for goodness sake, just give me Sensible Soccer!


Hero of Sparta HD by Gameloft

Gameloft is on a roll here with bad games (is it surprising? they've been making bad games since I can remember). Sticking a HD suffix on it doesn't help. This God of War rip-off is so bad, it is probably what Kratos dreams of when he has a nightmare. Sorry, but it is shit. I don't care if it costs only £3, it is still money wasted on something that is an insult to modern gaming,


Need for Speed: Shift HD by EA

This is one of the better games on Symbian^3. The visuals are pretty good (though no where near PSP level), though I do wish for higher framerate for smoother gameplay. Unfortunately as with all touchscreen games, NFS:Shift HD (stop it with the HD suffix - it isn't HD, none of these games are!) suffers from the lack of physical keys, but it isn't too bad either. With assisted braking turned on, it is far from atrocious. Not that I would recommend playing this despiteit being free on the N8's Ovi Store.


Bounce Boing Battle by Rovio

Boune Boing Battle is a Symbian^1 game, but that shouldn't put you off. It is one of the few games that the developers has designed the game around a phone and its features rather than trying to shoehorn a traditional game into a mobile touchscreen device. It is a two player affair, so you must have a second player with another touchscreen Bluetooth phone to play with. Basically you try to bounce the ball back at them by drawing a wall on the screen for it to bounce off. Simples. It doesn't offer much else (hei it is a tech demo). But then again it is free and I've no complaints about that.