Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 127.
For most people, this week was iPad Week. Apple announced the next generation of the iPad and the iPad Mini. But it wasn't just Apple's time to shine, because Microsoft/Nokia announced (long rumored) new Lumia devices, including a tablet version, and the Surface 2 and Surface Pro2 were finally shipping and up for purchase.
Now one of the few things left when it comes to technology for 2013 are the XBOX One and the PS4 releases next month.
Lets start with this weeks tech news first:
New Apple iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina:
Apple is having a hard time with numbers it seems. With the 3rd generation of iPads, they opted to call it "New iPad", and now with the iPad 5, they opted to name it "iPad Air". Even with the second generation iPad Mini, they opted to not use numbers, but simply call it iPad Mini with Retina.
The last few weeks, I, as well as many websites speculated on what will be different with the new iPad models, and while the iPad Air was pretty much dead-on, I was completely wrong with the expectations of the iPad Mini 2.
Looking back at the history of the iPad, I expected Apple to hold back the specifications of the iPad Mini 2 a few generations. The Original iPad Mini, released last year alongside the iPad 4 was 2 generations behind, so naturally, with the iPad Mini 2 I was expecting it to be based on the iPad 3 or 4. Surprisingly, Apple decided to make both the iPad 5 and the iPad Mini 2 mostly identical. Visually as well as internally, with the only difference being the physical/screen size.
While the iPhone 5s vs the iPhone 5c releases have shown that, when it comes to Apple products, most people don't really worry about a few bucks difference, but $100 less and taking into consideration the success of the first generation iPad Mini makes me wonder how popular the iPad Air will actually become.
I'm not complaining on the iPad Mini 2 now being identical in performance and functionality as its bigger brother, but its actual release is contradicting the strategy that Apple has been following for many years. Maybe it is a last-resort option in order to gain market share back from the (rapidly) overtaking onslaught of Android tablets, maybe it is because Apple has something else in the pipeline, who knows.
Apple ? iPad ? Compare iPad models.
New Lumia phones and tablet:
Rumored for a while, but this week, Nokia let the cat out of the bag this week. A new, Windows RT based, tablet, along with 2 large, Galaxy Note-sized, smartphones, all under the Lumia brand.
The tablet looks very nice, but since companies like Asus and Samsung stopped producing WindowsRT devices, the only competitor it has is the Surface from Microsoft, the company that owns Nokia's device department.
The smartphones make more sense to me though. With last week's Windows Phone update, many of the limitations holding Windows Phone back have been lifted, and these phones represent the first generation to benefit from that. Large, full HD screens, faster processor, MicroSD and more.
Nokia Lumia 2520: a closer look at Nokia's first Windows tablet | The Verge
Nokia Lumia 1520: a first look at a 6-inch giant Windows Phone | The Verge
Surface 2 / Surface Pro 2 available:
Microsoft's upgrade to its Surface tablet line up is finally available. The RT version seems to have gotten the biggest upgrade, with a new processor, full hd screen, but even the Pro benefits greatly from the new, less power-hungry processor update it received. Perfect travel companions in my opinion (except for international due to the power adapter).
Plants vs Zombies 2 Android:
Stated in a few previous newsletters, I've been working on something for Halloween. While there is a lot going on at the moment, I'm still on schedule for release next week (coming closer quickly!).
Aside from the long development hours, as promised last week, I did post up the conclusion article for the smartphone hunt. For the ones interested, here is a direct link:
Galaxy Note 3 Week 2:
As mentioned before, I will be doing a full review somewhere in the next couple of weeks. Development work is somewhat limiting me to get really into the phone at this time, but I figured I'd share some of my experiences of using the Note anyway.
* The battery itself is holding up quite nicely, but regardless of which device you use, watching a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad through Netflix on it will eat up a nice chunk. Even so, I am still only charging the Note 3 once a day and still have juice left before connecting.
* Normally I am not too pleased with pre-installed stuff on my equipment. When it comes to setting up a new computer for development and such, the most time spent is actually on removing crap rather than installing and setting up what I need. With the Note 3, I am actually pleased with the pre-installed stuff on it. I haven't dug into everything yet, but the apps I have been using do make my experience with the Note 3 more pleasant.
With the Galaxy Nexus beforehand, I was using the phone as, well, a phone. I try to keep my gadgets and devices as clean as possible, I don't stick much in it in terms of apps, and aside from putting a few casual games on it for those just in case moments, I mainly fill them up with videos and of course my MovieGallery app.
The Galaxy Nexus, being a "Nexus/Google Experience" device, didn't come with much other than the stock Android stuff, so with my "keep it clean" habit, I never pushed it to its limits. The Note 3 comes pre-loaded with a full Samsung app-suite, and while a few things (Media Hub for example) are not going to see any use, the majority of the other, specific Samsung, stuff I am actually eager to play with.
The difference between the "Nexus Experience" of the Galaxy Nexus vs the "Samsung Experience" on the Note 3 is like night and day, and the actual Android versions are virtually the same. Earlier this week, Ron over at Droid Life wrote up something on the evolution of the Nexus program (link) which gives an interesting perspective.
HellooooooOuya still there?
Skimming the web, I stumbled upon an Ouya article on IGN:
Ouya CEO Addresses the Console's Recent Problems - IGN
When I noticed the article, I remembered I actually backed the Ouya Kickstarter, and have one sitting here. The sad thing is, it has never been turned on or even hooked up. I remember I was excited when the box came, but for some reason, it stopped there. I didn't have time back then to actually set it up, so I set it aside and mentally made a note of running it through its paces when I had the time for it, but with time passing by, I just forgot about the thing for all these months.
Looking through some of the more constructive comments (not IGN's strong point I'm afraid) for the post, it seems I'm not the only one who has an Ouya just collecting dust.
The original idea behind the Ouya was pretty good, but with the numerous mistakes and bad press it received after the actual release date, and the fact that they announced to make it a yearly release just put me off the whole system. Sure, having the newest hardware all the time in order to be able to play the latest games is nice, but while I'm sure there are some Battlefield / Call of Duty players who would gladly upgrade their Playstation/XBox on a yearly basis for a new version of the game, most people don't. And for developers to make top games for something that upgrades yearly, I don't see it.
The Colony Mini Review:
(or, simply plugging a movie I enjoyed)
The Colony (2013) - IMDb
Synopsis: Forced underground by the next ice age, a struggling outpost of survivors must fight to preserve humanity against a threat even more savage than nature.
If you have been reading the newsletter for some time, you might have noticed (especially with the Shield stuff I posted) that I enjoy the Fallout game franchise. The post-apocalyptic setting is something that always intrigues me, and the Fallout games capture that very well.
With movies its unfortunately a bit different. There are some, like "I am Legend", "The Road" and "The Book of Eli" that come close, and TV shows like "The Walking Dead", "Falling Skies" and "Jericho" (and the actual "The Colony" TV show), but while good, none really hit the spot.
Earlier this week, The Colony's box caught my eye. I walked past it at first, because it was released last week with a budget ($9.95) price, even though it has some known actors in it, and the cover gave me the impression of a clone of the "The Day After Tomorrow", but since I didn't find anything else of interest, I read the back and decided to bring it home.
I didn't get into it right away, but a few nights ago, my wife grabbed it and stuck it in the DVD player.
Considering its a brand-new movie (ok, released last week), for the $9.95 we paid for it, I wasn't expecting too much. It has some big-names in it, but those would probably eat up the majority of the budget. Surprisingly, everything fit together nicely. Good story with fleshed out characters with matching actors. Believable acting, great locations used for the movie, fitting with the atmosphere perfectly and special effects and cgi are done in a supporting role to further the story, rather than made the focus of the movie.
While there are better movies out there set in a similar setting (Day after Tomorrow, Book of Eli), if you enjoyed those movies this is a good one to watch.
Well, that is it for this DVD Catalyst Newsletter. If all continues to go as it is now (I made some good strides yesterday) with development, I should be able to finish up that what I am working on before Halloween. I'm currently running tests while posting this, and am about to start on documentation (always a lot of work unfortunately).
Anyway, thanks for reading, and see you next week,
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