Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!

iPhone 4: jailbreak coder pledges Flash for iOS 4

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 09:50 AM PDT

Flash on iPhone 4? No your eyes aren't dreaming. Intrepid iPhone 4 jailbreakers have brought Adobe's divisive web tech to Steve Jobs' platform. They've got Flash running on an iPad, and say they'll soon have it running on iPhone 4.

iPhone jailbreak team Comex have been showing off Flash running on the iPad. Dubbed 'Frash' it's been hacked together using code from Android, and blesses the iPad's Safari browser with everything needed to run Flash inside the Safari browser.

Best of all, the coders say they'll soon bring Frash to jailbroken iPhones and iOS 4. Bet Steve Jobs is fuming. Check out the video of Frash runnin on an iPad below.

TBC | £free | Frash (Thanks for the tip Darren!)

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Announcing Electricpig’s iPhone 4 winner: Congratulations John Bell!

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 08:09 AM PDT

Last month, we offered one lucky reader the chance to win an iPhone 4, no strings attached. The challenge was simple: to tell us why you deserve one most. Proving your worth as an iPhone winner was another matter, with a virtual mountain of appeals, pleas and carefully penned ballads to compete against and stand out from. Stand out though one did, earning one lucky Reader a top of the line, unlocked smartphone in the process. Read on to meet the winner, John Bell!

While we were taken by the poems, pictures and even ransom notes left by some entrants, reader John Bell from Worcestershire ended the unanimous victor. His reason? He needs an iPhone to run this little app that he made himself:

John’s epic iPhone competition entry blew us all away. We expected a few pictures, were chuffed when videos started rolling in, but out own iPhone app? We can’t argue with that, so the unlocked 32GB black iPhone 4 is heading his way. Even more amazing, avid Electricpig reader John tells us that he’d never written a line of Objective-C code (used for making iPhone apps) before last month, making his talking piggy app all the more impressive. Congrats John, your iPhone 4 is on its way!

Don’t fret too much if you missed out on our iPhone 4 giveaway, as we’re still running plenty of other competitions right now, including freebies for commenter of the week, and vouchers and stash for our one thousandth Facebook fan.

PS John’s wasn’t the only video plea we received. Check out this song from Jonny Rose. Johnny, check your e-mail and/or Facebook messages, we’ve got a consolatory Electricpig mug here with your name on it!

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Kinect Xbox 360 bundle and launch games revealed

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 08:03 AM PDT

The first glimpse of the Kinect Xbox 360 bundle and the selection of Kinect launch games has hit the web. A picture of the painfully purple Kinect packaging bound for shops has slipped out and we've peered at it closely to discover some more clues about Microsoft's motion-sensing magic cam…

After spending a few minutes staring at the Kinect promo display images we've picked up a few new facts to chew on. Firstly, that packaging makes Kinect look a little bit like it's a some household cleaning tool. Secondly, there's the Kinect Xbox 360 bundle we've been expecting sat there: a new Xbox 360 250GB cuddled up with a Kinect.

The first batch of Kinect games are also racked on the display with Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, Kinectimals and Kinect Joy Ride are all present and correct. Hopefully we'll also see a few of the more hardcore games like the lightsaber-swinging Star Wars title and Fable 3 making an appearance fairly swiftly after Kinect debuts.

While it's interesting to get a look at Kinect all packed up and ready, we're still waiting for a final Kinect launch date and Kinect price from Microsoft. Let us know: are you planning on replacing your Xbox and grabbing an Kinect Xbox 360 bundle? And how much would you be willing to pay for the package now we know the restrictions of the Kinect specs?

Out TBC | £TBC | Microsoft (via Xboxic)

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LG Android tablet avalanche: Optimus line will be legion

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 07:45 AM PDT

LG’s Android tablet plans are slowly trickling through. This morning we reported that two LG Android Froyo phones had been unveiled in South Korea, which will be available at the end of the year, in addition LG announced plans to unleash an Android tablet in the same time frame – Q4 of this year. Since then, we’ve received word that the Android tablet could be tablets plural…

LG has said it will be introducing ten new "smart devices", which include smartphones and tablet devices. It also says: "LG Optimus will be comprised of devices running on a range of operating systems as well as Android Tablet PCs". Note the plural – Android Tablet PCs.

There's little detail in the press release about the forthcoming Android tablet, or whether there will be more than one, but LG claims it will "will deliver vastly superior performance than other similar devices currently on the market, while still managing to be thinner and lighter than competing devices."

The good news is that the Android tablet is definitely coming to Europe, although there's no dates or launch information about its imminent arrival in the UK. Whether there's more than one Android tablet in the pipeline we can't yet tell, but it certainly looks that way…

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LG Optimus One and Optimus Chic photos: Froyo phones UK bound!

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 07:41 AM PDT

UPDATE: The LG Optimus One and Optimus Chic won’t be available in Europe until at least September, a spokesperson has confirmed to us.

Presenting the LG Optimus One and LG Optimus Chic, the company’s first Android 2.2 Froyo phones headed to Europe. They’re not the same as the ones announced in Seoul this morning, but they’re the ones we’re getting, and we’ve got what’s known about them right now.

Up first is the LG Optimus One “With Google”, a slick looking, upper end smartphone running Android 2.2> LG’s unhelpfully not given out any specs for the fella, but this first picture shows a microSD card slot on the left handside, and there are four physical buttons along the bottom. The dock with apps also indicates the LG Optimus One is using a custom skin rather than stock Android.

LG Froyo phones announced, tablet teased

Sitting a bit further down the market, the LG Optimus One will be joined by the LG Optimus Chic. It’s not the LG Optimus GT540 phone we’re testing right now, as it runs a much more powerful Android 2.2 OS, and sports a more polished black and silver look. Again, no specs are known at this point, but the first image shows the LG Optimus Chic sports touch sensitive buttons along the bottom.

There’s no word yet on when the LG Optimus One and LG Optimus Chic will go on sale, but we’ve confirmed that both are coming to Europe, and are digging for more details as you read this. Stay tuned for updates.

Out TBC | £TBC | LG

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Hi Steve, I’m Apple’s worst nightmare…

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 06:59 AM PDT

Are you bored by the constant stream of missives from Steve Jobs? Or do you crave one? In recent months, they've been coming left right and centre, and tech bloggers are fighting over what's real and what's not. Apple Insider refuted the Jason Burford Boy Genius email thread, and Boy Genius hit right back, saying they were from a real Steve Jobs email account. We at Electricpig want to know whether you care, or if it's just something to fill the time between Apple product launches…

Although it might not be Steve Jobs emailing people back, it's someone from Apple. If so, is the bi-weekly Steve Jobs email story just an elaborate PR stunt designed by Apple to bolster the cult of Apple? If it is, do you care?

On the other hand, if you're a tech blogger who's not had a reply and is feeling left out in the cold by Steve Jobs, or an Apple fanboy just looking for that elusive missive to give you something to talk about in the pub, then have a look at this little bit of fun The Joy of Tech have built. You can create your own Steve Jobs reply, which is pretty close to what you're likely to get should him or his email minions choose to respond.

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Dyson Air Multiplier: this summer’s hot gadget – have you bought one?

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 06:05 AM PDT

The Dyson Air Multiplier is turning out to be the summer's surprise success story. We knew iPhone 4 would fly off the shelves but it seems the scorching weather has led to a rush on the bladeless fan too. The Dyson warehouse is reportedly all out and, on the high street, traditional fans are being blown away by the Dyson Air Multiplier. Head through for the figures that show the Dyson Air Multiplier's success is more than hot air and let us know: have you snapped one up?

Our Dyson Air Multiplier review was penned back in the chillier days of October and we still loved it. But now the heats here, there's been a run on the James Dyson's wonderful wind machine despite it costing £199, over ten times more than the average desk fan (which will set you back around £18).

The Telegraph reports that over a third of the thousands of fans sold by John Lewis in the past few weeks were Dyson Air Multiplier models. Meanwhile Marks & Spencer says its seen sales of the bladeless beauty jump fourfold in the last week.

Electricpig's intrepid reporter Jen met James Dyson last week and quizzed him on the new Dyson Air Multiplier AM02 and AM03 office-sized upgrades. With talk of a dog drying version of the Dyson Airblade in there too, it's well worth a read.

Let us know: are you one of the horde of shoppers who've grabbed a Dyson Air Multiplier this summer? Hit the comments and give us your review. If you've opted for a less costly cooling solution, we'd love to hear about it too.

Out now | £199 | Dyson (via The Telegraph)

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Crackdown 2 review

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 06:01 AM PDT

Crackdown 2's predecessor and franchise kickstarter showed us that open world sandbox style games don’t have to neglect addictive gameplay in favour of creating a try-too-hard believable world. The sequel follows the same gung-ho action stylings, and it’s more of the same, but better. But is that enough to make it worth plopping into your Xbox 360 when so many more free roaming adventures now vie for your attention?  Find out right here in our full Crackdown 2 review.

Read the rest of our Crackdown 2 review now
Crackdown 2 review: Gameplay and controls
Crackdown 2 review: Things to do in Pacific City
Crackdown 2 review: New weapons, gadgets and vehicles

After dispatching a trio of gangs in the original Crackdown, the Agents are back in a city-wide war against a gang called The Cell, who've plundered the city, leaving chaos in their wake. To make matters worse a virus has leaked out, infecting citizens and turning them into mutants, or as the game politely puts it, Freaks. With violence escalating, the Pacific city of Crackdown 2 is on its knees.

Starting up Crackdown 2 for the first time, the introduction lets you know you’re going to need plenty of firepower. It’s the briefest of intros – throwing you straight into things. As one of many Agents tasked with clearing up the chaos you’re tasked with fighting The Cell by day and having to contend with the Freaks at night.

If you’ve already played Crackdown you know what to expect: plenty of running around, jumping and generally shooting anything that moves while flitting from one mission to another. In your own time that is. Players are free to do whatever they want, when they want. It’s possible to spend hours playing Crackdown 2 without ever finishing off its main objectives.

Hurdling from rooftop to rooftop is one of the game’s many pleasures, made even better by the Agility Orbs. Collecting these Orbs increase your jumping skills, making it even easier to bound higher than ever before as your Agent slowly transforms from a puny justice bringer to a superhero-esque Judge Dredd-like law enforcer thanks to Crackdown 2's reward system that doles out experience for gamers for how they play. Use your guns a lot and your firearms skills will increase. Kick lumps out of baddies and your strength skills will rise. From here things really start to get interesting as you’re able to inflict Agent style justice with increased ease and aplomb.

Weaponry has also been ramped up in Crackdown 2. Among the pick of the new firearms and gadgets is the UV Shotgun for fending off dozens of enemies with a single bullet, Mag Grenades, for having all sorts of explosive fun with and the Wingsuit to let you glide around Pacific City like a fully armed flying squirrel. We’d have liked to have seen even more guns to play with but thankfully the fun to be had with the Wingsuit makes up for it.

Graphically Crackdown 2 is a lot slicker and brighter in areas than the original. The draw distance when viewing the panoramic views across the city remains sweet. But it’s by no means stunning compared to other recent open-world titles. Sure, it looks nice, but pit Crackdown 2 against the likes of Just Cause 2's scenic vistas and it begins to look dated. Are we being fussy? Possibly. Ruffian Games told us in June that the developer doesn’t do mere aesthetic touches for the sake of it, preferring to focus on the gameplay. The developer has stamped its own look on Crackdown 2, and it isn’t budging.

Other quibbles we have are that some Crackdown 2 missions can drag on initially. The Freaks are taking over the city and the only way to stop them is to detonate underground beacons. To do this you need to travel to several absorption units dotted around the city to charge them up. Once you charge the required amount you head to the beacon, detonate it and then do it all over again. Though things do get a bit more varied later, particularly as you upgrade your attributes.

But then there’s multiplayer. The four-player co-op in Crackdown 2 works an absolute treat, letting up to three mates join you in the main game to play together or go your own way through the game simultaneously. This is where the real fun is. The same applies as with single player, but knowing your buddies have your back adds so much more.

The 16-player player vs player is equally delightful. Having 16 players in one map playing fisticuffs with rockets is just as chaotic as you’d imagine. Just make sure you’re first to the Agency Helicopter or it's curtains for you. If deathmatch isn’t your thing there’s always Rocket Tag. Think Tag, but with rockets. The aim is to avoid enemy rocket fire for as long as possible to rack up maximum pointage.

Crackdown 2 should please fans of the original greatly. True to the developer's words it’s full of action, weapons and offers tremendous scope for explorer style destruction. It might be repetitive, and lack any proper innovation from the original but Ruffian Games has played it safe. For fans of the game that’s no bad thing. If you’re a co-op regular and have mates to play it with, Crackdown 2 comes recommended. Just don’t expect it to offer anything you haven’t seen before.

Read the rest of our Crackdown 2 review now
Crackdown 2 review: Gameplay and controls
Crackdown 2 review: Things to do in Pacific City
Crackdown 2 review: New weapons, gadgets and vehicles

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Crackdown 2 review: Things to do in Pacific City

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 06:00 AM PDT

Having plenty of things to do in Crackdown 2's Pacific City setting is a relief when the main missions start to get repetitive. Agility Orb collecting is just as addictive and rewarding as ever, but there's plenty more to see and do too. Grab your travel card, camera and personal alarm – we're about to take a trip through all the things you can check out in the Freak infested city here in this part of our Crackdown 2 review.

Read the rest of our Crackdown 2 review now
Crackdown 2 review
Crackdown 2 review: Gameplay and controls
Crackdown 2 review: New weapons, gadgets and vehicles

In Crackdown 2 players return to an even more expansive Pacific City bulked up by new underground caves, bunkers, plains and more. As you'd expect, that means more room for explosive carnage, Agent style.

The huge sandbox vertigo-inducing world of Crackdown 2, like other open world titles lends itself well to exploring each nook and cranny of it until your virtual legs crumble into a jellied pair of skin stilts. With lots more land to leap and bound across like a giant tarmac trampoline there’s even more scope to take time off from the main missions for bouts of needless destruction, street racing, orb collecting and more.

That’s right – agility Orbs are back. The previous Crackdown had players scrambling rooftops, leaping from pipes and roaming the roads for these things. This times there are 500 new Agility Orbs for players to collect. They’re not there just for show however, as each one brings you a step closer to letting your Agent leap further into the heavens to reach previously unreachable ledges, cliffs, weapons and, er, more Agility Orbs.

To those new to the Crackdown series it might sound laborious, but hunting them down remains incredibly rewarding. Sure, even we felt like tossing the controller in anger after plummeting to our doom in Orb pursuit but with the payoff of being able to scale buildings without taking the long way around it’s well worth seeking them out.

A new addition to Crackdown 2 are Renegade Orbs. Like Agility Orbs they increase your ability to leap and bound like a skyscraper hurdling kangaroo, but they’re even more effective. Unlike the Agility Orbs you’ll have to run, chase and jump after them to catch them. Other helpful artefacts to collect include online orbs you can only collect once on Xbox Live and playing in co-op and secret hidden orbs – these are well hidden and power up a random attribute such as your agility or weapons. And then there’s the story audio logs scattered throughout Pacific City giving gamers a chance to listen in on audio accounts on the city’s history and past events.

Other side missions in Crackdown 2 you’ll be able to take part in from the off include short street races around the block and against the clock. These are marked by purple zones and on your map. They’re not the most exciting of extra curricular Crackdown 2 activities but they don’t last too long, and clearing them adds some extra level up points to your driving skills. Driving in Crackdown 2 is a little wobbly (yet somehow stiff) at times so you’ll need them, especially for the insane jump stunts.

For those that like their side missions a little more action-filled players can attempt to secure The Cell strongholds. In other words, exterminate Cell gangs from certain blocks. These strongholds are marked in red on the map in Crackdown 2 and stuffed to the brim with gangsters. Strafing, leaping and lobbing grenades before taking cover is the only way to secure these locations until The Agency air support comes in. Even if you decide to abort halfway through at least you’ll have racked up some level up points for your firearms, strength or explosives depending on what weapons you used in your efforts.

All that and we haven’t even mentioned being able to glide through the air in the new Wingsuit later on in Crackdown 2, enjoying a a leisurely spot of sightseeing in the Agency Helicopter or running over the unlimited supply of Freaks for fun when they come out at night.

Back in May, Ruffian Games told us in person that it’s up to the gamer how they play Crackdown 2. With lots to do in Crackdown 2 there’s plenty of ways to play it – the most important being however you want to.

Read the rest of our Crackdown 2 review now
Crackdown 2 review
Crackdown 2 review: Gameplay and controls
Crackdown 2 review: New weapons, gadgets and vehicles

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Crackdown 2 review: Gameplay and controls

Posted: 05 Jul 2010 06:00 AM PDT

Crackdown 2 may have been automatically pigeon holed as a sandbox adventure title, but it's more than that. It’s a playground for destruction and jumping to whatever the heck you want, then blowing it up when you want. Is it fun too? Check out this part of our Crackdown 2 review to find out if Ruffian Games have cracked the controls and the gameplay this time around.

Read the rest of our Crackdown 2 review now
Crackdown 2 review
Crackdown 2 review: Things to do in Pacific City
Crackdown 2 review: New weapons, gadgets and vehicles

As you might expect, the plot in Crackdown 2 picks up where the original left off – none off this non-liner storytelling nonsense. After taking down the gangs from the original game the Agents must now do battle with a strain of superhuman mutants dubbed ‘Freaks’ as well as The Cell, which are preventing the Agency from cloning more Agents to secure the city.

As a freshly cloned Agent, it's down to you to wipe out the zombies and secure the city from the rampaging Cell. For some part this largely involves heading to absorption pods, which are like power supplies in order to charge them to detonate underground beacons – flushing the Freaks out from their lairs once and for all, which gets a bit tiresome.

But even before embarking on the first mission you’re free to do as you please. It’s this freedom to go anywhere, and do almost anything that is the essence of what Crackdown 2 is all about.

In our Side missions section of our Crackdown 2 review, we mentioned how players are once again encouraged to collect as many Agility Orbs as possible. Beginning the game your Agent character is almost powerless until he levels up his agility.

Only when you’ve grabbed a sufficient number of orbs though, Crackdown 2 springs into life. Initially attempting to jump and scale high walls, buildings and ledges feels laborious, but once you’ve enhanced your leaping skills the city, and in turn, the game becomes more fun, as does driving. With so much space to play in you’re gonna need some wheels.

Needless to say, there are plenty of cars you can hijack in Crackdown 2. Driving is carried off reasonably well – in lighter cars performing power slides and drifts soon become second nature (and Driving points rewarding). Players will find a massive variation in handling between cars such as the speedy Agency Supercar and heavier vehicles with an almost non-existent turning circle.

Another key mechanic is the targeting system. Targeting is both automatic and manual. Move the left control stick to point your reticule at something, then hit the right trigger to use your firearm. To call into action automatic target locking hold down the left trigger to lock onto an enemy or vehicle. Automatic targeting is great for lobbing grenades at The Cell members with more precision, or if you’re a little more mischievous, sending hundreds of freaks into the air simultaneously in a giany explosion of awesome.

For the most part traversing the city in Crackdown 2 with the freedom to hop and drive anywhere and shoot at anyone and anything is a joy. But we did hit some bumps along the way, and they weren't just the corpses of Freaks lying in the road.

Bounding from building to building is an entertaining experience, but not all the time due to the looseness of the controls. The Crackdown gameplay style carries over to Crackdown 2. While a good thing for fans it also means you’ll often find yourself mistiming jumps owing to the looseness of the jittery directional controls.

Later on in the game the only way to reach our mission was to hop across narrow pipes, which we often missed, forcing us to swim back up and try again. It’s even worse when you’ve just scaled a massive mountain only to reach the edge and find it difficult to steady yourself. Of course you’ll get better the more you play, but some will find the controls in Crackdown 2 a little loose.

Likewise automatic targeting presents another minor issue. You’ll often find yourself faced with multiple enemies. It’s easy to lock onto one, but not necessarily the one you wanted – using up valuable seconds while you take more unnecessary damage.

Our biggest complaint is that after the first few hours Crackdown 2 feels repetitive. The core gameplay revolves around jumping, driving or flying to your objectives and then doing it all over again. That said, Die-hard Crackdown fans will be pleased to know that the same gameplay remains, and hey, isn't that what makes Rockstar's games so great?

Read the rest of our Crackdown 2 review now
Crackdown 2 review
Crackdown 2 review: Things to do in Pacific City
Crackdown 2 review: New weapons, gadgets and vehicles

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  2. Crackdown 2 review
  3. Crackdown 2 review: Things to do in Pacific City

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