Vortex teaches kids to code using robotics

Earlier today I posted a piece to The Hackfest about a junior hackathon called 'JHack' which teaches kids to code using Minecraft. The hackathon was successful because it allowed students to see the impact their skills could have straight away rather than sitting through an (often tedious) coding lecture. 

As the world around us becomes taken-over with technology, it's become...

By Ryan Daws, 09 July 2015, 2 comments. Categories: Development Tools, Devices, Industry.

Xbox One: The Windows 10 Advantage

The desktop PC is upgradable to provide unparalleled performance; but Microsoft has neglected to nurture it for years and left PC game developers with aging graphics APIs and players to use Steam as their platform of choice to connect with fellow gamers. 

Microsoft's new Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, had a presence on the PC gaming E3 conference this year and acknowledged: "There have been times in our past where Microsoft has lost our way with PC gaming. As a person who now runs gaming for...

By Ryan Daws, 17 June 2015, 1 comment. Categories: Devices, Ecosystem, Gaming, Microsoft, Platforms.

Interview: What does the industry think about Oculus / Xbox and the future of VR?

(Image Credit: Oculus)

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, took attendees by surprise when he took to the stage during Oculus' pre-E3 live stream to announce a partnership between the two huge brands. There are plenty of opinion articles surrounding the announcements - but we thought we would get the thoughts from two people within the VR industry. 

For this interview we spoke to Dan Page, Organiser of the South West VR Conference, and Lukas Roper, Lead Developer at

By Ryan Daws, 12 June 2015, 1 comment. Categories: Devices, Gaming, Industry, Microsoft, Platforms, VR, Wearables.

I/O 2015: Internet of (Google's) Things

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/juniorbeep)

We've talked time-and-time again about the Internet of Things, but it's yet to gain a major uptake from your average consumer. One of the most prevalent devices to hit the market is likely to be the Nest smart thermostat - which is incidentally owned by Google. 

Google therefore, with one swift acquisition, became one of the leaders in the Internet of Things...

By Ryan Daws, 22 May 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, IoT, Platforms.

Opinion: This is how Microsoft is changing the world

Microsoft celebrated their 40th anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion Bill Gates sent a motivating letter to employees. It started with: "Early on, Paul Allen and I set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home. It was a bold idea and a lot of people thought we were out of our minds to imagine it was possible." 

Beyond proving that goal was just possible, Microsoft's software moved out of our homes and off our desks to power a variety of things such as healthcare...

By Ryan Daws, 30 April 2015, 0 comments. Categories: C#, Devices, Ecosystem, Industry, Microsoft, Platforms, VR.

MicroApple: Apple and Microsoft announce merger

Historic rivals, Microsoft and Apple, have announced they are planning to merge later this year. Their first project is to move all employees to a new space-based orb in order to offer services "from the space" rather than "from the cloud" like other common firms with less money.

One of the first new services to be offered will be 'Office Death Ray 365' to annihilate your competition no matter what day of the year (except leap years.)

It appears the two companies have...

By Ryan Daws, 01 April 2015, 1 comment. Categories: Apple, Devices, Industry, iOS, Microsoft.

Things to consider when developing for various form factors

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/Believe_In_Me)

With the fast-paced developments in online and information technologies, software has become an inseparable part of our everyday lives. We carry around a world of information in our pocket, which we can access instantly. For many people, not a day goes by without interacting with a UI to get something done. Whether it’s the consumption or communication of information, we want that software to run smoothly...

By Philipp Benkler, 23 March 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, Mobile, Tablet, Testing.

Research: Smartphone apps are just as accurate as wearables

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/Prykhodov)

Despite their popularity, wearables will not be able to replace smartphones anytime soon. A study by the researchers of the University of Penn Medicine revealed that the applications on smartphones are as accurate as the health tracking features of wearable devices.

The research was undertaken with 14 participants who tested 10 of the best-selling...

By Jenni Birch, 11 March 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Platforms, Testing, Wearables.

Apple Watch: What about the developers?

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the Apple Watch, most of which should be answered during today's "Spring Forward" event at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.

From a developer's perspective, there are a lot of questions which should have been answered by now in order to prepare. When the original iPhone was launched, there was no support for third party applications. This allowed developers to get a feel for the device, and when the SDK arrived you could run the code on an actual physical device.

With the Apple Watch, developers are going in blind. This leads to speculation that support for third-party apps might, as...

By Ryan Daws, 09 March 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, Devices, iOS, Platforms, Wearables.

MWC15: Eye-tracking with The Eye Tribe's SDK

Eye-tracking is cool, but products we've used in the past have been too inaccurate or slow for practical usage in games and applications. The Eye Tribe is a company which specialises in the technology, and a demo we received at Mobile World Congress this week proves their expertise.

Language tutorials for the SDK are available for C#, C++, and Java.

Our experience started with a game which a lot of people with a smartphone will be familiar with, Fruit...

By Ryan Daws, 06 March 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, C#, Devices, Gaming.

GDC15: Nvidia SHIELD could face a problem from Sony

During GDC 2015, Nvidia took to the stage to announce a console which completes their 'SHIELD' line-up of gaming hardware. The set-top box is powered by the state-of-the-art Tegra X1, it has 50 blockbuster PC titles ported to it at launch, it can stream PC games via Nvidia's GRID service, it can run Android games, it's just $199, and it could face a problem from Sony.

The main allure to gamers...

By Ryan Daws, 05 March 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Cloud, Devices, Gaming.

Degrees of intimacy: Tablet, phablet, smartphone and wearable

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/onurdongel)

By JP Luchetti, Consultancy Director, Mubaloo

According to a 2002 book called ‘The Mobile Phone: Towards new categories and social relations’ by Leopoldina Fortunati, an Italian feminist, theorist and author, the mobile phone is one of the most intimate devices we have.

Since then, the definition of mobile now includes a variety of different device types, including tablet, smartphone, phablet and wearable. Each...

By Mubaloo, 03 March 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, Industry, iOS, Wearables.

Opinion: IFTTT has just provided the universal IoT remote

IFTTT (If This Then That) introduced a range of 'Do' apps yesterday; Do Button, Do Camera, and Do Note. Each of these help to perform a specific function - of which their simplistic names might suggest - but it is the Do Button application which has the most potential.

The biggest issue with the IoT at the moment is the lack of a winning standard or leading platform

Do...

By Ryan Daws, 20 February 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, iOS, IoT, Platforms, Wearables.

Review: YotaPhone 2's E-Ink display is a game-changer

Since the original iPhone changed the way we interact with our smartphones back in 2007, we've seen iterative updates year-on-year from all manufacturers. Russian startup, Yota Devices, are attempting to disrupt how we interact with our devices through an E-Ink display on the back of their devices which provides "always-on" information to the user. 

The device was used to test the market to gauge interest, and it gained plenty of attention. Now the innovative manufacturer...

By Ryan Daws, 13 February 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Development Tools, Devices.

Ubuntu's first smartphone takes on Windows Phone

Ubuntu, the world's most popular Linux distro, is bringing its open-source expertise to mobile with the launch of its first smartphone. The device will be hitting the European market next week as the 'Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition' for €169.90, and is manufactured by Spain-based BQ.

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, attempted to break the smartphone market once before with the 'Ubuntu Edge' but failed its $32 million crowdfunding campaign. At the time, Canonical...

By Ryan Daws, 06 February 2015, 1 comment. Categories: Devices, HTML5, Platforms.

Canalys: Tablet shipments decline 12% due to phablets

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/MaksiMages)

During Apple's last event, I watched with particular interest at how Cupertino planned to upgrade the iPad Mini. As executives left the stage, I was left disappointed that its sole change was the addition of a 'TouchID' fingerprint scanner.

This frustrated me for a while, the iPad Mini was a device I carried with me everywhere, but as the months went past...

By Ryan Daws, 05 February 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Industry, Phablet, Tablet.

Windows 10 is free for 6x more powerful Raspberry Pi 2

(Image Credit: RaspberryPi)

The successor to the world's favourite tiny computer, Raspberry Pi, has defied Moore's Law which predicts the amount of transistors on a processor chip will double every couple of years. In fact, the Pi v2 has six times the processing performance of its predecessor thanks to a new quad-core ARMv7 processor running at 900 MHz.

We've witnessed the "stripped-down computer" become a credit card-sized PC which can stand on its own and deliver some admirable...

By Ryan Daws, 02 February 2015, 1 comment. Categories: Devices, IoT, Microsoft, Platforms, Testing.

Bluetooth 4.2 wants to be "the foundation for the IoT"

As I write this article, there is one technology which is providing a constant link between my smartphone and my smartwatch. Bluetooth's Special Interest Group (SIG) has advanced the standard and its capabilities far-beyond what anyone could have imagined at its conception, but it's not finished yet...

As we move into the age where we're criticised for not connecting a device to the internet, the amount of devices connected to one another will grow exponentially. At the same time, we're just as...

By Ryan Daws, 03 December 2014, 1 comment. Categories: Devices, IoT, Security.

Windows Phone 8.1 cracks 50% marketshare

The good news is that the latest and greatest version of Microsoft's mobile OS has reached 50% of the Windows Phone market, according to AdDuplex. The bad news is that Windows Phone still accounts for less than 10% of the entire smartphone market in most countries...

Android still dominates in terms of overall marketshare, but where Google's OS fails is in getting their latest OS onto even the latest flagship handsets from the myriad of OEMs who...

By Ryan Daws, 28 November 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Industry, Microsoft, Platforms.