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Inside Out: The Future of the Cell Phone February 21, 2010

Posted by Eli Blumenthal in Cell Phones, Opinion.
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From time to time, we’ll provide our thoughts as to where we think the industry is going, particularly as it relates to teens. We’re calling these posts, Inside Out, because we’ll be looking from where we sit into the outside world.

The future of the cell phone: the Windows Phone 7 Series, iPhone 3GS, BlackBerry Curve 8530, Palm Pre Plus and the Nexus One

Cell phones. We live by them. They’re by our sides 24/7, wherever we are. They are our ways of connecting with the world, through texts, IM’s, or just regular calls. Getting a new one is no longer just picking up a free phone, it’s a choice of style and design. Do we want a full keyboard, something that has a good camera and music player, a simple phone that doesn’t cost much, or something completely loaded with all of the latest features? The choices are endless, no matter what carrier you’re on– Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile.

But recently there’s been a major shift in the cell phone market, led by new phones like the iPhone, Pre, BlackBerry, Droid and Nexus One. This is the rise of the smartphone (as those phones are called), phones that no longer just do texts but also email, internet, Facebook and Twitter. These phones are growing rapidly and more and more of us are switching to them when we look for new phones. Let’s take a look at why that is and where this is all leading.


Colorix—Review January 29, 2010

Posted by Eli Blumenthal in Apple, First Look/Reviews.
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There are a lot of great puzzle-like games available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. We recently had a chance to test out a new one called Colorix, a kind of Tetris-Bejeweled mix, and it actually plays pretty well, a great quick game for the bus or killing time.

Made by Mobo Studio, the goal of Colorix is simple— take the sets of 3 colored marbles falling down and try to get match 3 colors together in a row. You can make a row in any direction—horizontally, vertically, and diagonally– and can also get matches in different combos, like having one match lead directly to another. The more matches and combos you get, the more points you accumulate, with the goal to get as many points as you can while avoiding the marbles reaching the top of the screen. Simple, right?

As the marbles fall, you have the power to place the sets of 3 where you want (though they only fall vertically), and while it falls you can either speed up the fall by 2x tapping on the spot you want them to fall (getting you more points), or use swipes to change the order of the marbles. When we first started playing we thought this was way too easy (we picked up the controls pretty easily after playing it a little), but after playing for a little bit, we started to realize a whole bunch of different combinations to get even more points using special marbles (such as Rainbow ones that change after they’re placed—as seen above in the pic). As you get more points and move up to higher levels, the game does also get tougher, with more color combinations and black marbles that stay on the board for a certain amount of turns and block spaces and combinations (as seen in the number 4 marble above).

Gameplay in Colorix is also very smooth, with quick load times and no stuttering during gameplay. The graphics are also surprisingly good for a game like this, with everything looking slick and colorful.

While it isn’t as feature-packed as say a Bejewled or Tetris, Colorix is a solid game for those look for a cheap, fun puzzle game that while not intense, is still very addictive and we’re gonna give Colorix a very good 4 out 5.

Colorix is available now in the App Store for a not too bad price of $1.99 (with a free Colorix Lite version also available now). You can check it out in the App Store here (link opens iTunes)

Eliminate – iPhone Game Review November 11, 2009

Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in First Look/Reviews, Mp3 players and iPods, Video Games.
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Screen shot 2009-11-11 at 11.26.30 AM

Not to be confused with Halo.

And, once again, I return to that wonderful gaming platform, the iPhone/iTouch. That’s right readers, another iGame review. This time, I’m talking about Eliminate Pro, the new online 4-player FPS that just came out. Also, its free. Kinda.

First off, what is Eliminate? As previously mentioned, its a iPhone first-person shooter. The quality of the game is way up there – some of the nicest graphics on the iPhone, especially considering that it’s running online with 4 players. There are 5 maps and a total of 6 weapons, 5 of which need to be unlocked, as do a variety of armor types. Weapon and armor attributes, like rate of fire and speed are also upgradable. You play up to four players online, with a matchmaking system based on skill ratings to provide as fair a match as possible. Private games are also available, which is nice for when you want to play some people you actually know. There is also an offline mode, but it’s somewhat limited, allowing you to play against 3 computer opponents, but it doesn’t allow much customization.

Gameplay is awesome – the maps are pretty small, so the action is pretty frantic, and fun. A variety of powerups, including heath regeneration, invisibility, superspeed, damage increase, and the always fun jet pack are scattered around the maps, adding to the chaos. Controls work well, with your left thumb working movement, and right thumb aiming, with tap to fire. Those used to playing console first person shooters should easily adapt.

So, I mentioned before you need to unlock and upgrade things. And you do that through credits, which you earn through playing games online. And thats where the monetary aspect of the game comes it. The game itself, as I said, is free. But unless you have “energy” while playing, you won’t earn any credits, which are used to unlock weapons, armor, and upgrades. You’re given a free energy recharge every four hours for about 3 games or so, but after that, if you want to play AND earn credits to upgrade (you CAN still play for fun), you need to buy energy through the in-app purchasing system. Personally, I can understand why they run the system this way, since its the only way to support the game and keep it free, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the nickel and diming.

However, even without energy, the game is still fun, and that’s what counts in the end. And since it’s well, free, I suppose I can’t really argue against it. Check it out on iTunes here. (Note: iTunes Link)

What is the Motorola Droid? October 23, 2009

Posted by Eli Blumenthal in Cell Phones.
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If you’ve been watching any TV over the last few days (or any of the amazing Yanks-Angels series), you’ve probably been seeing the above commercial pretty often. This Motorola/Verizon commercial seems to be poking a lot of fun at what the iPhone lacks: a keyboard, a 5 megapixel camera, flash, multitasking, customization, widgets, and removable battery.

This all done in a very iPhone-like ad, the black text on white background and with chilled, fun music in the background. Though the end of the commercial says little of what their new device, the Droid, does or even looks like, other than that you should look forward to November. Well, if you don’t want to wait that long to learn about this exciting new phone, we have all the info and pix right here, and Verizon users– this one’s definitely for you.


iPhone MMS Finally Live!!! September 25, 2009

Posted by Eli Blumenthal in Apple, Cell Phones.
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mms iphone 2

Sending a video– now finally do-able on the iPhone 3G and 3GS

Well, today is September 25th, and if your an AT&T iPhone 3G or 3GS owner you know what that means– we finally get to send pictures, audio and videos from our iPhones (as commenter me pointed out– 3GS only can do video, 3G can only do audio and pix)!!! Yes, something a phone from like 5 years ago could do we can now do!!!

All right, that’s enough excitement. The update is live now and to get it you need to connect your iPhone 3G or 3GS to iTunes, click on “Check for Update” on the iTunes iPhone page, and then download the carrier update. After that, restart your phone (either by turning it on and off or holding down the home and power button for about 10 seconds which restarts it automatically) and then poof– your ready to MMS away. That’s it. Pretty simple, no?

So there you go– MMS on the iPhone is finally here. Sound off with how the update is going for you and how you like the “new” feature in the comments.

Apple Announces Updated iPods, iTunes September 13, 2009

Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in Apple, Mp3 players and iPods.
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apple event

So, Apple’s annual iPod event was this week, and they, as usual announced the latest round of iPods for the Holiday season, as well as a new version of iTunes. So, lets go through it, shall we? (more…)

First Look: Sprint MiFi 2200 September 6, 2009

Posted by Eli Blumenthal in Cell Phones, Computers, First Look/Reviews.
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Sprint MiFi pic 1

The Sprint MiFi 2200

A little while back Sprint (and Verizon) each released a personal, portable WiFi hotspot called the MiFi 2200. The MiFi 2200, made by Novatel Wireless, takes a carrier’s 3G network and lets you use it as a WiFi hotspot where up to 5 WiFi devices can connect simultaneously. Recently we got our hands on one for a little bit, so we knew after testing it out we need to report about it back here. Check out our full first take after the break.


AT&T Bringing MMS to the iPhone 3G and 3GS Sept 25th September 3, 2009

Posted by Eli Blumenthal in Apple, Cell Phones.
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iphone 3g s pic 1

iPhone 3GS– All the above, and now finally MMS

Summer may be coming to a close, but if you own an iPhone 3G or 3GS (sorry first gen iPhone owners, your out of luck here), then great promise lurks on the horizon: AT&T will be following through on their assurance during Apple’s WWDC in June that MMS would arrive to the iPhone at the summer’s end, which, based on what they announced today, appears to be September 25th. So yes, on that eventful day, you will finally be able to do on your iPhone what you could’ve done with a free phone for the last 5 or so years.

What is MMS? Basically, MMS (or Multimedia Messaging Service) is the tech that lets you send videos, audio and pix in a text, as oppossed to SMS– Short Messaging Service– which is just words in a text message. So yeah, it’s definitely something that should’ve been here years ago (I would’ve thought in the first iPhone, if not for sure in the 3G launch, but oh well, beggars can’t be choosers).

However, another highly popularized feature soon coming to the iPhone called “tethering”, enabling you to connect your iPhone to your computer and share the internet connection, will make its opening appearance a bit later than expected, when specfically we’ll let you know when we do. But hey, 1 out of 2 in a day ain’t bad right?

Info from AT&T


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