Newsletter February 2012

Featured Apps

Blippar: killer of the QR code?

As the 21st century trundles along, it is becoming increasingly clear that the 20th century really was rather rubbish. With its 2D televisions and single-function mobile devices it's hard to conceive how we managed to survive in such a technologically defunct age. I mean, back in ye olde times, if you looked at an object you'd see it exactly as it is. Imagine that. Now, of course, we have the third dimension – or "Blippar" to those of us in the know.

Unfortunately, this new technology looks to render the much hyped QR code somewhat redundant, its short reign making it the proverbial Mini-Disc Player of the digital marketing world. But trying to explain what Blippar actually does is it a bit like trying to explain the internet – the possibilities are limitless. And, seeing as the app is still in its infancy, its capabilities are for the most part unknown. Blippar describes itself as a "free magic lens enhancing the world around you with virtual, instant information and entertainment". Uh huh. Suffice to say, Blippar has given ad executives a whole new medium to experiment with.

If you 'Blipp' an advert for the new Omega watch, for example, you get to see how it would look on your wrist. KitKat have just spent a vast amount of money on a new Blippar campaign, whereby the user can vote for their favourite of four new Kit Kat Chunky flavours. Information might appear augmented over real world images, you might be presented with a web link to Facebook or even receive a free download. While this sounds great, in practice Blippar has a long way to go yet. Alas, having spent the last half an hour looking for objects to 'Blipp' around town, I was defeated. Still, it is only a matter of time before all the major companies jump on the bandwagon. I personally can't wait to see what John Lewis has in store. Marks and Spencer's will probably have us eating our screens.

But for now, watch this space… (and then 'blipp' it!)

Angry Birds: IN SPACE?

Yes, we know! Of course you've heard of Angry Birds! If you haven't, I'm surprised you even managed to switch the computer on. Well done. But to those who have, we promise we're not wasting your time. We have some rather exciting, breaking news to share with you about our favourite angry avian friends.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only way to improve on an already excellent formula is to throw space into the mix (see the Muppets). The developers at Rovio clearly understand this principle, and that is why the next Angry Bird instalment will see them battling egg-pilfering pigs in the great unknown. Each bird will have a superhero superpower. One of them can freeze rock, another is laser-guided. And there are full orbits to deal with as well as your basic gravity. Clearly, they're on to another winner.

Angry birds also made its debut on Facebook this week. Considering 30 million people have Facebook accounts, and 30 million people currently play Angry Birds, if it's the same 30 million the UK economy is in trouble. It is telling that 12% of people who've downloaded Angry Birds went on to delete it as they found it "too addicting". If you happen to be one of those people, then DEFINITELY avoid this next game…

Temple Run: more addictive than our angry avian friends?

This game is, quite simply, brilliant – and crucially for an app, addicting in equal measure. For a start, it's free, although this might not be the case for very much longer. In essence, it's a running platform game. The aim is to avoid crashing into trees, to jump over crevices, and duck under plumes of fire all the while trying to avoid the evil clutches of zombie gorillas. What the game lacks in realism, it more than makes up for in pure unbridled fun.

You also have the opportunity to collect coins which you can use to unlock a variety of different upgrades and skillsets. There are also 6 unlockable characters and a few other extras than can be used midgame. Once you've unlocked all these upgrades, the longevity rests in beating certain objectives – run 10,000 metres for example – and in beating your friend's high scores (mine is 3,163,642 – beat that!).

In terms of success, it currently tops the iPhone app store list and its celebrity fans are growing in number. Indeed, Rick Santorum recently abandoned Angry Birds in favour of the comparatively more addictive, and time consuming, Temple Run whilst on his campaign trail – which probably explains why Mitt Romney is beating him in the polls. If Obama gets wind of it, we can almost certainly look forward to a Republican presidency.

But enough of that, I've got a high score to beat…
More app reviews next month.

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