Facebook, Sony and Google get head start into virtual reality.

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For years people have tried to simulated real life experiences using immersion head mounted displays. This task has been more than daunting up until now. The challenges of virtual reality is that any kind of lag cannot be forgiven as users would literally throw up for the dizziness they would experience.

Stimulating all parts of the user’s brain at accordingly is what makes virtual reality very herculean. Millions of tiny details have to be taken into consideration. Sadly, unlike video games, “good” is not good enough, the bar starts at “great” and doesn’t even stop at “perfect” it goes beyond.

Hope for virtual reality was awoken when Palmer of OculusVR designed a head mounted display that was almost good. It was the best theat had been shown at conferences and expos in a long time. Mark Zuckerberg must have loved it so much as Facebook acquired it for $2 billion in cars and Facebook stocks. The OculusVR Rift as it is named promises a lot to the world of virtual reality. Two versions of developing kits have been released and sold and developers have been working on it for sometime now.

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Sony has always had an eye for innovative technology and they are among the new entrants into what I would like to call the virtual reality renaissance. With Project Morpheus, Sony is working on bringing a model that carries their fine taste in design and immersion gaming.

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Google ventured into the world of virtual reality but they did not come alone. They came with an army of developers and they made this possible by ensuring that virtual reality developer kits are as inexpensive as can be. Take a look at their inexpensive Google cardboard. It is easy to assemble, disassemble and reassemble. Virtually any one can venture in to virtual reality using this kit.

Google takes GUIs to another level with material design.

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Yes I love flat design, but I always thought it was overly simplistic. While I appreciated the beauty, my brain had issues every now and then trying to wrap itself around the functionality. By combining skeuomorphism and flat design in a way that is titillating to our eyes into “Material Design” Google is finally taking care of that.

“Our material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by our study of ink and paper, yet open to imagination and magic.”

In reality, life is not really flat. We are all too used to the concept of depth. Flat design obliterates that part of our lives and Google is putting it back. It is high time GUI designs learnt a thing or two from the world around us.
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“surfaces and edges provide visual cues that are grounded in our experience of reality.”

It is the world we are used to, only more colourful, more seamless, dazzling and functional. Objects combine to create a theatrical performance while you work or play.

“the fundamentals of light, surface and movement are key to conveying how objects interact

Life has depth and depth is brought about by light coming from different angles and how objects interact with themselves. This is a very intricate part f ur lives and material design brings it to life.

“A single underlying design system organized interactions and space.”

In reality we combine materials to create productivity, Material Design brings that to our mobile screens, with more than enough space to avoid clutter.

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“Bold design creates hierarchy, meaning and focus. Deliberate colour choices, edge-to-edge imagery, large scale typography, and intentional white space creates immersion and clarity.”

Nothing is left to chance as with our real life. Everything is deliberate, purposeful and intentional. It’s a perfect mix of beauty and functionality.

“The emphasis makes core functionality immediately apparent and provides waypoints for the user.”
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Material Design does a lot, but just enough so that the user still feels in control. It guides The user while letting the user lead at the same time. Talk about respect.

“Motions that cascade from Touch respects and reinforces the user as the prime mover.”

Fluidity is key. From one transition to another it continually blows your mind, leaving you baffled and utterly amazed in glorious wonder.

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“Objects are presented to the user without breaking the continuity of experience even as they transform and reorganize.”

Responsiveness. Users want instant feedback. Microseconds of latency and we begin to get irritated. Material Design is provides this feedback without yelling.

“Feedback is subtle yet clear. Transitions are efficient yet coherent.”

Material Design is the future of design. It is all we could ever want, at least for today.

“Design is the art of considered creation. A visual language that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science. This is material design”

Material Design is not just a mix of flat design nddrop shadows. It is your phone screen come alive. Even something as simple as a calculator looks ridiculously good. With plenty of space, you can almost feel the fresh air go though your nostrils. It would leave iOS users drooling with jealousy.

Is Google out-innovating Apple?

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June 2014 was as eventful month as Apple and Google announced to us what we could expect come the end of this year. Over the years, Apple has always had the edge when it comes to innovation and design. Apple has always maintained a standard set by late, former CEO, Steve Jobs. From hardware to software Apple has always set the standard for others to follow or copy, much to their chagrin. – Samsung our eyes are in you.
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If the recent announcements are anything to go by, if we are to make a comparison of announces side by side, it may begin to appear that Google is overtaking Apple. Most of the inclusions and improvements that Apple announced have been on Android for quite a while. Apple is expanding its walled garden to be more friendly to developers. Apparently, the company with the most developers win and so Apple is doing all its can to lure developers, something that Google has almost perfected long ago with its open source platform and very attractive play store.

Google’s Android Auto beats Apple’s CarPlay hands down, especially with Google Maps which trumps apples map. Google is also going far and wide, developing a killer version of Android OS while still working on a low cost version for low income earners. Google has already also had a head start into the world of virtual reality with cardboard. One area Google had always lacked was design, with “material design”, however, Google is giving all of its product one pleasant look. The implication of this is that users would find it comfortable to work and play around the same comfortable and familiar territory making them more loyal to Google.

Today, we can only cross our fingers, leaving developers and designers to do their work. Come September when the products would be released we shall see how they stand against each other.

Could the Fire phones dynamic perspective woo developers?

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Amazon fire phone taunts three features that make it unique from every other phone in the world, firefly, dynamic perspective and mayday. Of these three features dynamic perspective seems to bear a lot of potential. In a way Amazon has brought 3D imagery to our phones, a feat, even apple has been unable to accomplish. Using four infra-red cameras placed on the edges of the phone, the fire phone is able to determine the position of the user’s head and adjust the image accordingly to provide a 3D image of the object.

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For developers working on 3D apps (especially games) this feature becomes particularly interesting as the idea of running a 3D game on a fire phone is very enticing. Hopefully we expect to see improved versions of fire phones that take into consideration, remarks from critic and customer satisfaction. With these in place, app developers might after all find a safe haven in fire OS.

Why would you use Android Auto?

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Google announced its own car infotainment system at the kickoff of 2014 Google I/O. It’s going to be coming later this year with lots of cool features like voice control and a very beautiful interface. Android Auto as it was called is not mere gimmicks and no functionality. It is not just a Google rendition of the already existing “dumb” infotainment systems present in cars today. It goes beyond that. It gives Apple a run for their CarPlay money and even does more. All you have to do is plug your phone to the device console and you are on your way to enjoying the following;

1. Navigation.
Android Auto comes with Google maps making for a fulfilling experience, almost always you are bound to locate your destination with it. That alone is all the plus you need.

2. Controls.
Android Auto has been optimized for voice. This means you can do almost all you have to do without taking your hands off the road. You can find out about destinations, like, opening hours of a diner and get directions to the place by saying “go there” without having to repeat the full name of the place.
Screen touch that is more intuitive than all others you may have seen before. It is not just a touch screen, it is “Material Design”, Google’s new look, which makes it easier for you to do much more at a glance.

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3. Media and messaging.
Android Auto comes with music and Messaging features, hopefully not video. Users can scan their music library for songs to play and listen to radio using this feature. Messages can be read and responses dictated using the inbuilt voice control system.

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Google has already partnered with lots of car makers in the Open Automotive Alliance to bring Android Auto to new cars. Expect to see them later this year. Moreso, developers have been brought on board too, to commence app development for the device.

Apple entices developers with iOS 8.

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Huge for developers. Massive for everyone else. Those are tempting words used to describe apples latest OS release on the OS 8 page of the Apple website. I seriously cannot wait for September’s to have a feel of the OS. Whether or not a new phone would be released is up to speculation. As for now Apple has our minds occupied with the OS 8 and what it can do.

On the user end there’s a lot the iOS 8 was announced to be capable of from Touch ID, seamless integration between apple devices to a health app that can communicate with your fitness trainer app and your doctor. For real, your doctor. Notifications become interactive so you can do much more with your notifications even when your screen is locked. The keyboard becomes smarter, capable of making intelligent guesses and predictions for the first time on iOS.

Did I mention seamless integration? Let me elaborate. With Handoff you can now pick up on your ipad from where u left off on your iphone without overlaps with so much ease. What if you do not have Internet? Keep calm, there’s Instant Hotspot. Family sharing allows you share apps, music, books and more with upto 5 other members of your family. Messaging just took another dimension as you can now embed voice messages within a message. Typing predictions are tailored to adjust tone from casual and relaxed in texts and chats to formal in emails. Plus the keyboard mentioned earlier learns your contacts so it can spell them correctly. Cool right.

In the typical Apple way, that is not all, there’s still a lot more waiting to be discovered in the iOS 8 and we cannot wait. Developers, however have laid their hands on the iOS 8 and they are typing away code so as to be able to have their apps ready just in time for launch date.

PayPal in Nigeria – The Good The Bad And The What Have You.

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On a personal note, whenever I had to do one transaction or the other online and it had to be difficult or impossible for me only because I was a Nigerian in Nigeria it felt like an injustice. Failed transaction after failed transaction I hated PayPal more and more. Barely a week after the change.org petition PayPal flew to Nigeria. Whether or not there was a correlation I do not know. The fact is they are here now, so what next.

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The good. I can now pay for themes and products online with much ease as soon as I am done setting up my account. My Web developer and application designer friends would love this as they can now do more jobs for more money with more ease online. Although they are yet to provide us with all their features there is so much that we all can do now than before. Ecommerce would have overcome another major hustle in Nigeria and online shopping would attain an all time high soon.

The bad. To those that rose up to provide us with solutions before now, what becomes of them? This is a major point to consider because it cripples locals who are trying to provide solutions to our personal problems. People are going to worry that as soon as they invest in a solution, one giant would come from nowhere to invade the market they had just found.

The What have you. Mixed reactions have trailed the coming of PayPal to Nigeria. While some decry the petition saying PayPal is not the most customer friendly of services, others claim their arrival is much needed at least to provide competition. Competition, they hope will make the other players in the game buckle down.

Will wearable tech ever be trendy.

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As Google continues working on its ground breaking Google glass, Apple Inc. is rumoured to be working on their own brand of wearable tech. Google and Apple are not the only companies working on such products, Samsung, Huawei and a host of other companies have even made entries into the wearable tech market. From eyewear to wrist bands, smart watches, rings, necklaces and shoes. Everyone is working towards making our planet smart and fashion is not being left out.

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From one release to another one trend still remains, the geekiness that these product bear. Yes, recently nerd became the new cool, but there is only an amount of nerdiness that people are willing to wear. If wearable tech is going to pick up and gain ground among users a lot of factors have to be considered. It is no longer a question of long hours of high end programming but of design and user comfort. Never in history would tech designs be about outlook as it will when it comes to wearable tech.

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If I am going to step out in Google glass, an Apple watch a smart ring and the likes, I would want it to look as good as or even better than what I have been used to. Comfort and durability would also be important factors to consider. I would not want a product that feels uncomfortable or breaks easily – those things are going to cost money. Functionality also is going to be key. What is the point designing wearable tech if it does only little. In all wearable tech should be designed and developed to make our lives easier.

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The Amazing World Of 3D Printers.

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Say goodbye to the days of continuous modelling and remodelling. Bid farewell to imperfectly formed designs. Embrace a whole new world of 3D printing. You’ve probably heard of it. Almost certainly you took it with a little bit of skepticism. Today, all your doubts are about to be cleared. 3D printing is real and it works like magic. As simple as ABC, you can input your settings into the printer, enter the settings and there you have it. From plastic toys to metal tools and human organs. Yes human organs! You can print virtually anything.

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing that produces objects by continuously adding layers upon layers of material following a set of input instructions. That is an over simplified explanation but it should give you an idea of what it entails. You need to have a 3D printer and the materials ready and printing is set to begin. The beauty of 3D printing is in the enormous applications it has. From organ replacement in health care, to model designing in building and architecture and general product manufacturing. The list is endless.

Imagine seeing a product online and all you have to do is click a button and it begins to print out of your 3D printer. Now that’s awesome. 3D printing ting is still in its very early stages and as such we can only wait till it becomes a household name. Developers and designers alike are definitely working on all ends to see to it that we have the best of what 3D printing has to offer.

AppleTV vs GoogleTV

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First, it was with smart phones, then tablets and now televisions, the competition between Google and Apple for spaces in our lives gets even fiercer. Unlike the proverbial grass, the users are not necessarily suffering, in fact they are enjoying the intriguing innovations. As our TVs get a makeover which could see them become smarter than they used to be, the biggest challenge that lies in front of us is, which one do we choose? These TVs have been designed to go the extra mile, they can integrate with our phones providing us a more satisfying user experience. They can access Websites and Web applications even stream YouTube videos. They are truly smart TVs.

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As simple as that task may seem, it can be quite a job, especially for people with no loyalties to either party. Choosing between an Android TV and an AppleTV should not be a mere gamble. If you are looking to purchase any of these devices I take it you already own a phone or tablet from one of them and that would influence your choice. If you own any of apple’s iPads or iphones you may want to get an AppleTV, if on the other hand you use an android tablet or phone then a GoogleTV would look very good on your wall.

A look at the near future could also help. In the near future which would you like to buy? A phone or tablet from apple or Google? Your answer to that should spur you in the direction to go with your TV. The whole idea is, as much a secure possible try to have similar products. Why? Synchronization, compatibility and other value added features. I’m almost sure your AppleTV would be dumb and lonely if you surround it with Google products but to will come alive if you have an ipad or iphone just around the corner for it to interact with. Yes interact! These products are being designed to interact with each other such that you can sync your data from one device to another seamlessly. If they are not of the same maker, they would be incompatible making them unable to interact, denying you a wealth of added features.