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Nintendo lifts lid on Switch

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Nintendo has recently unveiled the Switch, a tablet-like gaming console that enables users to play on a variety of different devices depending on their preference.|Nintendo has recently unveiled the Switch, a tablet-like gaming console that enables users to play on a variety of different devices depending on their preference.

Nintendo has provided the first glimpse of its new home gaming system, a tablet-like device to be called Nintendo Switch.

In addition to providing single-player and multiplayer use at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the functionality of a home gaming system to enable new video game play styles.

At home, Nintendo Switch rests in a Nintendo Switch dock that connects the console to a TV and lets one play with family and friends in the comfort of a living room. By lifting the Nintendo Switch console from the dock, it transitions to handheld mode, and the same gaming experience now travels with the user. The portability of Nintendo Switch is enhanced by its bright, high-definition display. It brings the full home gaming system experience to venues like a park, on a train, in a car, or a friend’s apartment.

Gaming is initiated by removing detachable Joy-Con controllers from either side of the Nintendo Switch console. One player can use a Joy-Con controller in each hand; two players can each take one; or multiple Joy-Con controllers can be employed by numerous people for a variety of gameplay options. They click back into place or can be slipped into a Joy-Con grip accessory, mirroring a more traditional controller. The gamer can select an optional Nintendo Switch Pro Controller to use instead of the Joy-Con controllers. It is also possible for numerous people to bring their Nintendo Switch consoles together to enjoy local multiplayer face-to-face competition.

“With this first look at Nintendo Switch, I hope fans are already imagining the possibilities of having the freedom to play when, where, and how they want to,” said Satoru Shibata, president of Nintendo of Europe. “Our teams at Nintendo, and many other developers, are all working hard to create new and unique experiences, and we look forward to showing you more.”

Developers can design their games supporting a variety of play styles which allows gamers to choose an experience that best suits them. Some of the publishers, developers and middleware partners announcing support for Nintendo Switch are as follows:

• 505 Games
• Activision Publishing, Inc.
• ARC SYSTEM WORKS Co.,Ltd.
• ATLUS CO.,LTD.
• Audiokinetic Inc.
• Autodesk, Inc
• BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
• Bethesda
• CAPCOM CO., LTD.
• Codemasters®
• CRI Middleware Co., Ltd.
• Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
• LEVEL-5 Inc.
• Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
• Telltale Games
• THQ Nordic
• Tokyo RPG Factory Co., Ltd.
• TT Games
• UBISOFT
• Ubitus Inc.
• Unity Technologies, Inc.
• Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
• Web Technology Corp.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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