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Skylanders gets Switched

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Activision Publishing has announced that Skylanders Imaginators will be ready to meet the next wave of gamers when the Nintendo Switch launches in March 2017. 

This March also marks the debut of some of Skylanders Imaginators’ most anticipated characters, as well as a brand-new expansion pack. Now Portal Masters all over the world can engage in new content, toys and experiences with the award-winning Skylanders Imaginators this spring!

No Portal of Power? No problem with Nintendo Switch. Skylanders Imaginators for Nintendo Switch provides gamers unique ways to play, including the introduction of a vast digital library that allows players to easily load and store 300+ toys from the Skylanders franchise directly to the new home gaming system.  The arrival of the digital library empowers players to take their Skylanders Imaginators adventure on-the-go whenever and however they want.

“Since the launch of the Skylanders Imaginators and Skylanders Creator, fans have made more than 25 million Imaginators using the expansive creation tools in the game and app. We couldn’t be more excited to extend that experience to Nintendo Switch players,” said Paul Reiche, co-founder and studio head, Toys for Bob. “We’ve seen some amazing Skylanders created, and as kids’ collections continue to grow, we’re proud to offer more depth and variety to fans in ways never before possible with this new system.”

“Skylanders Imaginators has ignited the imaginations of fans everywhere, and we’re looking forward to continuing to support their gameplay experiences with Nintendo Switch, along with new toys and content coming this year,” said Josh Taub, senior vice president of Skylanders Product Management, Activision. “There are now more than 300 million Skylanders toys in the hands of fans², which equates to nearly two toys sold every second since Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure launched.  And with the new season of the animated series Skylanders Academy slated for Netflix this fall, we are thrilled that fans can enjoy playing, watching and creating Skylanders no matter where they are.”

Building on the franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience, Skylanders Imaginators pushes the boundaries of innovation and imagination with the upcoming release of the Cursed Tiki Temple level pack. The Cursed Tiki Temple level pack takes kids on an all-new adventure as they unlock more than 100 new offerings for their Skylanders Imaginators – a first in franchise history! The pack comes with Sensei character Wild Storm who will unleash a new level to players; a life Creation Crystal; and an Imaginite Mystery Chest all for the suggested retail price of $29.99 on March 12 at participating retailers nationwide.

Skylanders Imaginators gives kids an unprecedented level of choice — including appearance, powers, abilities, names, catchphrases, musical themes and much more — to create the most unique Skylanders characters they can imagine.  This spring, fans can also be on the lookout for the arrival of new heroes in the world of Skylanders Imaginators, including Skylanders Sensei Grave Clobber. Once a great pharaoh who ruled the Golden Desert long ago, Grave Clobber was buried by his seven jealous brothers in an underwater tomb while he was sleeping.  He eventually rose from his watery grave, clobbered each of his brothers and became the perfect choice to be a Sensei trainer for the Brawler Class. This mummy may surprise you with his range of powers, packing a serious punch as well as telekinetic powers!

The game is rated 6+ by the PEGI system. The Cursed Tiki Temple level pack and new Skylanders Senseis will support all major gaming platforms including Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Wii U system; Xbox 360 and Xbox One video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft; and PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 computer entertainment systems. Skylanders Creator is a free app that players can download from iOS and Android app stores for select mobile devices. For more Skylanders information, visit: www.skylanders.com.

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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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