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Ubisoft suite for Switch

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Ubisoft has announced that Just Dance 2017, Rayman Legends Definitive Edition and Steep will be part of the line-up for Nintendo Switch which will be launched in March 2017.

Ubisoft has been constantly evolving, leading development of exciting games for each new platform launch. For years, Ubisoft and Nintendo have been partnering to deliver original, creative and memorable entertainment gaming experiences.

Nintendo Switch combines the best of two worlds: mobile handheld and traditional at-home console gaming. This new console brings Ubisoft and its teams new opportunities to express their creativity, develop fresh ways to play and push the industry boundaries once again.

“Ubisoft is bringing Just Dance 2017, Rayman Legends Definitive Edition and Steep to the Nintendo Switch. We’re proud to be working closely with Nintendo on this new console, making sure players can enjoy great games on a device that shares the same philosophy as these games: great accessibility and the ability to bring people together”, said Xavier Poix, Managing Director, Ubisoft’s French Studios. “These three games are just the beginning; we will share more about other exciting projects for Nintendo Switch at a later date.”

Just Dance 2017 – Dancing with anyone – anywhere, anytime

Just Dance 2017 will be the first Ubisoft game released for Nintendo Switch at launch. The chart-topping dance track, “How Deep Is Your Love” by Calvin Harris & Disciples, will be available as an exclusive track for Nintendo Switch owners via Just Dance Unlimited.* This hit song joins 40 tracks already available in the game, including “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Lean On” by Major Lazer Ft. MØ & DJ Snake, brand-new hits like “Don’t Wanna Know” by Maroon 5, party favourites like “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé and classics like “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. Nintendo Switch players will also have three months of free access to Just Dance Unlimited, the dance-on-demand subscription streaming service, which offers more than 200 additional songs and access to exclusive tracks, with new hit songs added all the time.

More accessible than ever, Just Dance 2017 can now be played anywhere, with up to six players at the same time using a Joy-Con controller, or by using the Just Dance Controller app (which turns your smartphone into a controller).

Rayman Legends Definitive Edition – Exploring Rayman’s legendary worlds

Players’ all-time favourite, Rayman, is back in the game thanks to Rayman Legends Definitive Edition, the ultimate version of the critically acclaimed Rayman Legends created by Michel Ancel. This edition includes all the game’s traditional features, such as Kung Foot, plus some brand-new surprises. Nintendo’s history has included the Rayman brand since the franchise’s beginning, with titles such as Rayman Advance for Game Boy Advance, Rayman 2 The Great Escape for Nintendo 64 and Rayman Raving Rabbids for the launch of Wii.

Rayman, Globox and the Teensies are off wandering through an enchanted forest when they discover a mysterious tent filled with a series of captivating paintings. As they look closer, they notice each painting seems to tell the story of a different mythical world. While focusing on a painting that shows a medieval land, they are suddenly sucked into the painting, entering the world, and the adventure begins. The gang must run, jump and fight their way through each world to save the day and discover the secrets of every legendary painting.

Steep – Experiencing action sports in the beautiful open-world of the Alps

In Steep, players drop in to the Alps and ski, snowboard, wingsuit and paraglide through the game’s massive open-world playground, filled with great activities and views. Developed by Ubisoft Annecy, Steep is designed for a culture that’s all about sharing experiences with the world. Steep features seamless multiplayer, populating the world with players as they naturally explore the Alps. Players and friends across the globe can take on challenges together or compete with each other to snag the top spot on the leaderboard. The open-world of Steep will be further enriched by the majestic slopes of Alaska in a free update available this year.

*“How Deep Is Your Love” by Calvin Harris & Disciples is available through Just Dance Unlimited and can be accessed either via the free trial or by subscribing. The track will be available for all platforms later this year.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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