"Coffee Messenger" the First Touch-Based Smart Messaging App for Google’s Android Wear

Coffee Messenger App

Awear is a wearables startup and yesterday they announced “Coffee Messenger” a free app for Android Wear that lets you text from your smartwatch.

Some of the benefits of the app are that it’s FREE in Google Play! :) It also has hundreds of customizable messages you can send with a swipe of the finger such as “Meet me for coffee” or “Running late…see you at home.”. And you don’t need to pull out your phone to see who’s texting, this is a great user experience. You can just flick your wrist to respond to the SMS. I also like that you can customize vibrations so you know who’s trying to get your attention.

Coffee for Android Wear is free and available today at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.awear.coffee. The app works on the popular smartwatches Samsung Gear Live, LG G Watch, LG G Watch R, Sony SmartWatch 3, Asus ZenWatch and Moto 360.

Gadgets / Devices

China’s Holiday Schedule 2015 Infographic

Courtesy of Lost Laowai / Discovered the graphic via China Law Blog

Keep track of China’s holiday schedule is always a challenge for me, i’ll be referring back to this graphic throughout the year.

China Holiday Schedule 2015 Infograph by Lost Laowai
Infograph via Lost Laowai

China

Skype as “Universal Translator”

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Microsoft has released its first preview of Skype Translator, which allows real-time conversations between spoken English and Spanish and will be extended to more languages. The program will learn by recording conversations in order to analyze scripts and train the system to better learn each language.

The preview program kicks-off with two spoken languages, Spanish and English, and 40+ instant messaging languages will be available to Skype customers who have signed-up via the Skype Translator sign-up page and are using Windows 8.1 on the desktop or device.

Read details on this “universal translator” at the Skype blog announcement.

Just geeky, Software

How to stand out from the gaming crowd

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Common Criteria  by Images_of_Money

The online gaming marketplace is pretty crowded right now. Try popping something innocently generic like ‘online casino’ into Google and you will be overwhelmed with the number of different offers competing for your attention.

In what is an increasingly international – not to say global – industry there are quite literally hundreds of casino sites all offering what at first glance appear to be notably similar offerings. Roulette, blackjack, poker, sports betting and lots and lots of slots appear to be common across the entire sector. Given that the underlying software is often shared by competing brands, this makes the marketing aspects of what we are presented with all the more pertinent.

So how do these providers all survive? Is what we are seeing just like the early days of the dinosaurs? Is this just what happens when a relatively new technology allows providers to tap into the public appetite for easy play? Could it be that over the fullness of time this wealth of providers will drop down to a more restricted sample of just the fittest and the best – a kind of commercial evolution?

Taking an admittedly restricted view of what is on offer – a full analysis would take all of 2015 to complete, and even then it would be out of date whist it was being proof-read – here’s a look at a ‘best of breed’ example.

The UK-based SuperCasino has packaged itself as a roulette specialist. Competitors Full Tilt and PokerStars have already carved up the growing poker market, so there is a clear precedent for this sort of niche approach – as opposed to just provision of a generic casino experience. In addition to this targeted branding, SuperCasino stands out in terms of its movement into conventional media.

Specifically, SuperCasino deliver live interactive gaming across terrestrial TV channels. SuperCasino deliver a live roulette show nightly on Channel 5, one of only five terrestrial Channels in the UK. Games are pitched at relatively low stakes games – in contrast, for example to some poker sites which make a point of targeting bigger stakes. SuperCasino is clearly aimed at the recreational end of the market.

A reflection of this is their gently promoted series of slots games. Like their competitors, SuperCasino are keen to cross-sell users as an additional offer beyond their principal roulette offering. In this way the branding represents a strong initial positioning, with an immediately resonant first point of recall, but it sees maximum use made of each and every user visit. The nightmare scenario would be for roulette clients to leave the site in search of an alternative gaming experience.

SuperCasino’s offering represents an interesting balance in terms of marrying a focal brand identity with a catch-all supermarket-style approach. Such a dual offering is evident elsewhere – e.g., in the poker providers already mentioned. This suggests that for all the brand investment, the industry is still far from a settled environment.

The hybridization of sports betting providers – for example – into the casino market suggests a kind of gold-rush is taking place. It almost seems as though everyone is after as much of every piece of every market they can find. Even Sega and Sky TV have experimented with online casinos in recent years. That is clearly not the most evolved marketing strategy.

A more singular, focused and targeted delivery, such as that presented by SuperCasino, looks to be a more viable long-term bet. It is hardly a new strategy, but being master of one trade – rather than a’ jack’ of them all – looks like the one sure-fire way of being able to stand out from the crowd.

Games

Truck Nation – A New Transport Strategy

Hey, you truckers out there! Wanna play a new strategy game hit? From spring 2015, you can send your trucks out on the road in Truck Nation. Set up your own trucking company, complete transport contracts and face up against the soulless trucking company, “The Corporation”. The road awaits!

Awesome trucks, Cool truckers, Dirty tricks and more…

Association Ground  Map

The official website of the new transport strategy hit by Travian Games/Bright Future is now live at www.truck-nation.net.

On the website interested players can get informed about the details of the game and apply directly for the Closed Beta.
Alongside more than 60 different standard goods that can be transported by small and large trucks, there are also special goods in Truck Nation, such as cement, large construction parts, boats or cars, which require specialized vehicles like mixers or special trailers. Passenger transport is also possible, since players can quickly train their truckers as bus drivers. Illegal goods are particularly special as the players can’t let their competitors catch them transporting these.

The drivers are the focus of Truck Nation. They have special characteristics, they can be enhanced and they go with the player – who also drives a truck personally – through thick and thin. Over the course of a game round, all the players – together with their drivers – compete against The Corporation, a powerful firm that left loads of drivers on the streets after mass dismissals at the start of the game.

Truck Nation spans 12 weeks per round and in the final weeks an exciting endgame takes place where players compete to dominate the map of their chosen country. The game combines logistics with the setup of a trucking business and a central contest between associations, which seek to gain control over all the territories in the game world. The association with the largest area under their control at the end wins the game.

The trucks, the drivers and the setting with realistic country maps all serve to make an interesting and strategically varied multiplayer game, in which thousands of players take part in a game round and race along the German motorways for instance.
The competition between the associations is tough and involves plenty of little tussles and attacks against other associations, for instance by causing strikes or setting up road works. A spy network can be built on the association premises, which particularly comes into play in the endgame.

Interested players can apply for the Closed Beta and Open Beta at www.truck-nation.net.

Games