Google Nexus Tablet - To buy or not to buy?

With the recent rumours surrounding Apple’s iPad mini along with the Kindle Fire HD release in the UK, we thought we would take a quick look at the other main competitor in the mini-tablet market….the Google Nexus.  

Google’s unfortunate crash in the market place, relating largely to drops in banner advertising revenue (read this for an alternative to ineffectual banner ads), means their tablet division has taken on an added importance to the company. The question is, will the Nexus go the way of the HP TouchPad or can it challenge Amazon and Apple for mini-tablet supremacy?

The whole Matmi team have had a play on the tablet, testing Matmi’s latest apps. Tom even went out and bought one for himself the day after he saw Matmi’s. So the following review is based upon our own real world experience with the Nexus tablet.

Usability

Browsing the internet and running apps is as smooth as the hands of the fairy liquid lady, with the quad-core Tegra 3 processor handling the load easily.

The smaller screen size does have some obvious limitations, especially for people like me with eye sight no better than a short sighted bat. However, like most tablets, the zoom function works seamlessly to solve any visual deficiencies. The touchscreen is very responsive (as you’d expect) making it easy to navigate the system or control any app you may be running.

Price vs Quality

At under £200 (£194 for the 16 GB version) you might expect some corners to be cut regarding build quality. This is not the case with the Nexus. It has a nice solid feel to it and the round corners do make a difference when cradled in your hand for hours at a time. The hardware is top notch, displaying no stutters or slow response times running the Android jelly Bean platform.

Get your gaming on!

Games, games and more games. Mobile gaming is massive and an obvious interest to Matmi with the release of Pocket Warwick on the 25th October, along with the upcoming Rollabear and Monster Pinball HD apps. The Nexus tablet has been a joy to play games on. The smaller, hand-held sized device feels just right in your hands, almost akin to holding a PS Vita.

The 7 inch screen is crisp, bright and displays games rich colours extremely well. Tom he has lost many hours at home to gaming on the Nexus with a particular favourite of his recently being Triple town (Jeff: Rollabear looks absolutely stonkingly beautiful on the Nexus).

HTML5 gaming

Yet to really establish a strong foothold in the online gaming world, HTML5 can still cause divisions amongst developers. That being said, we have run our own HTML5 game we did for Nivea through its’ paces on the device along with Tom’s little side project Ricochet. Both ran smoothly with no noticeable lag. Being able to play games within the tablets browser, and full screen them, is a fantastic ability and may yet see HTML5 rise in popularity as a games developing platform.

Summary

In short, we love the Nexus. It’s powerful enough to run even the most resource intensive apps, perfectly sized for lengthy gaming sessions, tears up the internet with smooth browsing, responsive touch screen, great OS in Jelly Bean and just looks so darn pretty.

Would we recommend you buy one? Yes. If only to enjoy Pocket Warwick, Rollabear, Monster Pinball HD and all our other apps in wonderful 7-inch glory.

For more information on what Matmi can do for your digital design needs:

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Develop Conference 2012

Last week Jeff went down to a not-so- sunny Brighton for the Develop Conference 2012. Not only was he attending the conference, but he also gave a talk on the evolution of casual gaming and the rise of IPTV.

For those of you who don’t already know, Jeff had a special guest with him during his talk – Warwick Davis! Warwick joined Jeff on stage to talk about his upcoming app Pocket Warwick.  It has been a fantastic experience working alongside Warwick in producing the app, and his comedy/acting skills have really helped give the app that unique edge – keep an eye out for it hitting an app store near you very soon!

We would like to thank Warwick for participating in the talk and taking part in the panel – his opinions on the experience of working with Matmi to develop his app made for some interesting discussion! Also a big thanks to Warwick for taking part in this unusual stunt – it was great to see the shocked audience reaction most of whom were not expecting to see an international film star take the stage.   

Finally, a massive thank you to the other panellists, Volker Hirsch (Head of Games at Blackberry) and Mike Hawkyard (Chairman of Casual games at TIGA and New Business Director of 4T2) whose contributions helped make the panel a great success.

 Jeff’s talk focused on the convergence of media, potentially the biggest change the digital landscape has seen since the first smartphones appeared. The talk also touched on Matmi’s predictions for the future  of end user content - “content belongs to the user not the device” which is particularly relevant to us now due to the  imminent release of Rollabear which will be published across more devices than Matmi has ever attempted  before.

Jeff really enjoyed doing the talk – especially some of the slightly surreal questions from the audience at the end!  It was also really interesting for him to see the division of peoples’ opinions on the subject of IPTV, with some people believing IPTV will be a huge success, and others believing it won’t take off at all.

Some closing words from Jeff himself “ The rest of the conference was fantastic, jam packed, informative and really enjoyable-It was nice to see the Oliver twins who made Dizzy Games and hear their take on the industry, both now and in the future and it was great to meet the rest of the TIGA team. “ 

For more information…

Twitter - @Matmi

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Develop Conference 2012

It’s a busy week for Jeff this week , today he’s heading down to Brighton for the Develop Conference . Not only is Jeff attending the conference he is also really looking forward to giving a talk tomorrow (Tuesday 10th, 10:20) on the evolution of casual gaming and the rise of IPTV, and let’s not forget that this will be no ordinary talk, this will be a talk with a very special twist…

For those of you lucky enough to be going to the conference why not pop along to Jeff’s talk and find out what this twist is.  Other than that it will be a whirlwind week of business meetings , and networking for Jeff. Keep an eye out for him if you’re down there!

Matmi keeps rollin’ on….

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The Matmi Team is a changing…

There have been quite a few big changes at Matmi over the last couple of months – new projects, new staff, new babies and some great future opportunities in the pipeline – exciting times! 

James has been mastering his role as Project Manager, and Michelle has now stepped into Operations Management - keeping the other Matmian’s on their toes and Jeff in tow! We’ve also been working with Liane Grimshaw, tapping into her vast knowledge of the digital industry which has been a great insight.

So then, we have Helen here as our Office Administrator and Social Media assistant, and our lovely designer Jen is here full time (after getting a distinction for her Master’s Degree in Games Design!) Joe, Jeff and Woody have been working their hearts out on Rollabear - Matmi’s upcoming release – so fingers crossed they can have their evenings back again soon!

We’d like to thanks all the promising work experience students who have recently helped out and (we hope) learnt a thing or two along the way – big thumbs up to Tom, John and Lucas for all their hard work – now looking forwards to having Tom back for his Uni’ gap year.

Congratulations to our Lead Designer Matt who just tied the knot, the other big news here has been BABIES! We have two very proud new dads at Matmi, Rob had a beautiful little girl called Lily Mae and Stewart’s little bundle of love, Esme, arrived this week. 

Finally, when we were asked to put on youth workshops in character design for the local Barnaby Festival – we jumped at the chance, and the sessions were the first to sell out. Matmi created a mobile optimised website for the Barnaby treasure hunt.

We may think globally but that doesn’t mean we forget our local community and the importance of supporting it whenever we can!



Matmi Project News!

Our latest Matmi App is (finally!) ready for beta testing. So following 3 years in development, “Rollabear” is finally available for public viewing! It has evolved over the years, now a world apart from the game we started out with but well worth the extra tweaking, adding, and experimenting and overtime (sorry Woody and Joe). Check out some screenshots here and sign up for beta testing here.

There is no rest for the wicked little Matmians this year, they have been working their socks off on a number of projects including an Olympic based viral flash game for BP, a HTML5 game for Nivea, a mini-banner game for Dell, and the Basilica Block Party Hymnal App for our friends BDM in the States.

But it doesn’t stop there…we have a really exciting app in development for the Hollywood legend Warwick Davis (famed for Life’s Too Short, Willow, Star Wars and Leprechaun). He has popped into Matmi HQ a couple of times to meet the (very excitable) team and check the progress of his app, last time he was lucky enough to receive a specially made cake from Matt’s wife; an honour of the highest order!

We can’t wait for this app to be released. Who wouldn’t want a mini Warwick in their pocket? 



Mobile apps: A look at what makes a good app great.

With one billion people expected to own a smart phone by 2015 , the mobile applications market has boomed , with 23 installed apps per device on average. Like any other saleable object, apps need to be unique to sell. Some of the most successful apps on smartphones today haven’t introduced new ideas, they just do them better.Keeping this in mind , let’s take a look at what it takes for an app to be successful  and become a top seller on the app store.



·         A good app keeps in mind that in the majority of cases the user is using a device with a pretty small touchscreen. The user interface needs to be as unobtrusive as it can be, leaving out any design elements that don’t add a use or function to the app.

·         The way an app looks and operates is essential to its success – when someone downloads an app , and opens it , they are going to instantly form an impression. If the app lacks fluidity and other rival apps on the market  are more visually appealing then the chances are the user won’t even bother getting to know what the app does. This is especially true in the case of free apps.

·         The success of an app can depend of how consistent it is performance wise.  The top selling apps are those that work perfectly , and preferably consumes the minimum CPU and battery power. An app that crashes constantly will never get anywhere! In addition to this loading time can also be influential towards how successful an app is on release. An app that takes under 5 seconds  to load is fine , but if an app starts to take longer than that then the user tends to start to become impatient.

·          Solve a problem- this is one of the main factors for success:  top-ranking apps solve some kind of problem that other apps don’t solve or just partially solve. No one needs another weather informer, clock, or news reader. Make something unique that solves a common problem.

·         Appealing description - An app’s description is the only information available to users to help them decide whether they want to download your app or not. Spending  extra time writing an appealing description, and including attractive screenshots, promo graphics, and icons, can make the difference between someone choosing to download your app or not.

·         The app’s icon in the app store is also vital to an apps success.  The apps with the most visually appealing and interesting icons tend to intrigue the user and make them more likely to download

·         How an app is priced can also have a strong influence over how successful an app will be.  The premium vs freemium app pricing debate is continuing , however despite this the freemium pricing model (giving the app away for free – but then charging for in game updates such as virtual currency etc)  has overtaken the premium pricing model , and becoming the basis for some of the most successful apps available on the app store. As it stand downloads are 65% vs 35% in favour of freemium apps.

·         And of course we couldn’t post an article on mobile apps without mentioning Matmi’s up and coming and hopefully amazingly successful (fingers crossed! ) apps  Rollabear and Pocket Warwick. We are really excited about the release of these apps , keep an eye out for them hitting an app store near you very very soon! 

References and for more information…

http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2011/07/16/mobile-apps-a-look-at-what-makes-a-good-app-great/

http://mobiledevices.about.com/od/mobileappbasics/tp/Essentials-Elements-For-A-Top-Selling-Mobile-App.htm

http://appzdev.com/mac-iphone-blog/2012/04/top-characteristics-of-a-successful-app/

http://blog.flurry.com/bid/65656/Free-to-play-Revenue-Overtakes-Premium-Revenue-in-the-App-Store

For more information on what Matmi can do for your mobile apps please contact:

info@matmi.com

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