The Download Blog

Adidas plans world's first 'smart soccer match' for July

Adidas plans world's first 'smart soccer match' for July

Adidas' miCoach service, which is essentially its answer to Nike+, will be playing a major role in the Major League Soccer All-Star Game in July.

According to the company, the MLS game will be the world's "first smart soccer match," allowing coaches to track player performance on the pitch. Adidas hasn't revealed too many details on how the service will work, but it appears that coaches will be able to access real-time player statistics, including speed, acceleration, and power output, from a tablet. The software also provides alerts coaches might need to consider.

Although Adidas calls its player-tracking software the "next step in player performance analysis technology," it might make some sport purists take a step back. The kind of information to be made available to the MLS All-Star Game coaches is unlike anything they've had before. And that kind of data could make the game more reliant upon raw data than instinctual decision-making -- a key aspect of soccer since its inception.… Read more

Going for distance games on iOS

Going for distance games on iOS

The perpetual running game genre that works so well on touch devices doesn't seem to be winding down anytime soon -- and I, for one, am very glad it keeps getting refreshed with new and unique games.

Running games are perfect for when you need to kill a little time because you can go for your high score a couple of times while waiting in line at the DMV or perhaps while riding the train, but they're not so involved that you can't put them down at a moment's notice. There are plenty of classics to explore in this category, such as Hook Worlds, Monster Dash, and many others, but I thought I would run a little comparison of old vs. new to see where the genre is headed.… Read more

Comixology on Android graduates to next level

Comixology on Android graduates to next level

A new interface designed to emphasize creators and book discoverability arrived today in Comixology's Comics app (download).

Comics 3.0 brings to Android the changes that people with iPhones and iPads got last fall. Chief among these is a redesign that allows Comixology to make the app more usable, but in fact the app has been entirely re-coded.

The new layout, download speeds, and searchability are a key part of Comixology's "download once, read anywhere" strategy, co-founder and CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. The app loads noticeably faster than before, offers expanded categories for … Read more

Shazam for iOS adds TV to its list of media it can identify

Shazam for iOS adds TV to its list of media it can identify

One of the first apps that showed off the power of early iPhones was Shazam, the app that let you hold up your iPhone to "listen" to music playing and could identify the artist and offer you options to buy that music.

Today, Shazam Entertainment announced a new update with Shazam 5.0 that makes the app even better than before. The company says the app now launches a second faster to let you identify media much more quickly. It also can take as little as 1 second to identify media once you touch the button, and even starts "listening" the second you open the app in case you're trying to identify media in a hurry.… Read more

MAD for the iPad

MAD for the iPad

Despite Apple's ostensibly strict rules that prevent inappropriate content from its App Store, DC Entertainment, publisher of such upstanding heroes as Superman and Wonder Woman, is about to sneak through its first dedicated MAD Magazine app.

Not available until Sunday, which is known to watercooler comedians as both April Fools' Day and the birthday of MAD mascot Alfred E. Neuman, the MAD app might surprise you: it's not a waste of time.

Guarantees against it insulting your intelligence, however, have yet to be made.

The app itself will be free and offer some free content, although full issues … Read more

Comixology offers free upgrade to HD comics

Comixology offers free upgrade to HD comics

Comixology continues to dominate the mobile comics-reading app market with new features for its iOS app, including high-definition comics that take advantage of the new iPad's Retina Display.

Updated earlier this week, Comixology's Comics 3.1 (download) lets you read comics on the new iPad with double the resolution of comics on previous models. It also supports sharing your comments on comics via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail; and offers a Read Now button which lets you begin reading a comic before a comic has fully downloaded.

Support for the Retina Display almost didn't make it into Comixology 3.1, said Chip Mosher, the company's vice president of marketing. "Our developers turned around HD support in about five days. That's a testament to how dedicated they are."

The difference in resolution is apparent when holding a new iPad next to an iPad 2 and looking at the same comic. If you've downloaded a comic for the iPad 2, Comixology will let you download it again in HD at no extra cost.… Read more

Like Phoenix, Marvel gives digital coupons a second chance

Like Phoenix, Marvel gives digital coupons a second chance

A Marvel digital-comics sale in January came with an unusual perk: a $5 coupon for a print comic book. As a lead-in to its Avengers versus X-Men story starting in April, Marvel is giving the coupon a second chance to power up both digital and print comics sales via its iOS (download) and Android (download) comics apps.

"The coupon bumped [digital comic] sales about 25 percent," David Gabriel, senior vice-president of sales for Marvel, said in a phone interview yesterday. Peter Phillips, the general manager and senior vice-president of the Marvel Digital Media Group, added that it was &… Read more

Ochs for Chrome makes NYT better to behold

Ochs for Chrome makes NYT better to behold

Now that you only get 10 free New York Times articles a month, why not make the most of them?

Ochs, an extension for Google Chrome that just got updated, streamlines the site for your consuming pleasure. It gets rid of most of the clutter (ads be gone! unnecessary toolbars, adios!) and puts the emphasis right where it should be--on the articles.

The extension makes The New York Times so stylishly minimal it almost could have been created by Apple designer Jonathon Ives.

The latest Ochs update, released last week, automatically replaces the story art with the highest-resolution version of the image available. That means a big, crisp, beautiful image accompanies every story. … Read more

Marvel augments your comics' reality

Marvel augments your comics' reality

Marvel Comics unveiled a new way to read comic books today at South by Southwest Interactive that involves an augmented reality app and the physical comic itself.

The app, called Marvel AR, is half of the entertainment company's new push to further integrate digital and print comics, an effort it's calling Marvel ReEvolution. The other half is a digital-only line of comics called Marvel Infinite Comics, which will be available to readers from the standard Marvel Comics app for free when they buy the print comic with a digital coupon, when they buy the standard digital comic, or separately as a 99-cent digital download. The first Infinite Comics story will tie in to Avengers versus X-Men and be written by Mark Waid, with art by Stuart Immonen and colors by Marte Gracia. These are big names in the comics business, so Marvel's clearly not publishing throwaway stories, even if they are digital-only and feel more disposable. … Read more

Why Google is playing games with Chrome's future--literally

Why Google is playing games with Chrome's future--literally

SAN FRANCISCO--You think porn drives technology? Think again. Games are what's driving online innovation--just ask Google, which is embracing them as fast as it can.

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) held in San Francisco's Moscone Center today, Google showed off advances in its Native Client (NaCl) and Pepper technology for Chrome that it hopes will drive more interest from developers and gamers alike in browser-based gaming. Google is also integrating NaCl games with Google+ to give the nascent social network something to play with.

The company unveiled a handful of NaCl-powered games last December, and now it'… Read more