Huawei en position de challenger dans le Quadrant magique de Gartner consacré à l’infrastructure de périphérie de RLD

« Nous sommes ravis que Huawei ait été nommée challenger dans le premier Quadrant magique de Gartner consacré à l’infrastructure de périphérie de RLD. », a déclaré Zhong Kaisheng, président de la ligne de produits Huawei Switch & Enterprise Gateway.

« Nous sommes ravis que Huawei ait été nommée challenger dans le premier Quadrant magique de Gartner consacré à l’infrastructure de périphérie de RLD. », a déclaré Zhong Kaisheng, président de la ligne de produits Huawei Switch & Enterprise Gateway. « Il s’agit pour nous d’une reconnaissance de la solution SD-WAN de Huawei, de notre stratégie de marché à long terme et de nos capacités à offrir à nos clients des réseaux d’interconnexion d’entreprise simplifiés, intelligents et ouverts. Parmi nos clients, nombre de transporteurs, d’entreprises et de fournisseurs de services mobiles mondiaux, tels que SoftBank Group au Japon, Broadnet en Norvège, Ping An Group et Fnetlink en Chine, ont choisi la solution SD-WAN. »

Zhong Kaisheng a poursuivi : « La solution SD-WAN de Huawei accélère la fourniture de services à l’aide d’un déploiement automatisé tout au long du processus. Elle garantit une expérience optimale des services en nuage grâce à une optimisation intelligente des applications, et réduit les problèmes liés à l’exploitation et à la maintenance en faisant appel à une technologie intelligente d’exploitation et de maintenance. Nous avons lancé nos services SD-WAN lors du salon HUAWEI CONNECT 2018 afin de permettre aux entreprises de s’offrir rapidement et facilement des fonctionnalités de service de réseau SD-WAN, comme si elles achetaient des services en nuage. »

La tendance à la mise en nuage des services d’entreprises nécessite des réseaux d’interconnexion de branches innovants et une infrastructure de périphérie de RLD. Huawei est actuellement à la tête du développement dans le secteur des SD-WAN et aide les clients à s’épanouir. Huawei leur fournit un large éventail de fonctions de périphérie de RLD, notamment le routage, le SD-WAN et le pare-feu de nouvelle génération (Next-Generation Firewall ou NGFW). Toutes ces fonctionnalités peuvent être exécutées sur des plateformes informatiques virtuelles vCPE en tant qu’instances logicielles. Elles peuvent également être contrôlées de manière centralisée avec le contrôleur agile de Huawei, qui permet une fourniture de services automatisée, une orchestration de chaînes de services flexible et une exploitation et maintenance intelligentes. En outre, Huawei propose une gamme complète de routeurs de la série AR et de périphériques matériels NGFW. Cela permet de simplifier la prolifération des périphériques de périphérie de RLD, d’améliorer l’agilité opérationnelle et d’optimiser les coûts. De plus, la solution SD-WAN de Huawei dispose d’une capacité éprouvée de prise en charge de déploiement à grande échelle de SD-WAN sur plus de 1 000 sites.

L’offre phare de périphérie de RLD de Huawei – les routeurs de la série AR nouvelle génération – propose un portefeuille logiciel et matériel complet, comprenant des plates-formes logicielles, matérielles et virtuelles, et inclut la plus grande variété d’interfaces du secteur, notamment les interfaces T1/E1 LTE et LTE intégrée. Lors du salon HUAWEI CONNECT 2018, Huawei a dévoilé ses routeurs SD-WAN de nouvelle génération, disponibles dans 16 versions. Ces derniers utilisent une plate-forme unifiée et font converger de nombreux services de succursale, notamment les réseaux SD-WAN, le routage, la voix, le pare-feu et le Wi-Fi, afin de simplifier le déploiement du service. S’appuyant sur un moteur d’accélération matérielle unique, ils doublent les performances de transmission moyennes de l’industrie. En outre, ils mettent en œuvre « trois intelligences » – l’identification intelligente des applications, le pilotage intelligent du trafic basé sur les applications et l’accélération intelligente des applications – pour simplifier l’interconnexion réseau-nuage des entreprises.

En tirant parti d’avantages différenciés mis au point grâce à l’innovation technologique, Huawei a maintenu une forte dynamique de croissance sur le marché des infrastructures de périphérie de RDL. À ce jour, les routeurs de la série AR de Huawei sont déjà utilisés par plus de 20 000 entreprises dans des secteurs tels que l’administration publique, les finances, l’énergie électrique, les transports et la fabrication.

Pour plus d’informations sur les produits et solutions SD-WAN de Huawei, rendez-vous sur le site : https://e.huawei.com/en/solutions/business-needs/enterprise-network/SD-WAN.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/781714/SD_SD-WAN_Gartner.jpg

STARZPLAY Set To Launch On Virgin Media In The UK On November 29

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Starz, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), announced today STARZPLAY will launch on Virgin Media in the UK on November 29.

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Starz, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), announced today STARZPLAY will launch on Virgin Media in the UK on November 29. The STARZPLAY premium streaming service will give Virgin TV customers in the UK the opportunity to watch STARZ series all in one place, with future STARZ Originals launching exclusively on STARZPLAY on the same day as the U.S., including season two of “Counterpart” starring Academy Award®-winner J.K. Simmons.

The latest Subscription Video on Demand service available to Virgin TV subscribers, STARZPLAY offers access to a vast library of additional content including popular series such as “Vida,” “Sweetbitter,” “The White Princess” and “Mr. Mercedes” as well as an extensive movie library featuring favorites like The Hunger Games at the touch of a button, for only £4.99 a month. Virgin TV customers who add the STARZPLAY subscription to their package can view the content by pressing Home on their V6 remote control and then clicking On Demand followed by Box Sets.

“The partnership with Virgin Media is an exciting next step in the rollout of the STARZPLAY platform, expanding the audience for our wide range of STARZ Originals, TV series and movies exclusively available on STARZPLAY to a whole new and expansive customer base,” said Chris Albrecht, President and CEO of Starz.

David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media said, “The launch of STARZPLAY on Virgin TV will give our customers access to even more brilliant box-sets, amazing movies and gripping TV series such as ‘The White Princess’ and ‘Mr. Mercedes.’ This exciting addition to our platform means Virgin TV customers will be able to enjoy new STARZ content as it launches in the US.”

At launch, Virgin Media customers with the STARZPLAY add on subscription can enjoy brand new STARZ originals, including season two of the critically-acclaimed STARZ Original series “Counterpart” returning on Sunday, December 9 at 9 PM ET/PT on STARZ in the U.S.

STARZPLAY is now available on Virgin Media in the UK and Amazon Prime Video Channels in the UK and Germany, as well as in Canada under the STARZ brand with upcoming launches in France, Italy and Spain.

After a critically acclaimed season one, which garnered a 100% Certified Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, “Counterpart” is back for a 10-episode second season. At The Office of Interchange, those who have high enough access safeguard a crossing into a parallel dimension not unlike our own. And if their world is like ours, who are we over there? Are we better? Are we different? Season Two finds Howard (J.K. Simmons) and his counterpart living out these questions. With the Crossing closed and each of them stranded in the other’s world, they have to adapt for survival. Howard Prime takes on his other’s life: going to his job, living in his home… with his wife. Howard Alpha is locked in a mysterious black site known as Echo, cut off from everyone he knows. As a cold war escalates between worlds deepening a fickle divide, both men find themselves growing increasingly like their other.

About Virgin Media
Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.

Our dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely-available broadband speeds to homes and businesses and we’re expanding this through our Project Lightning programme, which could extend our network to up to 17 million premises.

Our interactive Virgin TV service brings live TV, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games to customers through a set-top box, as well as on-the-go through tablets and smartphones.

Virgin Mobile launched the world’s first virtual mobile network and offers fantastic value and innovative services with 4G connectivity. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland.

Through Virgin Media Business we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds and tailor-made services.

Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company. Liberty Global connects 21 million customers through operations in 10 countries across Europe subscribing to 45 million TV, broadband internet and telephony services. It also serves 6 million mobile subscribers and offers WiFi service through 12 million access points across its footprint.

About Starz
Starz (www.starz.com), a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is a leading global media and entertainment company that provides premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television networks and produces and distributes content for worldwide audiences via its expanding STARZPLAY international streaming platform and its investment in the STARZ PLAY Arabia OTT service. Starz is home to the flagship STARZ® brand and STARZ ENCORE channels and provides high-quality, entertaining premium subscription video programming with 17 premium pay TV channels and associated on-demand and online services, including the STARZ app. Sold through U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, telecommunications companies, and other online and digital platforms, Starz offers subscribers more than 5,000 distinct premium television episodes and feature films, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular programming.

Press Contacts:

Lauren Townsend

Michelle Portillo

Olivia McKee

Starz

Starz

Virgin Media

424.204.4072

720.852.4063

0333 000 2900

lauren.townsend@starz.com

michelle.portillo@starz.com

press@virginmedia.co.uk

SOURCE Starz, a Lionsgate company

Related Links

https://www.starz.com

Black Friday 2018 kitchen and appliance deals: $40 off Instant Pot, $100 off Dyson vacuums and more – CNET

If you’re in the market for a practical Black Friday splurge, you can find large appliances, vacuums and a wide variety of kitchen gadgets for a sizable chunk off of the sticker price.

If you’re in the market for a practical Black Friday splurge, you can find large appliances, vacuums and a wide variety of kitchen gadgets for a sizable chunk off of the sticker price. You’ll be able to up your cooking game and save money in the process.

We’ll be collecting our favorite deals on large appliances and kitchen gadgets right here. We’ll update the list as new deals are announced and old ones expire. If you’re ready to shop, you’re in luck. Even though Black Friday itself isn’t for a couple of weeks (Nov. 23), some of the holiday deals have already started.

Just keep in mind:

Deal terms vary, so where possible we’ve listed when and where to get the sale price from each retailer.
The deals below are correct as of Nov. 8, and include Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Costco, JCPenney, Lowes and Home Depot. When more deals come in, we’ll include them too.
CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
We linked to the current listing at the retailer’s website when one was available, but of course sale pricing won’t be available until the sale begins.

Here we go!

Dyson V8 Animal, $300Luke Westaway/CNET

Dyson’s stick vacuums have the power of full uprights with much more maneuverability. Usually, our main qualm with Dyson vacs is the price, which makes this deal particularly appealing. Costco has the latest Dyson stick vacuum for $100 off starting Nov. 22.

Keep in mind with this and any other Costco deal, Costco’s Black Friday promotions are available only to members; annual plans are available for $60 to $120.

$300.00 at CostcoCNET Take

Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Air Purifier, $450

Best Buy will have a few Black Friday discounts on Dyson products as well. Amongst the bargains, you can get Dyson’s bladeless air purifier for $150 off.

$450.00 at Best BuyCNET Take

Instant Pot, $60

Different models of the hit pressure cooker are on sale at Walmart, Target and Costco. On Black Friday itself, Walmart will have the Instant Pot Lux for $60, or $40 off. Target will have the Instant Pot Duo for $70, which is $30 off the normal price.

Costco is offering $35 off the similar Instant Pot Nova starting Nov. 22.

$60.00 at WalmartCNET Take

KitchenAid Stand Mixer, $220

Given that you can pay upwards of $400 for the classic, colorful KitchenAid Stand Mixer, this Best Buy deal looks pretty good. Snag this elegant kitchen staple for $220 and better yet, the deal is on right now.

$220.00 at Best BuyCNET Take


Best holiday gifts for home chefs in 2018
11 Photos

Anova Precision Cooker Wi-Fi, $100

One of our favorite immersion sous vide cookers, you’ll be able to snag the Wi-Fi enabled version of the Anova Precision Cooker for half off on Black Friday from Best Buy.

$100.00 at Best BuyCNET Take

40 percent off of large appliances at Home Depot

Home Depot is offering big discounts off of lots of large appliances, with steeper discounts if you bundle more. You’ll get $60 off if you buy two appliances, $150 for a bundle of three and $250 if you bundle four appliances together. The sale is in effect from now through Nov. 29.

See at Home Depot

40 percent off of large appliances at Lowe’s

Not to be left behind, Lowe’s is offering a wide variety of large appliance sales as well. These sales are on now and have a similar bonus structure to Home Depot in that you’ll save more by packaging multiple large appliances.

See at Lowe’s

40 percent off of large appliances at Best Buy

Joining the mix, Best Buy has a similar deal across their appliance line starting today.

See at Best Buy

Samsung Family Hub, $3,300Chris Monroe/CNET

Best Buy has a few appliance deals of particular interest, beyond the broad price cut. The Samsung Family Hub is one of the most interesting smart appliances out there, with a full touchscreen display on one of the door panels. The price has gradually dropped on this premium fridge since it launched in 2016 for $6,000. This counter-depth version for $3,300 is still a good deal as it’s $800 off of the current list price. You can get this deal now.

Best Buy also has a simpler Samsung French Door fridge for $1,000.

$3,300.00 at Best BuyCNET Take

LG InstaView Fridge, $3,000

LG’s smart fridge illuminates the interior with a knock. The InstaView is LG’s answer to Samsung’s Family Hub, and the see-through panel is a cool feature. Better yet, you can currently get the fridge at a steep discount from Best Buy. The $3,000 price is $780 off of the normal cost.

$3,000.00 at Best BuyCNET Take

Nutri Ninja Auto-IQ Blender, $60Chris Monroe/CNET

A powerful blender with a wide variety of attachments, you can get the Nutri Ninja Auto-IQ for half off from Target on Black Friday. Best Buy will have the blender for the same price.

$60.00 at TargetCNET Take

Ninja Coffee Bar, $100

You can also get the Ninja Coffee Bar at a steep discount from Target on Black Friday. It’s normally $200 and you can get it for $100. As with the Nutri Ninja, Best Buy has the same deal.

$100.00 at TargetCNET Take

Ninja Mega Kitchen System, $100

Best Buy also has a more robust Ninja blender on sale. This deal is available now.

$100.00 at Best Buy

Magic Bullet, $20

If you just want a blender for the sake of smoothies, you can snag the Magic Bullet from Walmart on Black Friday for a steep discount off of its normal $70 price.

$20.00 at Walmart

Tasty Cookware bundle with Google Home Mini, $100

You can get 30 pieces of ceramic cookware and a $50 smart speaker packaged together from Walmart on Black Friday. The bundle normally has a nice price of $230, so getting it for $100 is a steal if you need a bunch of new pots and pans and want a smarter kitchen in the process.

$100.00 at WalmartCNET Take

Shark Navigator Powered Lift-Away, $150Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A flexible vacuum with a surprising amount of cleaning power, the Shark Navigator Powered Lift-Away is already affordable for its power. On Black Friday, Target will have it for the extra attractive price of $150.

$150.00 at TargetCNET Take

Hoover WindTunnel 2, $50

Skip the trendy brands like Dyson and Shark for a classic like Hoover and you can get a sturdy vacuum for very little on Black Friday. Walmart has the Hoover WindTunnel 2 for half off at $50.

$50.00 at WalmartCNET Take

LG Counter Depth Fridge, $1,300 off

Costco has a nice deal on an attractive LG fridge with an InstaView Door-in-Door panel. The exact price varies by region, but you should get a large amount off of the sticker cost wherever you live. The discount is available now through Nov. 29.

See at Costco

Whirlpool washer and dryer, $620 off

Costco’s also offering a steep discount on a Whirlpool washer and dryer pair starting Nov. 22.

See at Costco

Cooks Air Fryer, $5

An air fryer is a great way to cook up a quick batch of snack food, and it’s hard to imagine finding one for cheaper than this. Since most air fryers cost $100 or more, snagging one for $5 from JCPenney on Black Friday is a steal, though the price includes a mail in rebate.

$5.00 at JCPenneyCNET Take
More Black Friday 2018 and Cyber Monday 2018 dealsBlack Friday 2018: The best deals so far
Black Friday 2018: A sneak peek at Amazon’s device deals
CNET’s Black Friday 2018 hub: Every Black Friday deal we’ve found

More holiday shopping picks from CNETCNET’s holiday gift guide 2018: Dozens of gift picks starting at $25 and under
The best tech gifts of 2018: CNET editors’ top picks
Best gifts under $50
Best smart home gifts
Best gifts for home chefs
Best appliance gifts

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Silvercar by Audi Provides Stress-Free Travel For Dog Owners During The Holiday Season: Introducing the #FourFeetFleet!

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Leaving your best friend behind is not an option. Next-generation premium car rental company Silvercar by Audi is ready to reduce the stress of traveling with pets and cater to canines by offering new, premium dog car seat covers at select locations to include in their silver Audi A4 or Audi Q5, beginning November 15.

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Leaving your best friend behind is not an option. Next-generation premium car rental company Silvercar by Audi is ready to reduce the stress of traveling with pets and cater to canines by offering new, premium dog car seat covers at select locations to include in their silver Audi A4 or Audi Q5, beginning November 15.

When traveling, pet owners are often left to choose between leaving their furry friends at home and paying for a pet sitter or looking for alternative modes of transportation or lodging to make sure their pets can travel with them. Just in time for the holidays, Silvercar by Audi wants to ensure that traveling pet owners, have a safe and convenient way of bringing their fur-ever friend along for the ride, all without compromising the condition of the vehicle.

“A recent Trip Advisor study found that 35% of pet owners take shorter vacations, and 25% take fewer vacations overall because of their pets,” said Silvercar by Audi CMO, Amber Quist. “Silvercar by Audi wants to not only address the increased demand from consumers to travel with their pets, but also celebrate pet owners and provide them with the opportunity to travel in luxury, style and comfort.”

Silvercar by Audi continues to deliver on its promise of premium mobility solutions and hassle-free access to personal transportation with a seamless mobile-first booking experience. The Four Feet Fleet promotion for the holidays comes on the heels of Silvercar by Audi’s successful partnership with Peg Perego earlier this year. Offering complimentary luxury car seats, traveling parents were faced with one less hassle on the road. The best-selling Audi A4 sedan and award-winning Audi Q5 SUV are available for bookings with dog car seat covers at 7 Locations in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Customers can get started by downloading the Silvercar app for iPhone or Android or visit Silvercar.com and then requesting a Four Feet Fleet reservation. After you reserve a Silvercar, fill out this form to let us know that your pet will be traveling with you in your stylish Audi A4 or Q5 and we’ll take care of the rest.

Acquired by Audi in 2017, Silvercar has doubled down on its plans to expand its footprint. The company has opened ten new locations in recent months, including downtown San Francisco, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Orange County and San Diego.

Silvercar offers Audi A4 sedans, Q5 SUVs and A5 Cabriolets with onboard Wi-Fi, navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio—always included at no additional cost. Audi vehicles also offer excellent driving dynamics with elevated design and advanced technology, including quattro® all-wheel drive, Audi virtual cockpit with Google Earth™, and Audi smartphone interface. The Audi Q5 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and received Best Auto Tech award from KBB.

All Silvercar customers will continue to benefit from no fuel upcharges, no mileage restrictions, no additional fees for toll charges, and no fees for luxury Peg Perego car seat rentals. Prices start at $59 per day for the Audi A4 and $79 a day for the Audi Q5.

Follow Silvercar Twitter and Instagram for the latest.

About Silvercar by Audi
Silvercar by Audi is a next-generation premium mobility company whose fleet consists entirely of Audi A4s, Q5s, and A5 Cabriolets. With its sleek mobile app, Silvercar removes the headache of traditional car rental. No lines or counters. No paperwork. No hassles. Just the best in customer service and premium products every time. Silvercar continually earns the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores in the industry and with 25 locations at airports and in select urban cores, Silvercar is the largest premium mobility company in North America. The company was acquired by Audi in 2017. For more information, visit www.silvercar.com.

SOURCE Silvercar

Related Links

http://www.silvercar.com

Black Friday 2018 smart home deals: Bargains on Echo Dot, Google Home Hub, Facebook Portal, Apple HomePod and more – CNET

November is a time of tradition: colder weather, football, turkey feasts with friends and family — and, of course, scouring the web for the best Black Friday deals.

Sure enough, here you are! And, presuming it’s deals on smart home gadgets that you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

November is a time of tradition: colder weather, football, turkey feasts with friends and family — and, of course, scouring the web for the best Black Friday deals.

Sure enough, here you are! And, presuming it’s deals on smart home gadgets that you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. They’ve been some of the hottest Black Friday sellers in recent years, especially now that big names like Amazon and Google are essentially all-in on the connected home. Expect more of the same in 2018, with lots of deals on Alexa and Google Assistant gadgets, smart thermostats from names like Nest and Ecobee, connected lighting kits, video doorbells, app-enabled robot vacuums… you name it.


Best smart home gifts for 2018
24 Photos

To that end, here’s a running list of all the upcoming deals we’ve spotted thus far. We’ve gotten a good look at the smart home deals we should expect to see from Amazon and Target, but we’re sure to see savings at outlets such as Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, and more in the coming days, too. As soon as we see anything, we’ll update this page, so keep it bookmarked.

And remember the usual caveats: Most of the deals won’t actually be live until Black Friday, Nov. 23, and CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Got it? Good. Now let’s get to the deals.

Save $30
Amazon Echo (second-gen) for $69Ian Knighton/CNET

Amazon’s fleet of Alexa-enabled smart speakers goes on sale starting Thanksgiving Day, and that includes a $30 discount on Alexa’s flagship, the second-gen Amazon Echo. That discount brings the price down to $69, more than $100 less than the original Echo originally sold for. That price looks like it’ll be available elsewhere, too, including at Target and at Best Buy.

$69.00 at AmazonRead the CNET ReviewSee it at TargetSee it at Best Buy

Save $26
Amazon Echo Dot (third-gen) for $24Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon has a relatively aggressive discount in store for the new, third-gen Echo Dot, too. At just $24, you’ll be able to get it for more than half off (and a dollar cheaper than its rival, the Google Home Mini, which I’m sure is just a coincidence). And yep, like a lot of these Echo deals, you’ll find the same price at major retailers like Target and Best Buy.

$24.00 at AmazonRead the CNET Review$24.00 at Target$24.99 at Best Buy

Save $10
Amazon Echo Dot (second-gen) for $20Ian Knighton/CNET

Amazon already cut the price of the last-gen Echo Dot down to $30 when the new one came out last month, but the company is marking it down by another $10 for Black Friday, bringing the price all the way down to $20. I don’t know why you wouldn’t just pay the extra $4 for this year’s model, which offers a noticeable uptick in sound quality, but hey, maybe you’re just going to connect the thing to an external audio setup anyway. In that case, this might be the deal for you.

Expect to see this deal elsewhere, as well. For instance, it’ll be available at Best Buy starting Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) at 5PM.

$19.00 at AmazonRead the CNET Review$19.99 at Best Buy

Save $50
Amazon Echo Show (second-gen) for $180Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you’d like an Alexa device that comes with a touchscreen, then the second-gen Echo Show is your newest option. You can save $50 on it on Black Friday. Best Buy will have the same deal available starting at 5PM on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22).

$179.00 at AmazonRead the CNET ReviewSee it at Best Buy

Save $40
Amazon Echo Spot for $90Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Another Alexa touchscreen option: the semispherical Amazon Echo Spot, which might rightly claim to be the smartest ever alarm clock. You can score it for $90 on Black Friday, a savings of $40. Best Buy is offering the same deal starting Thanksgiving Day.

$89.00 at AmazonRead the CNET ReviewSee it at Best Buy

Save $40
Amazon Echo Plus (second-gen) for $110Chris Monroe/CNET

Also $40 off: the just-released, second-gen Amazon Echo Plus, which you’ll be able to get for $110 for Black Friday. It takes the Echo and adds a slight improvement in sound quality, plus a built-in temperature sensor and a Zigbee radio that can connect directly with things like smart lights and smart locks. Amazon will even throw in a free Philips Hue White LED with purchase. Starting Thanksgiving Day, look for the same deal –free bulb included — at Best Buy, as well.

$109.00 at AmazonRead the CNET ReviewSee it at Best Buy

Save $20
Amazon Smart Plug for $5 with purchase of any Echo deviceRy Crist/CNET

Picking up a new Echo Dot, or any other Echo gadget on Black Friday? You can tack an Amazon Smart Plug onto your order for just $5. Plug it in and plug something like a lamp or a space heater into it, and you’ll be able to tell Alexa to turn it on and off via your new Echo gadget. And if you’d rather shop at Best Buy, it looks like they’ll be offering the same deal.

$5.00 at AmazonRead the CNET Review

Save $60
Anova Wi-Fi Sous-Vide Circulator for $100

It usually sells for $160, but starting Thanksgiving Day, Best Buy will sell you Anova’s Wi-Fi-equipped sous vide circulator for $100. It’s a great way to cook meats to the exact temp of your choosing, and the Wi-Fi lets you monitor the cook remotely on your phone, even if you aren’t at home.

$99.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

Save $100
Apple HomePod Smart Speaker for $250Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Here’s a rare discount on the Siri-powered Apple HomePod, available at Best Buy in either white or space grey for $250, a savings of $100. The deal begins Thanksgiving Day at 5PM.

$249.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

Save $51
Blink XT 1-Camera Security System for $79Blink

Heads up: Unlike the Echo gadgets, this deal on the Amazon-owned Blink XT security camera actually goes live the day before Thanksgiving. It’s a wireless, weatherproof smart home camera with night vision, motion detection, free cloud storage, Alexa compatibility (duh) and two-year battery life — you’ll be able to score one for $79, which is a savings of more than $50. And, if you’d rather get a couple of the things, Amazon is also offering a three-camera Blink XT system for $230, which is $90 less than you’d usually pay.

$78.00 at AmazonSee it on CNET

Save $20
Chamberlain MyQ Garage Hub for $60

Chamberlain’s MyQ Garage controller lets you open or close your garage from your phone, and it works with a bunch of popular smart home platforms. On Thanksgiving Day, Best Buy will offer it for $60, saving you $20.

$59.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

Save $50
Facebook Portal (10-inch) for $150James Martin/CNET

It’s brand-spankin’ new, but the Facebook Portal video chatting hub is getting a Black Friday discount at Best Buy that starts at 5PM on Thanksgiving Day. You’ll be able to get the smaller, 10-inch version for $50 off.

$149.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

Save $50
Google Home Hub for $99Chris Monroe/CNET

It’s only been out for less than a month, but that didn’t stop Google from discounting its new voice-activated touchscreen by fifty bucks for Black Friday. Small but mighty, the Home Hub’s Google Assistant smarts are a great fit for your kitchen countertop, and you’ll be able to score one for just $99 at Target on Black Friday, or from Walmart, Best Buy or Lowe’s starting Thanksgiving Day. No matter where you get it, that’s $80 less than what you’ll pay on Black Friday for its rival, the Amazon Echo Show.

$99.00 at TargetRead the CNET Review$99.00 at Walmart$99.99 at Best Buy$99.00 at Lowe’s

Save $30
Google Home Mini and C by GE Bluetooth Smart Bulb for $25Chris Monroe/CNET

The Google Home Mini smart speaker will be available for $25 on Black Friday at outlets like Target, but the best deal we’ve seen comes from Lowe’s, where the same $25 will get you the Home Mini packaged with a free C by GE Bluetooth smart bulb. This combo is designed to work right out of the box, so as soon as you screw the bulb in and turn it on, it’ll automatically pair with the Google Assistant for voice controls.

$25.00 at Lowe’sSee it on CNET

Save $25
Google Home Mini smart speaker for $25James Martin/CNET

Like Target, Walmart is offering the Google Home Mini on its own for half off starting Thanksgiving Day. It doesn’t come with a free bulb so it’s not quite as good a deal as you’ll find at Lowe’s, but Walmart does have the new aqua-colored version as an exclusive, which is why I’m giving it a separate mention here.

$25.00 at WalmartSee it on CNET

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Google Home Mini and Chromecast Bundle for $45Walmart

As an exclusive deal, Walmart is also offering the Google Home Mini packaged with a Chromecast media streamer for $45 total, which is about thirty bucks off the combo’s usual price. These two are a good pair — plug the Chromecast into your TV and you’ll be able to tell the Home Mini things like, “OK Google, play The Great British Baking Show on Netflix,” plus other nifty tricks.

$45.00 at WalmartSee it on CNET

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Google Home Mini and 30-piece Tasty Cookware Set for $99

Another Walmart exclusive bundle: the Google Home Mini packaged with a 30-piece cookware set from Tasty that includes ceramic, non-stick pots, skillets and frying pans in red, copper or blue, all for just $99. The combo usually retails for $230, so this might be worth it for the cookware alone.

$99.00 at WalmartSee more on CNET

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Google Home for $79Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Prefer a smart speaker with a little more oomph? The full-size Google Home gets a Black Friday deal, too, with a $50 discount bringing the price down to $79. Best Buy’s offering the same deal starting Thanksgiving Day.

$79.00 at TargetRead the CNET ReviewSee it at Best Buy

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iRobot Roomba 890 for $350iRobot

Target has a bunch of vacuums and robot vacuums marked down for Black Friday, but the biggest discount we’re seeing is the $150 you can save on an app-enabled Roomba 890. That discount brings the price down to $350, which is about as low as we’ve ever seen a current-gen smart Roomba sell for.

$349.00 at TargetSee it on CNET

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iRobot Roomba 675 for $200

You can get a smart Roomba for even less by going with an earlier-gen model. Best Buy will offer the app-enabled Roomba 675 for $200 starting on Thanksgiving, which saves you $100 off of the retail price.

$199.00 at Best BuySee it on CNET

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Lenovo 8-inch Smart Display for $99Chris Monroe/CNET

We’ve tested all of the impressive new Google Assistant smart displays this year — Lenovo’s was the first, and I think it’s still my favorite. Best Buy has the 8-inch version marked down by a hundred bucks for Black Friday, bringing the price down to $99. That’s the same price as the Black Friday deal on the smaller, less expensive Google Home Hub. Best of all, the deal is already live online, so you can buy it right now if you’re itching to get your shopping started.

$99.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

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Lifx Multicolor Wi-Fi Smart Bulb for $40Chris Monroe/CNET

Starting Thanksgiving Day, Best Buy will offer both the standard-sized and floodlight versions of the current-gen Lifx LED for $40 each, a savings of $20 per bulb. That’s a good price on good smart bulbs that are brighter than Philips Hue.

$39.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

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Nest Cam Indoor for $129Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Nest’s lineup of smart security cameras are all pretty solid picks, but they don’t come cheap. Fortunately, you’ll be able to score a pretty sizable $70 discount on the original Nest Cam Indoor at Target this Black Friday, bringing the cost down to $129. It’s not the newest model, but it’s still a worthy pick, especially at this price. And by the way, if you don’t want to wait for Black Friday, you’ll find the same deal available at Lowe’s Nov. 22 through Nov. 28.

$129.00 at TargetRead the CNET Review$129.00 at Lowe’s

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Nest Cam IQ Outdoor for $149Chris Monroe/CNET

Prefer Nest’s current-gen, outdoor camera? The rugged, weather-proof Nest Cam IQ Outdoor typically sells for a steep $199, but you’ll be able to pick it up for $50 off at Lowe’s from Nov. 22 through Nov 28.

$149.00 at Lowe’sRead the CNET Review

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Nest Hello Video Doorbell for $179Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Here’s a terrific deal on Nest’s excellent video doorbell, which our camera and doorbell pro Megan Wollerton called “the smartest video doorbell available today.” $70 off is about as much as a discount as we’ve ever seen on it — look for the deal at Lowe’s starting on Nov. 22.

$179.00 at Lowe’sRead the CNET Review

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Nest Learning Thermostat (third-gen) for $179Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Nest’s smart thermostat is basically an icon of the smart home at this point. If you’ve been holding out for the right price to make the upgrade in your own smart home, then perhaps this $70 Black Friday discount from Target will do the trick. And yep, Lowe’s will have the same deal starting on Nov. 22.

$179.00 at TargetRead the CNET Review$179.00 at Lowe’s

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Nest Thermostat E for $139Chris Monroe/CNET

It isn’t discounted by quite as much, but the plastic-bodied Nest Thermostat E costs less than the stainless steel Nest to begin with, and it’s just as smart.

$139.00 at TargetRead the CNET Review

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Nest Protect Smoke Detector for $99Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It’s not the biggest doorbuster I’ve ever seen (especially for a piece of tech that’s been out for a few years now), but hey, here’s Nest’s smart smoke detector marked down by $20.

$99.00 at TargetRead the CNET Review

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Netgear Arlo 3-Camera Starter Kit for $199Joshua Goldman/CNET

Netgear’s battery-powered Arlo security cameras are a popular pick for home security, and Walmart’s offering a good Black Friday deal on a first-gen, 3-camera starter kit that’ll save you a hundred bucks. Like the rest of Walmart’s offerings, you’ll find it available starting at 6PM on Thanksgiving Day.

$199.00 at WalmartRead the CNET Review

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Netgear Arlo Pro 2 4-Camera Starter Kit for $580Chris Monroe/CNET

Meanwhile, Best Buy has the newer version of the Arlo cameras available in a 4-camera starter kit for $580. That sounds like a lot, but this kit usually sells for $800. And this is one of Best Buy’s earlybird deals, so it’s already available online if you’re ready to pull the trigger now.

$579.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

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Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance 3-Bulb Starter Kit with Remote for $120

This Philips Hue starter kit includes three color-changing bulbs, a wireless remote that docks on the wall like a light switch when you aren’t using it, and the all-important Philips Hue Bridge that needs to stay plugged into your router in order to control the lights from your phone or sync them with Alexa, Siri or the Google Assistant. It usually costs $190, but Best Buy has it available as an early Black Friday special that you can buy right now for $120. That’s a terrific deal — $120 is $30 less than you’d typically pay for just the bulbs.

$119.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

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Philips Hue Lightstrips for $60Colin West McDonald/CNET

If you’ve already got a Hue Bridge and just want to expand your system, these Hue Lightstrips look great beneath cabinets and behind TVs, and $60 is about as low as they ever sell for. Like the other Hue deal above, this one is available online from Best Buy right now.

$59.00 at Best BuySee it on CNET

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Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Smart Bulb for $40Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Right now, Best Buy is also selling individual Hue bulbs for $40 each, a savings of $10.

$39.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

Save $10
Philips Hue White LED 4-pack for $40Amazon

If you don’t care about the colors and just want to fill out your home with automatable white light, this 4-pack of plain, vanilla Philips Hue White bulbs is just $40 at Best Buy, and available for purchase online right now. Usually sells for $50, which is already a pretty good deal.

$39.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

Free $50 gift card
Buy a Philips Hue 4-Bulb White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit, get a free $50 Target gift card

It isn’t marked down, but if you buy a four-bulb Philips Hue White and Color Starter Kit from Target this Black Friday, the retailer will throw in a free $50 gift card. If you were so inclined, you could turn around and use that card to pick up a bonus bulb for your new setup.

$199.00 at TargetRead the CNET Review

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Ring Floodlight Cam for $199Ring Floodlight Cam

Looking for a smart security light to hang above your garage? You could do a lot worse than this floodlight from Ring, which packs a built-in night vision camera and motion sensor, plus the ability to customize those motion alerts using “activity zones” within the camera’s field of view. Look for a $50 discount on it at Lowe’s between Nov. 22 and Nov. 25.

$199.00 at Lowe’sRead the CNET Review

Save $110
Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) for $140Chris Monroe/CNET

Here’s a heck of a deal that appears to be live already on the Best Buy website: The Ring Video Doorbell 2 with a new, third-gen Amazon Echo Dot for a total of $140. The Ring on its own usually sells for $200, so this is a particularly good value if you’ve been itching for an upgrade at your front door.

$139.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

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Sengled Element 3-Bulb Starter Kit for $30Sengled

If you’re looking for a good deal on smart bulbs, you might consider jumping on this Sengled Element starter kit, which will be available at Best Buy starting Thanksgiving Day (No. 22) for just $30. With 3 bulbs and the Zigbee hub that controls them, that’s cheaper than the 2-bulb starter kit usually sells for.

$29.00 at Best BuySee it on CNET

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Sonos One Smart Speaker for $175Sarah Tew/CNET

With built-in Alexa controls and Google Assistant controls coming next year, the platform-agnostic, premium-sounding Sonos One hits the smart speaker sweet spot at its usual price of $200. Scoring one for $25 off at Best Buy sounds just fine to me.

$174.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

Save $50
Sonos Beam Soundbar with Alexa for $350Sarah Tew/CNET

Best Buy is also offering the Sonos Beam, an Alexa-equipped soundbar, at a savings of $50. Like most of Best Buy’s deals, the sale starts at 5PM on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22).

$349.00 at Best BuyRead the CNET Review

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Best copiers : Top digital photocopiers for businesses, small and big

Despite the decade old quest by businesses all over the world to move to a paperless office, photocopiers (or digital copiers as they are often called) are well and truly an essential player of businesses of any size.

Despite the decade old quest by businesses all over the world to move to a paperless office, photocopiers (or digital copiers as they are often called) are well and truly an essential player of businesses of any size. The arrival of affordable multifunction printers (MFPs) helped establish photocopying as a defacto standard feature of any office.

By combining printing and scanning functionality in one device and slashing the cost of producing printouts using inkjet or laser technologies, MFPs have brought photocopying to the masses. At the same time, they have made significant improvements both in terms of quality, value for money and onboard features.

From usage tracking to improve security, auto duplex, mobile and wireless printing or digital touchscreen display, there’s now a flurry of options available on the market, for the occasional print out and mailing all the way to digital agencies.

What to consider when buying a photocopier?

Below are five points to consider when putting together your checklist

1. Can the photocopier your business is considering handle the capacity needed?

Photocopiers in the shape of multi-function printer come in all shapes and sizes. Many are aimed at the domestic market. Look closely at the stated capacity and match this to your business’ workload.

2. How important is quality of scanning and printing?

Many of the latest photocopiers using advanced print technologies that were, up until a short time ago, only found in high-end printers. If possible, look at samples of print and scanned output before making your choice. Many vendors now offer the option of sending samples by post.

3. Is fax capability needed?

Fax is far from a dead communications medium, with many large businesses still needing it. Look at the fax capability of the MFP, which today is likely to use the cloud as well as direct dial to another fax machine.

4. Will your company need to manage sensitive information?

Access to the features of a photocopier should be controlled with PIN numbers or passwords. Also, ensure that the MFP only prints the required copies to ensure data security. And think about whether the USB port should be disabled to mitigate any risk.

5. Does your business require remote printing?

With the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), printing from mobile devices is fast and efficient. Look closely at the apps that will use the photocopier to ensure these connect securely. An MFP can be a cost-effective asset that a business can build its workflow around.

With digital copiers now coming with a number of configurations, it’s critical to assess your business’ needs and match them to the right one.

What is the price of a digital copier?

The cost of acquiring a printer can be dwarfed by the cost of purchasing the consumables – the toner or ink, but also the paper, the drum, transfer/fuser kit – and the cost of the warranty plans or after sale services. And because you are likely to have one copier embedded within a group in an office or in a business, downtime can prove costly and counterproductive.

Enlisting the help of a managed print service provider (MPS) can simplify the technicalities associated with operating a copier, especially in bigger businesses, as they take care of the lifecycle of the printer including its disposal at the end of life. Like a car lease, you will usually not own the printer after the lease ends (up to five years) and can usually pay a fixed fee for the printer plus an agreed cost per page.

The best copiers

Below are the top 5 digital copiers that target small and midsized businesses and generally enterprises below 1,000 employees based on the manufacturer specifications sheet and the suggested retail price at the time of writing.

At $275 (£210), the HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Wireless All-in-One Printer is the most expensive printer that offers Instant Ink. The latter is a subscription plan that simplifies copying to its extreme: you only have to worry about the number of pages that you print.

At just over 2.2p per colour page (up to 300 pages, 3.3p afterwards), it is an extremely competitive offer, especially bearing in mind that the inks are delivered straight to your office and you can roll over unused pages to the next month if needed. Oh and the cost per page is fixed regardless of whether you print in full colour or just text.

The 8730 comes with a free 3-year Care Pack support package which allows users to swap the printer onsite, next business day, thereby minimising downtime. You also get access to HP’s free JetAdvantage Private Print service that let you print sensitive documents to shared printers without security worries and reduce waste from accidental and forgotten print jobs.

While it does offer faxing, NFC tap-to-print, a 50-page automatic document feeder and automatic duplex as standard, the fact that it has a monthly recommended page volume of up to 2,000 sheets and a 250-sheet input tray (upgradable to 500) means that it is suitable for very small workgroups.

Xerox is the only vendor that offers a lifetime printer warranty on its printer products; however, there’s a big string attached to it (or a rope). You need to purchase a full set of toner (otherwise known as a rainbow pack) every year and the cost of the pack varies from around £500 for the 2,500 page kit to nearly £1,000 for the 8,000 page capacity.

Still, at less than £700, the Xerox Versalink C405DNW is a perfect example of how far laser printers have moved on since the days when only big businesses could afford to buy them. This is a colour laser printer that doubles as a fast copier (up to a staggering 36 copies per minutes, with the first one out in just 11 seconds); it has NFC, wired Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and even USB 3.0 connectivity with auto duplex and automatic document feeder.

You will be able to shoved a whole A4 paper ream in its input tray and its 5-inch touchscreen will allow users to intuitively install select Xerox “apps” like the Earth Smart Driver, the Easy Translator or the Secure Print to improve productivity. Note that the monthty duty cycle (the maximum number of prints per month) stands at a staggering 80,000 “images”, which is equivalent to two hours continuous printing per day and a whopping 160 paper reams. Ouch!

A3 copying is a niche business market and the Brother MFC-J6935DW appears, at least on paper, to have a great potential to cater for it. As part of Brother’s latest INKvestment range, it can copy at up to 12 images per minute in mono and nine in colour (remember, these are for A3 sheets) and offers automatic double sided printing, copying, faxing and scanning as well.

There’s a small 9.3-cm touch screen that offers basic features plus USB, NFC, network and wireless connectivity to service a wide variety of devices.

There are three paper input trays that can handle a total of 600 sheets (note that not all are A3 though) and the recommended maximum print volume is 2,000 pages a month, enough for most small businesses.

While the printer comes with a one year warranty, you will be able to double by purchasing a support pack as well. As for the print cartridges, they are fairly reasonable with a high capacity set selling for just over $131 (£100).

Just bear in mind thought that this is a sizable beast with a footprint larger than an A2 sheet. All in all, a very capable workhorse business copier that retails for less than $314 (£240).

Most of the printers on in this guide use ink technology and this PageWide Pro printer perhaps illustrates the best why ink is a better option than laser in a fair few cases. The HP PageWide Pro 772dn A3 Colour Multifunction copier delivers the sort of performance and features that, until recently, was beyond the realm of what ordinary inkjet printers could achieve. HP’s PageWide technology essentially mimics a laser toner, with an ultrawide ink cartridge that prints along the width of a page (hence the name).

It translates into ultra high printing speeds (up to 55 pages a minute) with scanning speeds of up to 50 images per minute which is almost unheard of in the price bracket where the 772dn is competing (sub -$2600 (£2000)). On top of that, it has some serious paper handling capabilities with a maximum input capacity of more than 5,000 sheets.

Its ability to print on up to A3+ media at up to 2400 x 1200 dpi resolution is backed by business-friendly features like faxing (remember that?), enhanced security capabilities (thanks to HP Print Security) and extensive wired and wireless capabilities.

High yield cartridges (with 187 ml of ink) that can delivery about 16,000 pages are available although a full 4-colour kit will set you back a whopping $1310 (£1,000).

Epson is another printer vendor that is trying new things to change the way you buy consumables. While HP’s take is similar to boxes being shipped over to you, Epson takes a more radical approach by essentially selling the ink wholesale in “big” bottles. A 6,500 page kit (0.35L of ink) will cost you just over $52.37 (£40), a fraction of what the competition charges but you will need to refill the ink yourself which comes with its pros and cons: there are no ink cartridges per se.

The ET-16500 is Epson’s top of the range Ecotank printer and while it has a higher MRSP at $1,178 (£900), it does come with enough ink to print 10,500 pages in black and 11,300 pages in colour, offering a print price that is one of the lowest if not the lowest on the market. In addition, its large ink tanks mean that you won’t need to refill inks often.

And its A3+ paper handling capabilities adds flexibility to your business printing needs, be it simple printing, scanning, copying or faxing. There’s a 500-sheet capacity tray combined with a 35-page auto document feeder and double-sided printing.

As expected, there’s a whole bevy of mobile printing and connectivity options available including Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet and a card reader.

We’ve also highlighted the best business printers

WeMo’s smart dimmer now connects directly with Apple HomeKit – CNET

Earlier this year, the WeMo Mini smart switch was the first smart home gadget to connect directly with Apple HomeKit using Apple’s new software-based approach to HomeKit authentication. That meant that it didn’t need Apple’s MFi chipset packed inside — and it no longer needed the MFi-equipped WeMo Bridge plug-in hub accessory, either.

Earlier this year, the WeMo Mini smart switch was the first smart home gadget to connect directly with Apple HomeKit using Apple’s new software-based approach to HomeKit authentication. That meant that it didn’t need Apple’s MFi chipset packed inside — and it no longer needed the MFi-equipped WeMo Bridge plug-in hub accessory, either.

Now, the WeMo Dimmer light switch is following suit. Like the WeMo Mini, there’s no MFi chip inside the thing, but that doesn’t matter anymore — it can now connect directly with Apple HomeKit thanks to the nifty new software approach.

HomeKit compatibility means that you can add the device into Apple’s Home app on your iOS device, then control it or automate alongside other HomeKit-compatible gadgets from other manufacturers. You can also control HomeKit compatible gadgets using Siri commands — with a light switch like the WeMo Dimmer, she’ll be able to turn the thing on and off or dim it up and down.

You can also incorporate whatever lights the WeMo Dimmer is controlling into a multi-device scene, then activate it with a custom voice command. For instance, “Hey, Siri, Showtime” could dim the lights and lower the smart shades when you want to watch a movie.

The WeMo team tells me that the WeMo Bridge will continue to bring older WeMo gadgets on board with HomeKit, so the thing isn’t totally obsolete just yet. As for the WeMo Dimmer, its newly native HomeKit compatibility will begin rolling out today, so keep your eyes peeled for a firmware update in the WeMo app.


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The best free iPhone games on the planet

The days when you had to buy a dedicated gaming rig and spend a load of cash for a quality gaming experience are long gone. Thanks to the iPhone (and iPod touch) and the App Store, you can get an excellent mobile gaming experience for just a few bucks (or quid, for that matter), or even less.

The days when you had to buy a dedicated gaming rig and spend a load of cash for a quality gaming experience are long gone. Thanks to the iPhone (and iPod touch) and the App Store, you can get an excellent mobile gaming experience for just a few bucks (or quid, for that matter), or even less.

In fact, a lot of the games out there are free. But can you get great games for nothing at all, or is the ‘free’ section of the App Store just a shoddy excuse to bombard you with in-app purchases?

The answer is, of course, both. The trick is finding the gems amongst the dross, and what follows are our picks of the bunch: our top free iPhone games, presented in no particular order, including both long-time classics and brilliant cutting-edge recent releases. We’ve even included a VR game for you… aren’t you lucky?

New this week: Train Party

Train Party is an arcade-oriented puzzle game designed for multiple people to play together. Between two and 12 people on the same Wi-Fi network do their best to keep the train on time, largely by laying down tracks in front of it. In order to avoid disastrous derailment, you must also figure out how to deal with roaming wildlife and a renegade track bomber.

There are two ways to play: collaboratively and competitively. In the former case, the train always heads to the player with the most complete track, so you can keep going for as long as possible. In competition mode, though, the train goes around devices in order, and the winner is the last person not to turn the 9:45 to Washington Union Station into a crumpled heap of twisted metal.

Want to learn more about the latest iPhone? Check out our overview of the iPhone X below!

Super Cat Tales 2 is a platform game that works brilliantly on your iPhone. That in itself is rare, but also this isn’t a stripped-back one-thumb leapy game. Instead, it’s a full-fledged 2D platforming experience reworked for the touchscreen.

The game features a group of cats, determined to save their world from a robot invasion. They sprint, jump, grab coins, and occasionally hop into tanks to eradicate the metal aggressors.

It’s a visual treat – all vibrant colors and chunky pixels. The controls are fab too – a two-thumb system that’s ideal for touchscreens, flexible enough to allow for a range of actions, and that transforms challenges into feats of choreography. In short, this is one of the very best platform games on mobile, and it would be an insult to the creator to not give it a try.

Golfing Around transports you to a simpler age of golf video games. You don’t get lush 3D visuals, enough club choices to give a pro caddie a nervous breakdown, or inch-perfect takes on real-life courses. Instead, you have basic controls, minimal top-down visuals, and a handful of holes dreamed up by the developer.

On iPhone, though, this works really well. The visuals provide clarity, and the straightforward controls afford Golfing Around immediacy. There’s some nuance too – push the power meter into the red and your aim wobbles about, your dream of extra distance at risk from potentially smacking the ball in the wrong direction.

All this ensures Golfing Around makes the cut, but it’s boosted up the leaderboard by a construction kit. Making and sharing your own courses is a cinch. Probably don’t spell out “I prefer soccer actually” using water traps, mind.

Bendy in Nightmare Run dumps you in a world of seriously messed up cartoons. Crackly audio and glitchy black-and-white visuals recall 1920s animation, but with content apparently ferried in from a nightmare dimension.

Each level has your hero run towards the screen, fleeing a pursuing horror and its legions of tiny – yet equally ferocious – minions. You swipe between three lanes and lob collected weapons behind you with a tap. Do this enough times and your aggressor finally gets the hint and slinks off.

In gameplay terms, there’s little here you’ve not seen before – Bendy is more or less Temple Run flipped 180 degrees – but the presentation alone makes the game worth an install. Just be aware this nightmare run has a difficulty level that, if not nightmarish, is at least very challenging.

A Way to Slay is a game of epic sword fights reimagined as time-attack turn-based puzzling. You begin each round surrounded by enemies eager to separate your head from your shoulders. A quick double-tap on any of them and you strike with a killing blow – but then your opponents get their chance to move, and if you’re too near one of them, your innards end up sprayed across the sparse landscape.

Assuming you don’t mind quite a lot of ‘red’ as you go about solving its challenges, A Way to Slay proves itself to be a novel take on turn-based puzzling. And even though your view’s more limited on an iPhone than an iPad, you can use gestures to pan and zoom the screen like you’re directing your very own stabby Hollywood epic.

Alphabear 2 introduces you to a world where bears have made a major blunder with a time machine, and need you to fix things by… spelling words. Even the in-game protagonists don’t seem convinced by that setup, but it’s a fun hook on which to hang the sequel to one of the iPhone’s best word games.

As in the original Alphabear, you make words from Scrabble tiles on a grid. When tiles are used, bears expand into the gaps. Tiles also have countdown timers, and turn to stone if you don’t use them in time, thwarting your ability to make full-screen bears.

There’s a lot going on, including several modes, oddball ‘bear speech’ victory screens, a smattering of (horrors!) education, and a mildly baffling bear collection meta-game. In all, though, it’s furry much worth a download.

Asphalt 9: Legends is a madcap, streamlined racer. Much like Super Mario Run has the plumber ‘auto-run’, leaving you to time jumps, Legends corners and steers while you focus on timing. You must perform show-off drifts, jumps, and control frequent blasts of nitro.

The notion of a driving game stripped of steering might seem odd, but it works. Races are exhilarating and the courses become puzzle-like as you figure out where and when to perform the correct actions. If letting the game do the work is not your cup of tea, there is also a manual option which puts you back in control.

As with all Asphalt games, you spend an unfeasibly long time hurtling through the air; car pinwheeling in a manner that would make even the most maverick stunt-person’s eyes widen.

For a visually dazzling, entirely over the top slice of mobile-focused arcade racing, Asphalt 9: Legends is hard to beat.

Soosiz is a side-on classic platformer – of a sort. Most such games echo Super Mario Bros, having you sprint from left to right, jumping on enemy heads, grabbing bling, and hot-footing it to an exit. Soosiz takes that basic framework, but has you explore tiny chunks of land floating in space, each of which has its own gravitational pull.

As you run, the screen flips and lurches; your brain flips, too, as you try to figure out which way is up, locate a bunch of tiny critters who’ve got themselves lost, and not accidentally careen into the void due to a misdirected jump.

But once everything clicks, what amounts to a 2D take on Super Mario Galaxy proves to be a smart, engaging mobile platformer, putting a new spin on the genre.

Sneak Ops is a stealth game that wants you to “get to the chopper”. The snag: between you and your airborne escape route are rooms packed with enemy soldiers, traps, and – occasionally – inconveniently unbreathable air. Also, you’re unarmed. Thanks, budget cutbacks!

You must therefore sneak about, avoid detection and unsportingly wallop enemies over the head whenever you get the chance. Along the way, you grab floppy disks, which for some reason are used to buy restart points. Perhaps evil dudes are all retro gamers at heart.

It’s tense, pacy stuff, with some fab visuals. Even better: there’s a new mission every day – and everyone gets the same one, thereby pitting you against many thousands of other wannabe strategic operators.

Wordgraphy looks like a stripped-back crossword puzzle with letters crammed into a grid, but the letters are muddled up and you can’t just drag them wherever you fancy. Tap any letter and you’ll be presented with a small set of possible destinations.

The aim is to ensure you create complete words. It’s often easy enough to make one or two, but then you’ll be left with the likes of CCRZK along one axis, and a realization that perhaps your other words aren’t the right ones.

A smart, interesting piece of logic word puzzling, then, and a game that’s suitably different from its contemporaries when you’re getting bored with more conventional fare.

Kind of Soccer will be catharsis in gaming form for anyone who ever felt their soccer team was wronged by an official. That’s because although this game has a pitch and a ball, points are scored by belting the ball directly at the referee’s head.

The controls are a straightforward slingshot – just drag an arrow indicator and let rip. At first, your only danger is bad aim – kick the ball out of bounds and a point is awarded against your team – but in later rounds, defenders attempt to save the ref from a beating.

Fortunately, you can continue your unsporting rage by using bonuses that pop-up, including laser sights, and one option that entertainingly turns every opposition player into a tree.

Fortnite is a massively multiplayer online ‘battle royale’. You’re dropped into a playfield with 100 other players, each aiming to be the last standing. To achieve that goal, you must explore your surroundings, find a dangerous weapon, and use it to do some serious violence.

This in itself isn’t unique – even on mobile. But Fortnite differentiates itself in key ways. It has a sense of humor – and a sense of style that isn’t dull military fare. Also, rather than just shooting things, Fortnite encouragers you to build, creating strategic defensive barriers.

The relatively complex controls are, naturally, a problem on iPhone, and can frustrate in the heat of a battle. For the most part, though, this is impressive and ambitious multiplayer gaming that makes your iPhone feel like a console.

Look, Your Loot! takes the basics of free-roaming RPGs and shoves them into a grid-based interface not dissimilar from puzzlers like Threes!

The rodent protagonist – a heavily armed mouse – moves about the grid as you swipe, his energy being depleted during battles or replenished on grabbing elixirs and shields. Whenever you enter a new tile, something new appears from the opposite side of the grid.

The key to survival – and a high-score – is carefully planning your route, ensuring you don’t end up trapped between a number of powerful and angry adversaries. It’s the sort of RPG-lite that’s perfect to quickly fire up during a few minutes of downtime; but multiple level layouts and surprising depth in the mechanics also make Look, Your Loot! a rewarding game to master over the longer term.

DROLF is mini golf combined with scribbling and a smattering of route-finding. Courses start in bare-bones, incomplete fashion. You see a ball, a hole, and perhaps a few walls. You then draw on the screen to add new barriers, before dragging a line to smack the ball on its way.

This isn’t a game that cares a jot for realism. The ball has endless momentum and merrily bounces around enclosed spaces like a trapped fly before – with luck – finding the hole, or exiting the screen.

But DROLF wants to be played, and so the only limitations are your pot of scribbling ink (for which you get unlimited undos) and your cunning planning powers when battling later stages packed full of magnets, fans and moving walls. As a tactile touchscreen reimagining of a fun pastime, it’s more hole-in-one than out of bounds.

Pocket Run Pool reimagines pool for the solo player. It gives you a table from above, with the twist that each of the pockets has a multiplier on it. Your score comprises the number on the ball multiplied by the number on the pocket, and you lose one of your three lives every time you miss a shot or pocket the white.

Aficionados of videogame pool may grumble at this game’s basic nature. The visuals are 2D and minimal, and there’s some major hand-holding regarding aiming. But any such complaints miss the point.

Pocket Run Pool isn’t about slavish realism, but taking a fresh look at pool, and fashioning a modern, quick solo game around scoring and taking risks, rather than getting soundly beaten again and again by a computer opponent on a 3D table.

Letterpress is a mix of Boggle and Risk. Two players (you and an online or computer opponent) face a five-by-five grid of letters and take turns tapping out words. But the key isn’t to show off your vocabulary; instead, you must strategize to secure territory.

Captured letters turn your color, but those surrounded by your tiles become a darker shade and cannot be flipped by your opponent during their turn. With careful play, you gradually chip away at the board; to win, you must secure every tile.

It’s a simple premise, but one that makes for surprisingly exciting battles. Games can turn on a smart play you didn’t see coming; many become like a tug of war, with you and an opponent trading blows. The claustrophobic board further adds to the intensity, and makes a nice change from countless Scrabble clones.

Shadowgun Legends is a first-person shooter with swagger, which depicts you as a show-off gun for hire, partaking in a probably prescient mix of wiping out evil aliens and reality TV.

After arriving in the game’s hub, you immediately find yourself on missions, which mostly involve following fairly linear pathways, violently shooting everything that moves – and some things that don’t. Control mostly happens by way of two thumbs (movement and gaze), with the odd trip to special power-up buttons.

For anyone deep into the world of console shooters, Shadowgun Legends may feel stripped back and reductive, but you’d have to be a misery to not have fun blasting away, gradually working your way through dozens of missions. Just remember when your worryingly eager fans build a statue of your wonderful self to worship, they’ll ditch you the second their next hero comes along.

Colorblind begins with a twist on a gaming cliche – the hero’s girl is kidnapped, but she happens to be an eyeball. So is the hero, Right Eye, who suddenly finds his world bereft of color.

Naturally, the hero sets out to rescue his love, and defeat the nefarious cloud pirates. But all is not as it seems in this world of monochrome platforms and hazards. Grab an easel and specific items spring vividly to life – coins, monsters, traps and platforms. You must make best use of the color (and waterfalls to wash it off) to work your way through the three unique worlds.

Don’t be fooled by the cutesy visuals and sweet-natured music, though – Colorblind also has an eye for old-school platforming classics. This means you’ll need tight reflexes and precision to succeed.

Orbia is a one-thumb action game where you dash between targets, avoiding orbiting monsters. The path onwards is always pre-set, so this game is all about timing – waiting for the exact moment to sneak through a gap rather than ending up getting horribly killed.

It might not be particularly innovative, but although you’ve probably seen a game like this before, Orbia is worth downloading. It looks pretty great, with a nicely cartoonish vibe. The levels and approaches are nicely varied, as is the pace, which veers between Matrix-style slo-mo and like someone’s slammed down a fast-forward button.

With hundreds of levels and a slew of skins to collect (each of which offers unique abilities), Orbia should keep you dashing for some time.

Golf Up is an endless golfing game. However, as its name might suggest, this isn’t about forever belting a ball across a horizontal landscape – the holes here head towards the heavens.

Everything about Golf Up is pretty basic. The visuals are clean, and the audio sparse. The controls are straightforward, too: drag a finger to set direction and power. A little aiming arc even helps predict where the ball will go.

A simple game, then, but Golf Up quickly proves itself to be a relaxing, meditative arcade experience, with a hint of strategy and risk. There’s no timer and no rush, but you always know you’re only one shot from your ball falling into the abyss, ending your latest attempt at a new high score.

Retro Highway marries the accessibility of modern mobile titles with the high-skill challenge and aesthetics of old-school racers. Visually, it comes across like Hang On and Enduro Racer (or, if you’re not old enough to recognize those titles, those weird games your dad used to play). But in gameplay terms, we’re very much in endless survival territory.

As you zoom along, you collect coins and jump high into the air using ramped trucks, gradually unlocking better bikes and new places where you can ride them. It’s not a very deep experience, but Retro Highway is fun to dip into when you fancy an exhilarating blast of weaving between lorries at breakneck speed, regularly leaping from ramps, and only occasionally splattering your hapless rider against an overpass.

Up a Cave is a platform game that seemingly plays out in a world of ice. As you leap about, collecting gems and stars, you quickly realize the square protagonist slides all over the place. And that’s a problem, given that the titular caves are strewn with square-killing spikes and other horrors.

This game cleverly mixes precision and speed. One minute, you’re carefully picking your way up a wall; the next, you’re zooming along like a blocky Sonic. The tension is sometimes further ramped up when you’re pursued by a mean-looking eyeball covered in spikes.

The one snag is a fairly obnoxious lives system (wait 30 minutes for five, or watch an ad) that lacks an IAP buy-out. Still, the quality of this freebie is such that you’ll put up with the inconvenience, to get another crack at the latest tricky cave.

Will Hero is a superb one-thumb arcade game that features a blocky hero dashing through a world of levitating islands, being all heroic and duffing up enemies. His foes are mostly bouncing cubes, and you must carefully time dashes to pass beneath them, or engineer collisions to knock them into the abyss.

Crack open a chest you find on your travels, and you’ll get weapons that transform dashes into violent attacks. Add in the game’s collectible helms (from unlocking loot crate chests), and you’ll end up with many potential weapons to choose from, including missiles and colossal swords.

Will Hero is fast-paced, inventive, and a lot of fun. It has a unique feel, and pleasingly bucks convention when you rescue a princess. When you do so, she tags along on subsequent adventures, gleefully hacking away at the enemies who once imprisoned her.

A Hollow Doorway finds a rectangular doorway spinning into the void. Its survival depends on your thumb – dragging left and right to align the doorway with an endless number of rapidly approaching concentric walls. Imagine Super Hexagon, if the game was instead called Super Rectangle, and only required one of your thumbs for controlling things, rather than two.

Initially, the overt simplicity makes A Hollow Doorway seem throwaway, and surprisingly basic from the brains behind superb platformer Circa Infinity and the insanely tricky Yankai’s puzzlers.

But there’s nuance here. Each of the game’s nine zones has its own character, often melding with the excellent audio. And for the long-term, these zones have a theoretically infinite range of difficulty modes – enough to push even the twitchiest of dexterous thumbs to its absolute limits.

Cobalt Dungeon finds an explorer roaming dungeons, battling monsters, going on quests, and occasionally getting a bit shoppy. The action’s turn-based, and success often depends on engaging your chess brain to think several moves ahead. When you’re surrounded by enemies, you must figure out in which order to dispatch them.

This infusion of puzzling isn’t uncommon in top-down games of this kind, but it plays out really nicely in Cobalt Dungeon. When you’re surrounded by roaming floating eyeballs, you might initially panic. But then you’ll spot a narrow path to coax them down, to off them one by one, or figure out how to exploit their sluggish movement patterns.

With procedurally generated dungeons and in-game upgrade stores, every game is different. But more importantly, Cobalt Dungeon’s clever design means that every game is fun.

Flipflop Solitaire reasons that a card game you play on an iPhone should be designed for its screen and mobile play rather than a table. To that end, it takes spider solitaire as a basic framework, then messes around with the formula.

You’re still working with stacks of cards, aiming to sort them back into suits. However, in this game you have only five columns to work with and the height of your iPhone’s display provides a vertical limit.

Flipflop Solitaire shakes things up more by letting you stack cards in increasing or decreasing value. This single change proves transformative, turning every deal into a solvable puzzle, and games with a single suit into frantic, entertaining speed-runs.

Disc Drivin’ 2 is a turn-based racing game. That might make no sense on paper, but it translates well to the screen, effectively mashing up shuffleboard with high-tech levitating tracks full of speed-up mats, gaps, and traps.

You can play alone, tackling a daily challenge or partaking in speed-runs. The latter option is ideal for getting to know the tracks – essential when battling other players online. You then swap moves – bite-sized chunks of gameplay where you inch your disc around the circuit, in races that can last for days.

There are freemium shenanigans going on, mostly for cards that unlock new disc powers, and the fixed camera can be frustrating – although if you’re facing the wrong way, you should probably resolve to learn that track’s layout a bit better. Those minor niggles aside, this is a compelling, entertaining racer that rewards extended play.

Slime Pizza is a platform game, with running and jumping replaced by catapulting the protagonist around like one of the characters from Angry Birds. The hero here (a delivery drone for Slime Pizza) is a gloopy blob that sticks to ceilings and walls, and his world is one of lethal traps, gigantic spiders, and annoyingly efficient guard dogs.

Your aim is to grab scattered pizzas and make your way ever further into a game continually finding inventive ways to kill you. With its unconventional controls and restart points that only appear every half-dozen or so screens, Slime Pizza can frustrate when you hit a tricky bit and repeatedly have to fight your way back for another go.

On the whole, though, it’s a novel mobile platformer with enough charm and smarts to make you stick around.

The Battle of Polytopia is more or less a classic version of Civilization played in fast-forward. You start off with a single city, surrounded by the unknown. You then explore, research technologies, and give anyone who gets in your way a serious kicking.

Unlike the sprawling Civilization games, Polytopia is focused and sleek. The technology tree stops before guns arrive, the standard game mode limits you to 30 moves, and new cities cannot be founded – only conquered.

For the more bloodthirsty, there’s a domination mode, where you aim to be the last tribe standing. The maximum map size expands and online asynchronous multiplayer opens up if you pay for more tribes. However you play, this is a furiously addictive, brilliantly realized slice of mobile strategy.

Six Match is a match-three game with a twist. Rather than arbitrarily swapping gems, you control a character with the oddly literal moniker Mr Swap-With-Coins, and as the game’s name suggests, he has just six moves after every successful match to make another.

The game wrong-foots you from the start. Any muscle memory you have from the likes of Bejeweled evaporates as you figure out the most efficient way to make the next match. The result is a game heavy on puzzling and light on speed.

Just when you think you’ve got it worked out, Six Match throws new mechanics into the mix: diamonds you clear by dropping them out of the well, deadly skulls and cages that push entire lines of coins. The layered strategy should keep you matching for the long term, as you figure out new ways to crack your high score.

ARcade Plane – with emphasis in the ‘AR’ – combines the complex and the simple, providing you with an augmented reality gaming experience controlled by a single digit.

The game projects a tiny city on to a nearby surface, above which a plane circles. It’s low on fuel and – for reasons unknown – must grab a set number of stars before it lands. The tiny snag: the city is rather suspiciously surrounded by extremely tall, spiky hills – and between them is where the stars are found.

You hold the screen to dive, carefully timing doing so to snatch up stars, then release the screen so your plane briefly soars heavenward again. All the while, your city grows and you unlock more planes. Simple stuff, then, but an effective and fun use of AR that anyone can get into.

It’s Full of Sparks finds you in a world where firecrackers are cruelly imbued with sentience. Aware of their imminent demise, they make a beeline for water to extinguish their spark and therefore not explode. Your aim is to help them make a splash.

Each of the 80 hand-crafted levels takes a mere handful of seconds to complete – at least when you master the precise choreography required. Before then, there’s plenty of trial and error as you tap colored buttons to turn hazards and chunks of the landscape on and off, and grab rotors that let you soar heavenward.

Despite occasionally slippy controls, this one’s a joy – full of personality and smart level design. It’s likely to put a smile on your face even when your firework goes out with a bang.

Amazing Katamari Damacy is a deeply weird endless runner. It’s based on a popular PlayStation 2 game, where a tiny prince rolls a magical ball (the titular katamari) into smaller things to make it grow.

On iPhone, the original’s free-roaming nature has been dispensed with, but its bonkers premise remains. You start off rolling nails into your ball, but it quickly balloons to take on toys, vehicles, and entire buildings.

The controls are a touch slippy – although better in tilt than swipe – and games can be lengthy. But this one’s a visual treat, with an interesting twist that makes it worth a look even if you’re tiring of games where you endlessly sprint into the screen.

Beat Street is a touchscreen brawler that wears its influences on its sleeve. The pixelated art recalls classic beat ’em ups, and the stop-start gameplay – with occasional unsporting use of baseball bats to bash enemies around the head – smacks of Double Dragon and Streets of Rage.

Yet this isn’t slavish retro fare. The game feels familiar, but its set-up is entertainingly oddball (liberating a city being terrorized by sentient, bipedal, suited rodents), and everything is controlled by a single thumb.

The controls could have spelled the end for Beat Street, but – amazingly – they work brilliantly, enabling deft footwork, punches, kicks, special moves, and the means to smash an evil rat’s face in with a brick. Apart from unnecessary grind-to-unlock levels, Beat Street’s the perfect freebie iPhone brawler.

Duke Dashington Remastered is a fast-paced single-screen platform game featuring dapper explorer Duke Dashington. Suitably, given his moniker, this treasure-hunting gent doesn’t so much walk as dash. Press left or right and he hurtles in that direction until hitting a wall. Prod up and he shoots towards the ceiling.

This turn of speed is handy, given that his adventures take place within four crumbling dungeons. He must escape each room before a ten-second timer runs down, or end up being a kind of buried treasure himself.

Smart level design turns each of the 120 rooms into something akin to a tiny puzzle. And although the entire game can be dashed through in a couple of hours, a time-attack mode gives hardy and dextrous armchair adventurers a reason to return.

Cally’s Caves 4 continues the adventures of worryingly heavily armed pigtailed protagonist Cally, a young girl who spends most of her life leaping about vast worlds of suspended platforms, shooting all manner of bad guys.

For once, her parents haven’t been kidnapped (the plot behind all three previous games in the series) – this time she’s searching for a medallion to cure a curse. But the gameplay remains an engaging mix of console-like running and shooting, with tons of weapons to find (and level-up by blasting things).

But perhaps the best sections feature Bera, Cally’s ‘ninja bear cub’ pal. His razor-sharp claws make short work of enemies, resulting in a nice change of pace as the furry sidekick tears up the place.

Infiniroom is an endless runner set inside a claustrophobic room. The dinky protagonist leaps from wall to wall, going in circles and avoiding electrified boxes that periodically pop-up.

Every now and again, a chunk of surrounding wall turns orange, before vanishing and opening things up a bit. But sometimes space within the room turns red – a warning that it’s about to become wall again, and that you really shouldn’t be there when it does. Lasers and whirling saw blades add further complications.

Each character in the game has a special power, designed to increase their longevity. But make no mistake: this is intense twitch gaming of the Super Hexagon kind.

Managing to survive for a minute requires almost superhuman reactions. Just be aware all those short games add up – Infiniroom might be brutal and frustrating, but it’s also hugely compelling.

Sonic Forces: Speed Battle re-imagines Sega’s long-time mascot’s adventures as a 3D lane-based auto-runner. Which is to say that it’s an awful lot like Sonic Dash and Sonic Dash 2, which you may have already played.

The twist here is in the ‘battle’ bit, which pits you against three other human players. As you belt along the track, avoiding traps, you can grab pick-ups – many of which happen to be weapons.

This transforms the slightly throwaway Sonic Dash format into a tense and competitive on-rails racer closer in nature to Mario Kart.

Naturally, there’s still a load of freemium shenanigans stinking the place up a bit, but even for free there’s plenty of blazing fast fun to be had.

BotHeads looks like a low-rent Badland game, with its colorful backgrounds, and levels full of silhouettes. But BotHeads plays very differently, being more about precision than semi-controlled chaos – even if you’re often pelted along against your will.

Your BotHead has two thrusters to keep it aloft. You travel rightwards, towards periodic checkpoints that allow a few seconds’ breathing space. Levels are full of hazards, from pinball-like bumpers that hurl you off-course to giant saw blades.

That wouldn’t be so bad, but the aim is to get through the entire game in one go. By means of ‘encouragement’, the trails of ex-BotHeads from failed attempts appear in the background of subsequent attempts. It all combines to make for an immediate, compelling blend of styles and ideas that’s perfectly suited to iPhone.

Super Phantom Cat 2 is an eye-searingly colorful side-scrolling platform game. Like its predecessor, this game wants you to delve into every nook and cranny, looking for hidden gold, unearthing secrets, and finding out what makes its vibrant miniature worlds tick.

It’s also a game that never seems content to settle – and we mean that in a good way. It revels in unleashing new superpowers, such as a flower you fire at walls to make climbing vines, or at bricks to increase their fragility. It also wants you to experiment, figuring out how critters who are ostensibly your enemies can be coerced into doing your bidding.

The only downside is the presence of freemium elements (ads and an ‘energy’ system) – although both can be removed with inexpensive IAP if you agree this is one cool cat to hang out with.

Anycrate takes the idea of a gunfight and hurls it headlong into absurdist territory. There’s no ‘20 paces’ nonsense here – instead, the two protagonists are on floating stone platforms, leaping about like maniacs and blasting each other with gigantic bullets.

You can share your device to play against a friend (which is admittedly more suitable with an iPad) or play against the AI.

And given that we’re firmly in arcade territory, it should come as no surprise that there are all sorts of power-ups that affect the game in various ways. Medical kits patch up your tiny soldier, but you’re just as likely to blast a crate that unsportingly sends fiery meteors your opponent’s way.

Given that you only get two buttons (Jump and Shoot), there’s a surprising amount going on in Anycrate, not least when you venture into the co-op mode with a friend, and find yourselves battling to protect a pile of bling from tiny ‘magical’ thieves. No, we weren’t expecting that twist either.

Train Bandit isn’t exactly nuanced. It depicts a showdown on top of a train, where a bandit faces off against an endless stream of foes, all of whom are quick on the draw – and armed to the teeth.

The bandit’s not going to take his impending demise lying down – instead, he’ll take as many of the enemies with him as he can. You therefore tap left and right to dart between carriages, kicking enemies in the face before they shoot you.

Make one wrong move and you’re dead. Misread the type of enemy you’re facing and you’re dead. Pause for a fraction of a second too long and you’re dead. You get the picture. But the great thing about being a bandit in a videogame – you can always be resurrected for another quick go.

Data Wing is a neon-infused story-driven racing adventure. It’s also brilliant – a game you can’t believe someone has released for free, and also devoid of ads and IAP.

It starts off as an unconventional top-down racer, with you steering a little triangular ship, scraping its tail against track edges for extra boost. As you chalk up victories, more level types open up, including side-on challenges where you venture underground to find bling, before using boost pads to clamber back up to an exit.

The floaty world feels like outer-space, but Data Wing actually takes place inside a smartphone, with irrational AI Mother calling the shots. To say more would spoil things, but Data Wing’s story is as clever as the racing bits, and it all adds up to the iPhone’s most essential freebie.

Tappy Catis a rhythm action game, with you playing as a musical moggie. Your cat sits before a ‘tree guitar’, and notes head out from the middle of the screen along two rails. These must be tapped, held, or tapped along with another note, depending on their color.

This is routine for a rhythm action game, but it’s the execution that makes Tappy Cat delightful. It feels perfectly tuned for iPhone (your thumbs can always reach the notes), and there’s a cat-collection meta-game, rewarding you with new kitties when you totally nail a tune.

The only bum notes are a lives system (a video ad will give you five lives – although there is also a $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49 endless lives IAP for those who want it), and the way in which a single major blunder ends your latest attempt at musical superstardom of the furry kind.

Flat Pack wraps a two-dimensional platform game around three-dimensional shapes. You control a little flying creature tasked with collecting every side of a cube before finding a level’s exit.

But figuring out where to head isn’t straightforward, because in applying a 2D game world to 3D wall surfaces, you can end up facing a different way when entering a plane from a new direction.

Fortunately, the game has a gentle difficulty curve – death means restarting a level, but not collecting cube parts you’ve already found. And Flat Pack slowly introduces its new ideas, such as enemies defeated by smashing them from below.

Should you find the main game discombobulating, there’s also an augmented reality mode, which has you walk around a puzzle with your iPhone. It’s a weird but effective experience.

Memory Path is a simple memory test that showcases how polish and smart design can transform the most basic of concepts into an essential download.

Across 50 levels, you tap left or right to move along a path toward a goal. The twist is the path disappears shortly after you enter a level. Initially, remembering where to go isn’t tough, but later levels are likely to find your adventurer regularly impaled before you finally succeed.

Levels complete, you’ll feel fully trained for the endless modes. Random shuffles the order in which you tackle levels; and Race Path is all about speed – how far you can get before the road ahead vanishes. Sharp isometric graphics, a gentle soundtrack, and unlockable characters further boost the game’s longevity.

Power Hover: Cruise is three endless runners (well, surfers) for the price of one. It borrows the boss battle levels from the superb, beautiful Power Hover, and expands on them. You get to speed through a booby-trapped pyramid, avoid projectiles blasted your way by an angry machine you’re chasing through a tunnel, and whirl around a track that snakes through the clouds.

This is a gorgeous game, with silky animation and minimal, but vibrant objects and scenery. The audio is excellent, too – the rousing electronic soundtrack urging you on.

There are a couple of snags: games can abruptly end due to difficulty spikes, and the controls initially seem floaty. But we grew to love the inertia, which differentiates Power Hover: Cruise and makes it feel like you’re surfing on air. As for the difficulty, spend time learning the hazards and mastering the game, and you’ll soon be climbing the high score tables.

Finger Smash is more or less whack-a-mole with fruit – and a big ol’ dose of sudden death. You get a minute to dish out tappy destruction, divided up into seconds-long rounds.

In each case, you’re briefly told what to smash, and set about tapping like a maniac. Hit the wrong object, and your game ends with a flaming skull taunting you. (Lasting the full minute is surprisingly tough.)

This is a simple high-score chaser, and so there’s understandably not a lot of depth here. However, there are plenty of nice touches. The visuals have an old-school charm, and the music is suitably energetic.

But also, there’s the way you can swipe through multiple items, the bomb that ominously appears during the final ten seconds, and varied alternate graphics sets if you feel the need to squish space invaders, fast food, or adorable cartoon robots. Great stuff.

Spin Addict is an endless runner set in a landscape of endless industrial cogs and sparks. You control a piece of metal you set spinning with a swipe, subsequently tapping to leap, and swiping downwards to flip the ground beneath you.

In the endless mode, played in portrait, you try to get as far as possible – easier said than done when massive pieces of machinery regularly want to flatten you, and your power must be constantly replenished by grabbing golden targets.

There’s also a 15-level challenge mode, which plays out in landscape. This is more about pathfinding – getting to the end of each course intact, having collected as many gems as possible along the way. However you play, Spin Addict is a wonderful app with a properly premium feel (bar the inevitable ads, which can be removed for $0.99/99p/AU$1.49).

Leap On! is an endless jumper with a sadistic streak – at least as far as its bounding protagonist goes. The two-eyed ball is tied to a central spiked star by a huge piece of elastic. Whenever you hold the screen, the hero moves in a clockwise direction.

The snag is hitting the spiked star spells instant doom – as does touching anything else that’s black. At first, this mostly means jumping on white orbs, and avoiding the odd lurking blob, but before long, the star starts lobbing all manner of ball-killing stuff your way.

You can fight back by grabbing power ups and smashing the white bits of projectiles, while chasing dual high scores – how many white orbs you hit, and your furthest distance from the star. Leap On! is admittedly a bit one note, but the pacy, chaotic gameplay very much appeals in short bursts.

Built for Speed is a top-down racer with chunky old-school graphics, and a drag-and-drop track editor. Make a track and it’s added to the pool the game randomly grabs from during its three-race mini-tours; other users are the opposition, with you racing their ‘ghosts’.

Handling’s simple – you steer left or right. Winning is largely about finding the racing line, not smacking into tires some idiot’s left in the road, and not drifting too much.

Initially, though, the game’s so sedate you wonder whether someone mistook an instruction to make it “very 80s” by having it seem like the cars are driven by octogenarians. But a few upgrades later and everything becomes nicely zippy.

The only real snag is the matchmaking doesn’t always work, pitting you against pimped-out cars you’ve no chance against. Still, even if you take a sound beating, another tour’s only ever a few races a way.

Knight Saves Queen is a turn-based puzzle game, based on a knight leaping about a chess board. He moves in a standard ‘L’, aiming to bump off every adversary on the board, before rescuing the queen.

Initially, he’s only faced by pawns, but soon other pieces enter the fray, forcing you to carefully plan your path. Over time, allies also appear, allowing you to further manipulate the opposition, which takes pieces every chance it gets.

The bite-sized nature of the game combined with the smart puzzle design make it ideal freebie fare for mobile. We do, however, take exception at needing perfect runs on every level set to unlock the next – unless, of course, you buy coins via IAP.

Still, if nothing else, this forces you to properly tackle every puzzle, rather than blaze through with the least amount of effort.

Flick Soccer is all about scoring goals by booting a ball with your finger. It looks very smart, with fairly realistic visuals and nicely arcade-y ball movement. You can unleash pretty amazing shots as you aim for the targets, and occasionally bean a defender.

The game includes several alternate modes, providing a surprising amount of variation on the basic theme. There’s a speed option that involves flicking at furious speed, and the tense sudden-death Specialist, which ends your go after three failed attempts to hit the target.

Rather more esoteric fare also lurks, demanding you repeatedly hit the crossbar, or smash panes of glass a crazy person has installed in the goalmouth.

Like real-world sport on the TV, Flick Soccer is a bit ad-infested. You can, though, remove ads with a one-off $0.99/99p/AU$1.99 IAP, or – ironically – turn them off for ten minutes by watching an ad.

Drop Wizard Tower is a superb mobile take on classic single-screen arcade platform games like Bubble Bobble. Your little wizard has been thrown in jail by the evil Shadow Order, and must ascend a tower over 50 levels to give his enemies a good ‘wanding’ (or something.)

It’s all very cute, with dinky pixelated enemies, varied level design (skiddy ice; disappearing platforms; watery bits in which you move slowly), and fast-paced boss battles against gargantuan foes.

Most importantly, it’s very much designed for mobile. You auto-run left or right, and blast magic when landing on a platform. Said blasts temporarily stun roaming enemies, which can be booted away, becoming a whirling ‘avalanche’ on colliding with cohorts.

The auto-running bit disarms at first – in most similar games, the protagonist stays put unless you keep a direction button held. But once the mechanics click, Drop Wizard Tower cements itself as a little slice of magic on your iPhone.

One Tap Rally distills the top-down mobile racer into a one-thumb effort. Press the screen and you accelerate; let go and you slow down. In the nitros mode, you can also swipe upward for an extra burst of speed.

It feels a bit like slot-racing, but the tracks are organic and free-flowing, rather than rigid chunks of plastic. Learning each bend and straight is essential to get around without hitting the sides – important because such collisions rob you of precious seconds.

You’re also not alone – One Tap Rally pits you against the online ghosts of other players. Each time you better your score, you improve your rank on the current track, ready to face tougher opponents. This affords an extra layer of depth to what was already an elegant, playable mobile racer.

Crazy Taxi is a port of a popular and superb Dreamcast/arcade title from 1999. You belt around a videogame take on San Francisco, hurling yourself from massive hills, soaring through the air like only a crazy taxi can, and regularly smashing other traffic out of the way.

Given the ‘taxi’ bit in the title, fares are important. Getting them where they want to go in good time replenishes the clock. Excite them and you’re awarded bonuses. Go ‘crashy’ rather than ‘crazy’ and the fare will take their chances and leap out of your cab, leaving you without their cash.

Crazy Taxi looks crude, but still plays brilliantly, and even the touchscreen controls work very nicely. For free, you must be online to play, however – a sole black mark in an otherwise fantastic port (and one you can remove with IAP).

In Fish & Trip, you command a single smiling fish, happily swimming in the ocean depths. Using your finger, you direct the fish towards eggs and other stragglers, the latter of which join you to gradually form a school. Unfortunately, everything else in the sea is hungry for a fish dinner.

At first, you’ll spot spiky anemones and the occasional sluggish green fish with big teeth. But eventually, you’ll be zig-zagging through claustrophobic seas, trying to find new friends to keep your school alive, and avoiding massive sharks that show up to the theme from Jaws.

It’s all rather simple, and may eventually pall. But in the short term at least, Fish & Trip is one of those wonderful and rare iPhone games pretty much guaranteed to plaster a smile on your face.

Topsoil, like its subject matter of gardening, is something that only really works if you’re willing to put in the investment. And that’s because it’s a puzzler that’s easy to grasp within seconds, but that rewards long-term play, as you slowly master new strategies to lengthen your games.

The board is a four-by-four grid, into which you add plants. Every four moves you can harvest a plant – or group of adjacent plants – which turns the soil. A reckless approach soon leaves you with non-contiguous chunks of land and no chance of removing loads of plants at once.

Even when planning ahead, the game’s inherently random nature can rapidly end a game. But Topsoil’s charm and gradual drip-feeding of new items to plant makes for a leisurely and enduring brain-teaser ideal for filling spare moments.

There’s a lot going on in 3D racer NASCAR Heat Mobile. There’s the racing bit, obviously, which is rather nicely done. You find yourself on an oval of tarmac, attempting to slipstream and weave your way to the checkered flag, avoiding a horrible pile-up along the way. It all looks rather smart, even if vehicle movement is occasionally suspect; the controls are simple and responsive too.

Away from the racing, you can delve into a meta-game of sorts, erecting buildings to generate resources that support your little race team’s efforts. This can be a bit of a distraction, but adds depth to the game.

And while the entire package doesn’t hold a candle to the madcap racing in the likes of Asphalt, it works nicely if you fancy speeding along in a manner that’s a bit more grounded.

rvlvr. is an easy game to dismiss. Despite the pleasant piano soundtrack and clear visuals, it doesn’t seem like anything special. You get a bunch of interlocking circles with dots on, and must select and rotate them so the puzzle matches the image at the top of the screen. Easy!

Only rvlvr. is anything but. Once you’ve blazed through the initial levels, everything becomes a mite more complicated. You end up staring at half a dozen or more rings with dots liberally sprinkled about, realizing one wrong move might wreck everything you’ve to that point worked so hard for.

This mix of progression and challenge, alongside rvlvr’s quiet elegance, will keep it rooted to your home screen. And that you can skip any of the 15,000(!) puzzle combinations is a nice touch, ensuring you won’t remain stuck on a single test you can’t get your head around.

There’s ambition at the heart of Full of Stars, which so easily could have been yet another run-of-the-mill tap-based survival game.

Much of your time is spent in space, tapping screen edges to deftly weave your ship through space debris. When possible, you scoop up stardust to charge up your weapons system and a hyperdrive that blasts you towards your destination at serious speed.

But Full of Stars is also a role-playing game of sorts, finding you immersed in a plot that puts humanity on the brink. Along with your deft arcade skills, you’ll need to manage resources and make vital decisions to ensure your survival.

It can get repetitive, and the arcade sections are sometimes harsh, but Full of Stars is a commendable effort at trying something different – a story-driven journey that demands both arcade and strategic smarts.

Swordigo is a love letter to the classic side-scrolling platform adventures that blessed 16-bit consoles. You leap about platforms, slice up enemies with your trusty sword, and figure out how to solve simple puzzles, which open up new areas of the game and move the plot onwards.

The plot is, admittedly, nothing special – you’re embarking on the kind of perilous quest to keep evil at bay that typically afflicts videogame heroes. But everything else about Swordigo shines.

The virtual controls are surprisingly solid, the environments are pleasingly varied, and the pace ranges from pleasant quiet moments of solitude to intense boss battles you’ll struggle to survive. All in all, then, a fitting tribute to those much-loved titles of old.

It appears we’ve got to the stage where taping up boxes is considered a viable subject for an iOS game. Bizarrely, though, Tape it Up! appeals.

It takes place on an endless scrolling conveyor belt, with your little dispenser leaping from box to box as you swipe. It’s easy to grasp, but tough to survive when everything’s moving at breakneck speed.

Grab enough coins and you unlock rather more esoteric dispensers that give the game a surreal edge. You might end up sealing boxes with milk, while cows moo in the background, or controlling a little console-style dispenser while an exciting-looking shoot ’em up taunts you by playing itself below.

Ah well – everyone knows taping up boxes is more fun than blowing up spaceships, right?

Playing football on your own can be dull – that is, unless you’re the sporty hero of Footy Golf. As ever, scoring is the main aim – and there’s a goal to be found somewhere on each course. But along the way, you can also collect coins someone’s generously left lying around.

The controls are straightforward (aim with a directional arrow and then let rip); much of the challenge comes in trying to maximize your star rating by reaching the goal using the fewest possible kicks. You’ll also have to navigate increasingly complex courses as you move through a city, caverns, a factory, and a scorching desert.

The game’s a bit ad-infested, with a mildly hateful level unlock mechanism that encourages grinding, but played in bite-sized chunks, it’s definitely more ‘match winner’ than ‘own goal’.

You know when a game’s entire App Store description is “an exciting new thumb-sport” that you’re probably not heading for a title with oodles of depth.

And so it proves to be with Jelly Juggle, which is more or less a one-thumb take on Pong that you play by yourself.

Here, a little fish swims in a circle whenever you press the screen, aiming to keep a square jelly in play. If you don’t think that’s hard enough (and, frankly, it is – this game’s like juggling at speed), crabs eventually mosey on in to complicate matters, and new levels open up where you’re juggling multiple jellies.

A simple title, then, but one with immediacy (given how simple it is to grasp) and relentless intensity. Plus, games are short enough that you can probably have several attempts to beat your high score while waiting in a queue at the grocery store.

Although, at its core, this is a fairly standard lane-based survival game (swipe to avoid traffic; don’t crash), Dashy Crashy has loads going on underneath the surface. It’s packed full of neat features, such as pile-ups, a gorgeous day/night cycle, and random events that involve maniacs hurtling along a lane, smashing everything out of their way.

It also cleverly adds value to mobile gaming’s tendency to have you collect things. In Dashy Crashy, you’re periodically awarded vehicles, but these often shake up how you play the game. For example, the cop car can collect massive donuts for bonus points, and an army jeep can call in tanks – just like you wish you could when stuck in slow-moving traffic.

Flinging a plastic disc about isn’t the most thrilling premise for a game, which is why it’s a surprise Frisbee Forever 2 is so good. The game finds a little toy careening along rollercoaster-like pathways, darting inside buildings and tunnels, and soaring high above snow-covered mountains and erupting volcanos.

You simply dart left and right, keeping aloft by collecting stars, and avoiding hazards at all costs – otherwise your Frisbee goes ‘donk’ and falls sadly to the ground. Grab enough bling and you unlock new stages and Frisbees.

This game could have been a grindy disaster, but instead it’s a treat. The visuals are superb – bright and vibrant – and the courses are smartly designed. And even if you fail, Frisbee Forever 2 lobs coins your way, rewarding any effort you put in.

Pixel Craft takes no prisoners. No sooner have you found your feet in your little auto-firing spaceship than hordes of aliens blow you into so much stardust.

Before long, you clock formations and foes, learn to dodge huge arrows fired by a massive space bow, figure out how to avoid kamikaze ships, and discover how to best an opponent that’s apparently ambled in, lost from arcade classic Caterpillar. Then you face a massive boss and get blown up again.

It’s staccato at first, then – even grindy. But Pixel Craft has a sense of fun and urgency that makes it worth sticking with. The aesthetics and controls are impressive, and death always feels fair – to be blamed on your fingers failing you.

But with perseverance comes collected bling and ship upgrades. Then you’re the one dishing out lessons in lasery death!

(At least until you meet the next boss.)

If you’ve played Super Dangerous Dungeons, you’ll be well aware developer Jussi Simpanen knows how to make a cracking platform game. Even so, Heart Star is a disarmingly charming treat.

You aim to guide two friends to a goal in each of the 60 tiny single-screen levels. The chums are typically surrounded by platforms, spikes, and switches – and that’s before you consider the perilous drops into a bottomless void. Also, there’s usually no obvious way for both to reach the goal.

It’s a head-scratcher until you start utilizing Heart Star’s world-swapping. Prod a button to switch character, whereupon the other friend’s platforms vanish. With a combination of brainpower, deft finger-work, and having the friends collaborate – often by one hopping on the other’s head – a solution should present itself, allowing you to continue on your journey.

It’s another vertically-scrolling endless survival game, where you’re pursued by a world-eating evil, but Remedy Rush is novel in subject matter and the way in which it plays.

The basics are familiar: you direct the protagonist by swiping about, aiming to keep ahead of your inevitable demise for as long as possible. But in Remedy Rush, you play as an experimental remedy (such as a cookie or sunglasses) exploring a grid-like infected body.

As you scoot about, toxins are destroyed to open up pathways, and health bursts can be collected to take out any cells and germs that are in your way. Over time, the host gets sicker and the fever more ferocious; when the end comes, you can try again with a new remedy, each one having its own game-altering side-effect.

King Rabbit has some unorthodox enemies. Having kidnapped his rabbit subjects, said foes have dotted them about grid-based worlds they’ve filled with meticulously designed traps.

Mostly, this one is a think-ahead puzzler, with loads of Sokoban-style box sliding. But instead of being purely turn-based fare, King Rabbit adds tense swipe-based arcade sections, with you running from scary creatures armed with rabbit-filleting weaponry.

Really, this isn’t anything you won’t have seen before, but King Rabbit rules through its execution. Visually, everything’s very smart, from the clear, colorful backgrounds to the wonderfully animated hero (and the little jig he does on rescuing a chum). But the puzzles are the real heroes, offering a perfect balance of immediacy and brain-scratching.

There’s a bit of cheating going on in Moveless Chess. Although your opponent plays a standard game, you’re some kind of wizard and apparently don’t want the hassle of moving pieces.

Instead, you’ve limited action points, which are used to transform pieces you already have on the board. (So, for example, with three points, you can cunningly change a pawn into a knight.) The aim remains a game-winning checkmate, and, presumably, avoiding the ire of your non-magic opponent.

It’s chess as a puzzler, then, and with a twist that’ll even make veterans of the game stop and think about how to proceed at any given moment.

After all, when you get deep into the game’s challenges, you might find wizarding powers don’t always make for a swift win when you can’t move your pieces.

We’re sort of in Crossy Road territory here, but instead of a chicken hopping along an endless landscape of roads and rivers, Redungeon finds a little knight dumped in a seemingly infinite dungeon full of traps.

Credit to whoever wanted to make the knight suffer, because said traps include endless inventive ways to kill someone, from squelching blobs of goo to massive metal panels that slam together, squashing flat anyone daft enough to get in their way.

As ever, you’re being chased by some kind of unrelenting evil (here depicted by loads of spooky red eyes) and so can’t hang about.

As such, you’ll mostly fail by swiping the wrong way when in a panic, thereby impaling your knight. Still, grab enough bling on your journey and you can upgrade your character (and unlock new ones), giving them a fighting chance – well, at least an extra 30 seconds.

In Icarus – A Star’s Journey, you help a fallen star get back to the heavens. To make each little leap upwards, you drag back and release to catapult the star, like a celestial Angry Bird. Over time, energy is used, your star eventually exploding; to avoid that, you temporarily lurk inside other stars for a quick top up.

Much of the challenge involves successfully navigating hazards – usually spinning shapes you awkwardly ricochet off of – before you burn through your health.

Grab enough orbs along the way and you can lengthen subsequent attempts through leveling up and gaining extra health. If only you could burn through the ads, too, since they obliterate the tranquil vibe – but, inexplicably, there’s no IAP for that.

Given Laser Dog’s tendency to make infuriatingly difficult games, Don’t Grind at first seems like a departure. You control a little cartoon banana, keeping it in the air – and away from massive saw blades – by tapping the screen and swiping to move a bit. It’s like a pleasant keepie-uppie effort – for a few seconds.

After that point, all hell breaks loose, with your worried-looking fruit having to escape a squishy, painful death by avoiding laser guns, rockets, and all manner of other hazards intent on shoving it towards the blades.

Collect enough stars while tapping the screen and you can unlock new victims. If you’re terrible, there are no shortcuts to bolster your collection either – the only IAP is to get rid of the ads. Brutal.

With eye-searing colors and jagged pixels, Tomb of the Mask looks like it’s escaped from a ZX Spectrum, but this fast-paced twitch maze game is very much a modern mobile effort. In a sense, it feels a bit like a speeded-up and flattened Pac-Man 256, with you zooming through a maze, eating dots, and outrunning an all-devouring evil.

But the controls here are key – a flick hurls you in that direction until something makes you stop. Hopefully, that’s a wall. If it’s a spike or an enemy, you’re dead.

The procedurally generated Arcade mode increasingly ramps up the intensity as you strive to reach the end of each tomb, while a stage-based mode pits your flicking finger against 60 deviously designed set challenges.

If you’re a fan of knocking metal balls about, you’re likely frustrated with iPhone pinball. Even an iPhone Plus’s display is a bit too small, resulting in a fiddly experience replete with eye strain. Enter PinOut!, which rethinks pinball in a manner that works perfectly on the smaller screen.

In PinOut’s neon-infused world, you play against the clock, hitting ramps to send your ball further along what’s apparently the world’s longest pinball table. Rather than losing a ball should it end up behind the flippers, you merely waste vital seconds getting back to where you were. When the clock runs out: game over.

The result is exciting and fresh, and the relatively simple mini-tables are ideal for iPhone. Moreover, the game’s immediacy makes it suitable for all gamers, overcoming pinball’s somewhat inaccessible nature.

At a glance, Super Cat Tales looks like it’s arrived from a 1980s console. Bright colors, chunky pixels, and leapy gameplay put you in mind of a Mario or Alex Kidd adventure.

But although Super Cat Tales twangs the odd nostalgia gland, the controls make it a thoroughly modern affair. Character movement happens by tapping the left or right screen edge – hold to move or double-tap to dash. While dashing, your moggie will leap from a platform’s edge; and if sliding down a wall, a tap in the opposite direction performs a wall jump.

At first, this feels confusing, as muscle memory fights these unique controls. Before long, though, this smart design dovetails with succinct levels packed with secrets, collectible cats with distinct abilities, and gorgeous aesthetics, to make for one of the best games of its type on mobile.

The Mikey series has evolved with every entry. Initially a speedrun-oriented stripped-back Mario, it then gained swinging by way of grappling hooks, before ditching traditional controls entirely, strapping jet boots to Mikey in a kind of Flappy Bird with class.

With Mikey Jumps, the series has its biggest shift yet. Scrolling levels are dispensed with, in favor of quick-fire single-screen efforts. Now, Mikey auto-runs, and you tap the screen to time jumps so he doesn’t end up impaled on a spike or plummet to his death.

It sounds reductive, but the result is superb. Devoid of cruft and intensely focused, Mikey Jumps is perfect for mobile play, makes nods to previous entries in the series (with hooks and boots peppered about) and has excellent level design that sits just on the right side of infuriatingly tough.

Minimal arcade game Higher Higher! is another of those titles that on paper seems ridiculously simple, but in reality could result in your thumb and brain having a nasty falling out.

A little square scoots back and forth across the screen, changing color whenever it hits the edge and reverses direction. Your aim is to tap a matching colored column when the square passes over it.

The snag is that the square then changes color again; furthermore, the columns all change color when the square hits a screen edge.

To add to your troubles, Higher Higher! regularly speeds up, too, thereby transforming into a high-octane dexterity and reactions test. Combos are the key to the highest scores and, as ever, one mistake spells game over.

Satellina Zero is a somewhat abstract game that borrows from endless runners and rhythm action titles. You play as a white hexagon, sliding left to right to scoop up green hexagons streaming in from the top. You can also tap, which jumps you to the relative horizontal location while simultaneously switching deadly red hexagons to green (and greens to red). It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.

Survival is reliant on observation and quick thinking, where you must constantly ensure whatever hexagons are coming up are the right color, jump across at the perfect moment, and slide to scoop them all up. Last long enough and you unlock new modes and music.

It would have been interesting to see choreographed levels with percentage scores, rather than games comprising semi-randomized waves that always end on a single missed hexagon; nevertheless, Satellina Zero is a fresh, compelling arcade experience.

Blokout is a furious, high-speed color-matching game that punishes you for the slightest hesitation. The initial mode plonks you in front of a three-by-three grid, and you have to swap colored squares, Bejewelled-style, to make complete lines, which then vanish.

The timer is the key to the game. A clock sits in the upper-left of the screen and rapidly counts down, giving you only a few moments to complete a line. If the timer runs dry it’s game over; make a line and it resets, giving you another few seconds.

The intensity is therefore always set to maximum, nicely contrasting with the game’s friendly, bold colors (which amusingly turn stark black and white the instant you lose); and if you stick around, you’ll find further challenges by way of boosters and tougher modes.

Aptly named, given that it has loads of platforms and aims to make you panic, Platform Panic is a high-speed single-screen platform game. Whenever you enter a new screen, you’ve a split second to work out what’s going on before you forge ahead, trying to beat its various traps. As is so often the way on mobile gaming titles, a single slip up spells death.

There’s auto-runner DNA in Platform Panic, since your little character never stops running – although you can change their direction with a swipe and, crucially, leap into the air. Over many games, you’ll figure out how to beat each screen, and then it’s just a question of chaining together a number of successful attempts.

This is easier said than done, mind. Scores of over a dozen are something to be proud of in Platform Panic’s world. Still, games are short enough that when your little cartoon avatar is rudely impaled, there’s always time for another go.

Apparently turned off by chess’s commitment to beauty, elegance and balance, the developer of Really Bad Chess set out to break it. You therefore start your first game with a seriously souped-up set of pieces: several queens, and loads of knights. Your hapless computer opponent can only look on while lumbered with a suspicious number of pawns.

One easy win later and you’re full of confidence, but Really Bad Chess keeps switching things up. Rather than the AI getting better or worse, the game changes the balance of your set-up. As you improve, your pieces get worse and the computer’s get better, until you’re the one fending off an overpowered opponent.

It’s a small twist on the chess formula, to be sure, but one that opens up many new ways of playing, whether you’re a grandmaster or a relative novice.

In Maximum Car, you careen along winding roads, smashing your chunky car into other similarly Lego-like vehicles. When possible, you lob missiles about with merry abandon, boost, drift, and generally barrel along like a lunatic. It’s a bit like a stripped-down Burnout or a gleefully violent OutRun.

Your terrorising of other road users (through near misses and blithely driving on the wrong side of the road), rewards you with coins to spend on powering up your ride. Do so and Maximum Car speeds up significantly, veering into absurd and barely controllable territory.

Takedowns (as in, smashing other cars off of the road) are also positively encouraged; destroy the same car over enough races and it’ll be unlocked for purchase.

Along with a tongue-in-cheek commentary track, this is all very silly entertainment – great for quick bursts of adrenaline-fuelled racing, and absolutely not the sort of thing to play before a driving test.

This third entry in the Dots series, Dots & Co, will be familiar to anyone who’s played the previous efforts. The aim is to collect a pre-set number of colored dots on each level, which is achieved by dragging out paths through dots of the same color. Manage to draw a square and all dots of the relevant color vanish.

Complications come by way of odd-shaped levels that often leave you with small groups of dots stranded within awkward shapes, and obstacles that need clearing. Cartoon ‘companions’ help a bit here, blasting away at the board once you’ve powered them up, and there are also a few special powers to make use of.

It’s here the charms of Dots & Co fade slightly – as the game progresses, you can’t help but feel you’re being given impossible tasks, and that an awful lot of luck is required to beat levels without resorting to buying tokens to spend on powers or extra moves. Despite this, Dots & Co remains a pleasant and engaging time sink.

Two games in one, Big Bang Racing offers a breezy single-player trials experience on trap-filled larger-than-life tracks, and then multiplayer races across similarly crazy courses. The visuals are very smart, with your odd little alien rider imbued with plenty of personality; the controls work well, too, with two pairs of buttons for moving and rotating your bike.

The game’s infested with the usual trappings of modern freemium titles – chests; timers; in-game gold; in-app purchases – but, surprisingly, this doesn’t make much difference nor really impact negatively on the experience. With a little patience, you can play a few races every day, gradually improving your bike, winning races, and mastering courses.

Collect enough bits and bobs from chests and you can even have a go at creating and sharing your own tracks, using an excellent built-in editor.

Poker and Solitaire have been smashed together before, in the excellent Sage Solitaire, but Politaire tries something new with the combination.

At all points, you can see the next three cards from the draw pile. You then swipe away unwanted cards from your hand with the aim of those remaining and any newcomers forming a poker hand, which then vanishes, automatically bringing in more new cards.

When possible, you want to score ‘combos’, through multiple hands subsequently occurring with you doing nothing at all. Naturally, this requires a little luck, but there’s also plenty of skill here, in terms of managing your cards and figuring out what’s coming in the pile.

It sounds confusing, but give it time and it’ll dig into your very soul.

For free, you generously get the entire main single-deck game, which rapidly becomes furiously addictive. Splash out for the one-off IAP ($1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99) and you unlock double-deck mode and alternate card designs, along with getting rid of occasional ads.

As its name implies, Looty Dungeon tests your survival skills as you loot your way through endless dungeons teeming with traps, bosses, and falling floors.

Pick up coins to purchase additional heroes, each with different powers and stats, keeping the game fresh. Hidden dangers can easily put an end to your looting, so tread carefully and carry a big sword – which is just good advice for life really, isn’t it?

Well, maybe not a sword. Perhaps a sense of self-confidence… life can sometimes be about metaphors too.

PKTBALL takes ping pong and turns into an endless arcade addiction. Outsmart your opponents to get the best score you can, get money, and unlock lots of colorful playable characters, each with their own court and soundtrack.

Once you’ve mastered the basics you can challenge your friends in local multiplayer matches or simply smash your way to the top of the leaderboards. This is the kind of game that you’ll start playing while making dinner and only look up from when the fire brigade are breaking down your door.

A kingdom of Disney characters can be unlocked in this alternative look at the popular road-crossing game – intelligently titled Disney Crossy Road.

It’s a ‘magical take’ on a game that has been downloaded over 50 million times, and designed to attract a new raft of players.

Cross as many roads as you can and collect coins to purchase even more stars spanning various Disney films, each with their own music and world for all you film fans out there.

And as you can imagine (if you’ve played the ‘normal’ Crossy Road before), you’ll see how far you can survive with your favorites from Toy Story, Lion King, Zootopia, and many more.

At some point, a total buffoon decreed that racing games should be dull and grey, on grey tracks, with grey controls. Gameloft’s Asphalt 8: Airborne dispenses with such foolish notions, along with quite a bit of reality. Here, then, you zoom along at ludicrous speeds, drifting for miles through exciting city courses, occasionally being hurled into the air to perform stunts that absolutely aren’t acceptable according to the car manufacturer’s warrantee.

Three bushes make a tree! Three gravestones make a church! OK, so logic might not be Triple Town‘s strong suit, but the match-three gameplay is addictive. Match to build things and trap bears, rapidly run out of space, gaze in wonder at your town and start all over again. The free-to-play version has limited moves that are gradually replenished, but you can unlock unlimited moves via IAP.

Few free games are quite as polished as Hearthstone, but then this is a Blizzard game, so we hardly expected anything less.

There are dozens of card games available for iPhone, but Hearthstone stands out with high production values and easy to learn, difficult to master mechanics, which can keep you playing, improving and collecting cards for months on end. Matches don’t generally take too long either so it’s great for playing in short bursts.

Think you know stress? You haven’t experienced stress until you’ve played Spaceteam, a cooperative multiplayer game that requires you to all work together as a crew (and bark orders at your friends). Sounds easier than it is; failure to cooperate will probably end with your ship getting sucked into a black hole.

The clue’s in the title – there’s a quest, and it involves quite a lot of punching. There’s hidden depth, though – the game might look like a screen-masher, but Punch Quest is all about mastering combos, perfecting your timing, and making good use of special abilities. The in-game currency’s also very generous, so if you like the game reward the dev by grabbing some IAP.

Tap! Tap! Swipe! Rub! Argh! That’s the way this intoxicating rhythm action game plays out. Groove Coaster Zero is all on rails, and chock full of dizzying roller-coaster-style paths and exciting tunes. All the while, you aim for prodding perfection, chaining hits and other movements as symbols appear on the screen. Simple, stylish and brilliant.

This latest rethink of one of gaming’s oldest and most-loved series asks what lies beyond the infamous level 256 glitch. As it turns out, it’s endless mazey hell for the yellow dot-muncher. Pac-Man’s therefore charged with eating as many dots as possible, avoiding a seemingly infinite number of ghosts, while simultaneously outrunning the all-devouring glitch. Power-ups potentially extend Pac-Man’s life, enabling you to gleefully take out lines of ghosts with a laser or obliterate them with a wandering tornado.

Although there’s an energy system in Pac-Man 256, it’s reasonably generous: one credit for a game with power-ups, and one for the single continue; one credit refreshes every ten minutes, to a maximum of six, and you can always play without power-ups for free. If you don’t like that, there’s an IAP-based £5.99/$7.99 permanent buy-out.

The endless rally game Cubed Rally Redline is devious. On the surface, it looks simple: move left or right in five clearly-defined lanes, and use the ’emergency time brake’ to navigate tricky bits. But the brake needs time to recharge and the road soon becomes chock full of trees, cows, cruise liners and dinosaurs. And you thought your local motorway had problems!

If you’re of a certain vintage, you probably spent many hours playing Solitaire on a PC, success being rewarded by cards bouncing around the screen. Sage Solitaire‘s developer wondered why iOS solitaire games hadn’t moved on in the intervening years, and decided to reinvent the genre. Here, then, you get a three-by-three grid and remove cards by using poker hands.

Additional strategy comes through limitations (hands must include cards from two rows; card piles are uneven) and potential aid (two ‘trashes’, one replenished after each successful hand; a starred multiplier suit). A few rounds in, you realise this game’s deeper than it first appears. Beyond that, you’ll be hooked. The single £2.29/$2.99 IAP adds extra modes and kills the ads.

Facebook Portal Plus review: Keep your friends and family close with Facebook’s smart display – CNET

“If you can’t be there, feel there.”

That’s a tag line Facebook’s using to advertise its new $349 Portal Plus and $199 Portal smart displays.

Facebook envisions its new Portal product line as a way to bring you closer to your inner circle of Facebook contacts.

“If you can’t be there, feel there.”

That’s a tag line Facebook’s using to advertise its new $349 Portal Plus and $199 Portal smart displays.

Facebook envisions its new Portal product line as a way to bring you closer to your inner circle of Facebook contacts. The lower-cost Portal looks like Amazon’s Echo Show video chat device. Meanwhile the Portal Plus offers the same functions, but with a larger screen and a unique design that looks something like a pygmy robot giraffe.

By way of the touchscreen on either Portal device, or invoking the “Hey Portal” voice assistant, you can initiate a video call with your Facebook contacts. Portal video calling is accessible exclusively to users of the Facebook Messenger text and video chat service. Your contacts don’t need a Portal of their own to receive a call, but at minimum they need to use either Facebook’s Messenger app or the Messenger web interface.

What distinguishes the Portal Plus and the Portal from the Echo Show, competing devices powered by Google or even a phone with a decent video chat application like Apple’s FaceTime, is the Portal camera. On both Portal devices, the camera boasts a 140-degree field of view, which gives you a much larger look at a caller’s environment. The camera can automatically pan and zoom around the video image (thanks to a feature called Smart Camera) to concentrate on the person in the frame. Another feature, called Spotlight, tells the camera to focus on a specific person when there are multiple people on screen.


Facebook’s video calling smart display connects you with friends and family
18 Photos

The overall effect of the Portal’s excellent camera is an expansive view of the caller’s environment, and an improved sense of closeness for the viewer. It makes you feel like you’re there with the people on the other side of the screen in a way that competing video chat devices and services can’t duplicate right now.

As compelling as that experience might be, Facebook doesn’t have the best reputation right now in terms of its ability to act responsibly with customer data. How do you feel about letting Facebook put a device with a microphone and an excellent camera into your home? More than any of the Portal’s product shortcomings, and there are a few, Facebook’s history of privacy-related issues might be the largest obstacle to its success.

Aside from the heeby-jeeby factor, the Portal Plus and Portal smart displays are great for video chatting. They just don’t have much use otherwise. Their speakers aren’t as good as some of the other smart speakers we’ve reviewed, and they’re missing some features. I would have liked to see a smart home control screen or integration with other services such as maps, restaurant reviews or Google searches. These are the touches that make other smart displays so appealing.

If you’re fine with those limitations, and you’re not bothered by Facebook’s handling of user data, the Portal Plus or the Portal could still work for you. Anyone with family members that live far away will appreciate the illusion of being in the same room as the person they’ve called. That just may not be enough to offset Portal’s larger issues.

Privacy matters

Millions of Facebook user’s profiles were exploited in an international scandal first reported by The New York Times and the Guardian and Observer back in March, involving UK-based data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. Concerns about data misuse spread as lawmakers, advertisers, shareholders and the media asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for answers.

At least two Facebookdata breaches have taken place since Cambridge Analytica, putting the social networking site’s privacy policies further into question. Around the same time, Facebook announced its Portal Plus and Portal smart displays. If you’re thinking it’s a strange time for Facebook to announce camera-equipped smart speakers that go inside your home, you’d be right.

Facebook has outlined its Portal privacy info on this support page. The page says it doesn’t listen in on or “keep the contents” of your Portal calls, but a spokesperson told us that Facebook will, in fact, track information about calls made via Portal to expand on the user profiles it uses to inform ads that show up elsewhere. The company elaborated in an email to Recode.

Related linksFacebook’s Portal video device launches amid privacy concernsFacebook Portal vs. Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show

“Portal voice calling is built on the Messenger infrastructure, so when you make a video call on Portal, we collect the same types of information (i.e. usage data such as length of calls, frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices. We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms. Other general usage data, such as aggregate usage of apps, etc., may also feed into the information that we use to serve ads,” the Facebook spokesperson said.

Basically, you could be targeted for ads based on the length and frequency of your video calls, but the specifics of your calls — that is, exactly what you’ve said — will be encrypted.

Given Portal’s microphone, it also bears mentioning the allegation that Facebook listens to our conversations through our phones to help it serve up ads. That would would be an unauthorized, deeply intrusive method of gathering data. Founder Mark Zuckerberg denied accusations of eavesdropping to Congress earlier this year, but the reality remains that consumers have the perception that Facebook uses the information it gathers in ways that feel creepy or detrimental to society. Anyone thinking of buying a Portal should consider that context before making a purchase.

The basics

If you decide you’re OK bringing a Portal or a Portal Plus into your home, and you have a deep-enough roster of contacts willing to talk with you, you’ll get to enjoy what may be the best video chat platform on the market today.

Setting up a Portal Plus or a Portal display is easy. Plug in the device and follow the prompts on the screen to configure it. You’ll have to sign into your Facebook account, enter a code displayed on the Portal and provide your local Wi-Fi info. It’s all pretty straightforward and should only take a few minutes. Thankfully, the touchscreen display is responsive and easy to use.

The contacts page is essentially your Portal homepage. It’s where you can see your list of Facebook friends and add “favorites” that appear in a separate section. Creating that list of favorites makes it easier to see when the people you chat with most often are online and available for a video call. Swipe the screen to the left and you can see a rundown of the Portal apps and access the settings screen.

From the settings screen you can customize your display after the initial setup in a variety of ways. Select image galleries from your Facebook and Instagram accounts to create a randomized slideshow screensaver when you aren’t actively using your Portal device. You have a lot of control over which specific image galleries you share — your photos versus photos other folks have tagged you in, and so on.

If you don’t want to display images from your own Facebook account, that’s fine too. Your Portal will instead rotate through a variety of nature scenes.

The apps offered on Portals are limited today. There’s IHeartRadio, Food Network, Newsy, Pandora and Spotify (Premium only). Ask Facebook’s “Hey Portal” voice assistant to open the apps — or tap on them on the display screen. The apps are fine, but, again, there aren’t many right now — where’s Instagram, Portal? The apps are also limited when it comes to what’s actually available on them.

A short video on the Portal’s Food Network app showed me how to turn a watermelon into a keg holding a delicious-looking watermelon juice mixed drink, but there wasn’t a voice-assistant-guided recipe tutorial like you can find on the Google Home Hub, the Amazon Echo Show and other smart displays. I tried to open Spotify as a free subscriber, but it only works for folks with the Premium service.

I also find it confusing that Portal has two different voice assistants. In some cases, devices have overlapping assistants that can perform roughly the same functions so you can pick one and ignore the other, say Google Assistant versus Alexa. With the Portal, you actually need both Alexa and “Hey Portal” to take full advantage of the voice integrations.

Alexa voice commands work in much the same way as any Amazon smart speaker. You can ask Alexa to tell you the current time in Barcelona, Spain, for a joke or to adjust the smart thermostat in the other room. I couldn’t get ESP (Echo Spatial Perception) to work with it, although Facebook says the feature works with Portals — so when I said “Alexa,” both my Portal Plus and a nearby Amazon smart speaker responded.

Telecom Argentina S.A. announces consolidated nine month period (‘9M18’) and third quarter results for fiscal year 2018 (‘3Q18’)*

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Nov. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

Note:The merger between Telecom and Cablevisión was considered an inverse acquisition under IFRS 3 (Business Combinations), with Cablevisión being the surviving entity for accounting purposes.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Nov. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

Note:The merger between Telecom and Cablevisión was considered an inverse acquisition under IFRS 3 (Business Combinations), with Cablevisión being the surviving entity for accounting purposes. Thus, for the purposes of preparing the consolidated financial statements of Telecom Argentina as of September 30, 2018: i) the comparative figures as of December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017 correspond to those that arise from the consolidated financial statements of Cablevisión at their respective dates; and ii) the corresponding information for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2018, incorporates on the basis of figures corresponding to Cablevisión, the effect of the application of Telecom Argentina’s method of acquisition at its fair value in accordance with the IFRS 3 guidelines and the operations of Telecom Argentina as of January 1, 2018. On the other hand, in order to ease the understanding and analysis of the earnings evolution by its users, additional tables of the income statements are included, exposing on pro forma basis the comparative figures for 9M17 as if the merger between Telecom and Cablevisión had been effective during that period. The variations of results vs. 9M17 identified in this press release emanate from the comparison with the aforementioned “pro forma” information.

Consolidated Revenues amounted to P$99,494 million in 9M18 (+29.3% vs. 9M17); of which Service Revenues reached P$91,910 million (+29.3% vs. 9M17). Considering the breakdown of Service Revenues, Mobile Services amounted P$34,511 million (+18.3% vs. 9M17); Internet Services totaled P$22,448 million (+32.6% vs. 9M17), while Cable TV Services and Fixed Telephony and Data Services amounted to P$21,417 million (+42.6% vs. 9M17) and P$13,086 million (+36.4% vs. 9M17), respectively.Mobile subscribers in Argentina: 18.9 million in 9M18, while Cable TV subscribers and Broadband accesses totaled 3.5 million and 4.1 million, respectively.Mobile Internet revenues of Personal in Argentina increased 41.2% vs. 9M17; reaching 59.1% participation in Service Revenues.Mobile ARPU of Personal in Argentina in 9M18 increased to P$170.4 per month in 9M18 (+22.6% vs. 9M17).Broadband ARPU reached P$604.8 per month in 9M18 (+34.9% vs. 9M17). Monthly churn was 1.9% in 9M18.Cable TV ARPU increased to P$674.9 per month in 9M18 (+26.9% vs. 9M17).Consolidated Operating costs -including D&A and impairment of PP&E- totaled P$79,550 million in 9M18 (+26.1% vs. 9M17).Operating Income before Depreciation and Amortization reached P$35,196 million in 9M18 (+36.4% vs. 9M17), 35.4% of Consolidated Revenues.Net Loss amounted to P$18,540 million in 9M18. Net Loss attributable to the Controlling Company amounted to P$18,589 million during the same period. The mentioned Net Loss mainly reflects the impact of FX losses over financial results, partially offset by the growth in Operating Income before D&A. Capex reached P$24,046 million in 9M18, equivalent to 24.2% of Consolidated Revenues.Net Financial Debt Position: P$67,901 million in 9M18.

(in million P$, except where noted)**

As of September, 30

2018

2017

Δ $

Δ %

Consolidated Revenues

99,494

76,920

22,574

29.3%

Operating Income before D&A

35,196

25,807

9,389

36.4%

Operating Income

19,944

13,854

6,090

44.0%

Net (Loss) Income attributable to Controlling Company

(18,589)

7,571

(26,160)

Shareholders’ equity attributable to Controlling Company

108,000

n.a.

Net Financial Position – (Debt) / Cash

(67,901)

n.a.

CAPEX *

24,046

16,082

7,964

49.5%

Fixed lines in service (in thousand lines)

3,617

3,838

(221)

-5.8%

Mobile customers (in thousand)

21,232

22,362

(1,130)

-5.1%

Personal (Argentina)

18,484

19,030

(546)

-2.9%

Nextel (Argentina)

381

855

(474)

-55.4%

Núcleo (Paraguay) -including Wimax customers-

2,368

2,477

(109)

-4.4%

Broadband accesses (in thousand)

4,106

4,034

72

1.8%

Cable TV Suscribers (in thousand)

3,488

3,508

(20)

-0.6%

Argentina

3,345

3,364

(19)

-0.6%

Uruguay

143

144

(1)

-0.7%

Average Billing per user (ARBU) Fixed Telephony / voice (in P$)

236.6

145.6

91.0

62.5%

Average Revenue per user (ARPU) Mobile Services – Personal (in P$)

170.4

139.0

31.5

22.6%

Average Revenue per user (ARPU) Broadband (in P$) ***

604.8

448.3

156.6

34.9%

Average Revenue per user (ARPU) Cable TV (in P$)

674.9

531.7

143.2

26.9%

*(Unaudited information – figures as of 9M17 calculated as the sum of the parts of Telecom Argentina’s and Cablevisión’s CAPEX)

**(Figures may not sum up due to rounding)

***(Calculated considering the average subscriber bases according to the billing criteria of each product)

*Unaudited non financial data

Telecom Argentina S.A. (‘Telecom Argentina’) – (NYSE: TEO; BASE: TECO2), one of Argentina’s leading telecommunications companies, announced today a Net Loss of P$18,540 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2018, a decrease of P$26,182 million when compared to 9M17. Net loss attributable to the Controlling Company amounted to P$18.589 million (-P$26,160 million vs. 9M17).

During 9M18, Consolidated Revenues increased by 29.3% to P$99,494 million (+P$22,574 million vs. 9M17), mainly driven by Cable TV Services, Internet Services and Mobile Services. Moreover, Operating Income reached P$19,944 million (+P$6,090 million or +44.0% vs. 9M17).

Consolidated Operating Revenues

Mobile Services

As of September 30, 2018, mobile clients amounted to 21.2 million.

In 9M18, mobile services revenues represented P$34,511 million (+18.3% vs. 9M17). The commercial strategy was focused on promoting the consumption of mobile internet services through an update of the integrated offer of plans suitable for all market segments.

Mobile Services in Argentina

As of September 30, 2018, Personal reached 18.5 million subscribers in Argentina, where postpaid clients represented 38% of the subscriber base.

In 9M18, service revenues of Personal in Argentina (excluding equipment sales) amounted to P$29,480 million (+16.7% vs. 9M17), with 59.1% corresponding to mobile internet revenues (vs. 48.9% as in 9M17), as mobile internet revenues amounted to P$17,437 million (+41.2% vs. 9M17). In addition, equipment sales increased by 37.7% vs. 9M17, reaching P$7,230 million, equivalent to 19.7% of total revenues of Personal in Argentina.

The average monthly revenue per user (‘ARPU’) of Personal in Argentina amounted to P$170.4 during 9M18 (+22.6% vs. 9M17).

As of September 30, 2018, Nextel IDEN subscriber base reached approximately 0.4 million subscribers, where postpaid clients represented 80% of the subscriber base and prepaid clients represented the remaining 20%.

Commercial Initiatives

During the third quarter of 2018, Personal introduced its WiFi Calling service for mobile customers, which allows the client to make and receive calls using any Wi-Fi network in the world as if it was a local voice call.

Regarding infrastructure, Personal continued to enhance the mobile internet experience of its customers through the deployment of its 4G and 4G + network throughout Argentina, which currently covers more than 1,500 locations from La Quiaca to Ushuaia, and reaching more than 11.7 million customers with 4G devices throughout the country. Customers experience an average browsing speed that exceeds 20 Mbps, standing out as the fastest network in the country.

Personal in Paraguay (‘Núcleo’)

As of September 30, 2018, Núcleo’s subscriber base reached around 2.4 million clients. Prepaid and postpaid customers represented 83% and 17%, respectively.

Núcleo generated service revenues equivalent to P$3,678 million during 9M18 (+79.7% vs. 9M17). Internet revenues amounted to P$1,632 million (+75.3% vs. 9M17) representing 44.4% of 9M18 service revenues (vs. 45.5% in 9M17).

Cable TV Services

Cable TV service revenues reached P$21,417 million in 9M18 (+42.6% vs. 9M17). This increase was mainly explained by an upselling of value added services combined with price adjustments. Cable TV subscribers totaled almost 3.5 million, while the Cable TV ARPU reached P$674.9 during 9M18, rising +26.9% vs. 9M17. Moreover, average monthly churn during 9M18 was 1.4%.

In the third quarter of 2018, Cablevisión continued to add featured titles to its on-demand content grid, being the most relevant the co-production Rizhoma Hotel, Naturaleza Salvaje and Pasado de Copas.

In addition, Telecom Argentina and Sony Pictures formalized an agreement to acquire content directly in Argentina, in order to offer more entertainment options to the customers, thus continuing to complete the Flow offer according to the their preferences.

Moreover, in August Cablevisión incorporated satellite technology to its offer in Uruguay in the cities of Montevideo, Canelones and San José, following a process of technological evolution that will allow adding more high definition channels to its programming and, in the near future, new value added services.

Fixed Telephony and Data Services

During 9M18, revenues generated by fixed telephony and data reached P$13,086 million in 9M18, +36.4% vs. 9M17. The increase in fixed telephony services was mainly explained by monthly fee price increases that came into effect for both corporate and residential fixed line customers, and additionally due to the bundled offer of packs that include voice and internet services (‘Arnet + Voz’), that aim to achieve higher levels of customer loyalty and churn reduction.

As a result, the average monthly revenue billed per user (‘ARBU’) of fixed telephony reached P$236.6 in 9M18, +62.5% vs. 9M17.

Meanwhile, Data revenues increase (services mainly offered to Corporate customers, SMEs, Government and to other operators) was mainly driven by FX rate variations that affected those contracts that were adjusted by the $/U$S exchange rate and due to the increase in the number of clients, generated in a context that evidences the growing position of Telecom as an integrated ICT provider.

In this sense, FiberCorp, Personal and Telecom presented their unified portfolio of products and services for companies. The portfolio for SMEs includes solutions for Connectivity, Communications, IoT, Cloud and Video & Media, while for Large Clients Datacenter and Security services are added to the aforementioned offer.

Internet Services

Internet services revenues totaled P$22,448 million during 9M18, +32.6% vs. 9M17. As of September 30, 2018, total broadband accesses increased to more than 4.1 million (+1.8% vs. 9M17). Additionally, broadband ARPU amounted to P$604.8 per month in 9M18 (+34.9% vs. 9M17). Moreover, the average monthly churn rate for the period was 1.9%. On the other hand, clients with service of 20Mb or higher currently represent 34% of the total customer base as of 9M18.

Consolidated Operating Costs

Consolidated Operating Costs totaled P$79,550 million in 9M18, an increase of P$16,484 million, or +26.1% vs. 9M17 (including D&A and impairment of PP&E). Continuing with the trend observed during the lasts quarters, this overall increase is below inflation levels and moreover Revenue growth, which allowed a significant increase in the Company’s Operating Income before D&A and to improve its margin. This was a result of a higher level of efficiency achieved in the cost structure. Higher costs are mainly associated to the effect of higher revenues, a highly competitive environment in the mobile, cable TV and broadband businesses, the impact of higher direct and indirect labor costs generated by the operations in Argentina, the increase in costs of services contracted with suppliers, higher programming and content costs due the incorporation of broadcasting signals of football matches.

The cost breakdown is as follows:

– Employee benefit expenses and severance payments totaled P$17,596 million (+22.8% vs. 9M17), mainly impacted by increases in salaries to unionized and non‐unionized employees together with the associated social security contributions. Finally, total employees at the end of 9M18 amounted to 25,775 (vs. 26,975 in 9M17).

– Interconnection and transmission costs (including TLRD, Roaming, international settlement charges and lease of circuits) amounted to P$3,203 million, +16.8% vs. 9M17. This increase is mostly explained by higher TLRD costs.

– Fees for services, maintenance, materials and supplies amounted to P$9,245 million (+12.3% vs. 9M17), mainly due to increases in fees for services, mostly related to call centers and higher professional generated by a higher level of activity fees driven mainly by new Company projects and by services linked to operational management in general. There were also higher technical maintenance costs and higher hardware and software maintenance costs due to price increases, the U$S FX fluctuations and the higher level of activity.

– Taxes and fees with regulatory authorities reached P$8,009 million (+30.2% vs. 9M17). The increase was mainly due to the growth in revenues.

– Commissions and advertising (Commissions paid to agents, prepaid card distribution commissions and others) totaled P$6,333 million (+28.8% vs. 9M17). The increase is mostly due to higher fees paid in favor of commercial channels and collection fees.

– Cost of handsets sold totaled P$5,370 million (+9.1% vs. 9M17); this increase was mainly associated with an increase in the average unit cost, partially offset by a decrease in the quantities sold.

– Programming and content costs totaled P$7,144 million (+56.5% vs. 9M17), largely due to the incorporation of the cost of signals to broadcast live football matches of the first division of the Argentine Football Association, price increases and fluctuation of the P$/U$S exchange rate.

– Depreciation, amortization and impairment of PP&E amounted P$15,252 million (+27.6% vs. 9M17). Depreciations of PP&E totaled P$12,184 million, amortizations of intangible assets reached P$2,799 million, while the losses of PP&E reached P$191 million and the impairment of PP&E P$78 million. The higher charge is mostly due to a greater amortization and depreciation of PP&E and intangibles, corresponding to higher values allocated to the aforementioned assets resulting from the acquisition method under IFRS 3.

– Other Costs totaled P$7,398 million (+40.7% vs. 9M17), of which bad debt expenses reached P$1,990 million (+52.6% vs. 9M17), and whose increase is mainly due to the impact generated by the application as of the FY2018 of IFRS 9, as well as other operating costs that totaled P$5,408 million (36.7% vs. 9M17).

Net Financial Results

The Net Financial Results (including Financial Costs on Debt and Other Financial Results, net) showed a loss of P$47,218 million, compared with a loss of P$2,281 million in 9M17. The result was mainly due to FX losses of P$45,864 million (compared with a loss of P$1,387 million in 9M17), mostly due to the strong depreciation of the peso during the 9M18, followed by net interest losses of P$1,908 million (representing a greater loss of P$1,858 million vs. 9M17), which are partially offset by gains on investments of P$1,491million (that generated greater earnings of P$1,517 million vs. 9M17).

Consolidated Net Financial Debt

As of September 30, 2018, net financial debt position (cash, cash equivalents plus financial investments and financial NDF minus loans) totaled P$67,901 million, increasing when compared to the consolidated net financial debt position as of December 31, 2017 (calculated as the sum of consolidated net financial debt positions of Telecom Argentina and Cablevisión, which was P$9,580 million).

Capital Expenditures

During 9M18, the Company invested P$24,046 million, increasing approximately 49.5% from the sum of the parts of Telecom Argentina’s and Cablevisión’s CAPEX as of 9M17, focusing on projects that maximize the network capacity and on the development of products and services that contribute to address the customer’s needs that today demand for connectivity and data availability. Moreover, transmision and transport networks has been extended to unify the differents access technologies, reconverting the copper fixed networks into fiber or coaxial-fiber hybrid networks, in order to face the the increaseing services demand from mobile and fixed clients. Likewise, significant investments have been made in the charging, billing and relationship systems with customers. The Company aims to improve the capacity and coverage of its networks, which is key factor for the transformation towards convergent services with international quality standards, but also to leverage the content business, with Flow as an integral content platform and entertainment center, whose competitive advantages and differential features place it above other platforms. In relative terms, CAPEX reached 24.2% of consolidated revenues.

As part of its infrastructure deployment strategy, during the last months Telecom has made several agreements in the interior of the country and in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, in order to expand its access network and improve the speed and capacity of mobile connections, thus boosting the navigation experience for the clients. Among the most relevant agreements are those reached with the city of Santa Fe (Santa Fe province), the province of Jujuy, and the municipalities of Ezeiza and Lomas de Zamora (Buenos Aires metropolitan area).

Relevant Matters

Merger by absorption of Cablevisión S.A. (Absorbed Company) into Telecom Argentina S.A. (Surviving Company). Registration in the Inspección General de Justicia.

On September 4, 2018, Telecom Argentina was informed that both the Merger between Telecom Argentina as Surviving Company and Cablevisión S.A. as Absorbed Company, and the dissolution without liquidation of the latter, were registered in the Public Registry of Commerce under the responsibility of the Inspección General de Justicia on August 30, 2018.

Other Relevant Matters

New syndicated loan and partial prepayment of the syndicated loan agreement celebrated in February 2018.

On October 8, Telecom Argentina S.A. took due notice of the acceptance by Citibank, N.A., HSBC México S.A., Institución de Banca Múltiple, Grupo Financiero HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Dubai (DIFC) Branch, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and Banco Santander, S.A., as lenders, Citibank N.A., HSBC México, S.A., Institución de Banca Múltiple, Grupo Financiero HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Dubai (DIFC) Branch, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and Banco Santander S.A., as joint bookrunners and lead arrangers, Citibank N.A., as administrative agent and the Branch of Citibank N.A, established in the Republic of Argentina, as onshore custody agent, of the offer to enter into a loan agreement delivered by the Company for an amount of up to U$S 500,000,000 (which may be increased, in accordance with the terms and conditions thereof) and with a 48-month tenor (the “Loan”).

On October 17, 2018 the Company requested a disbursement in the framework of the Loan, for an amount of U$S 500,000,000. Those funds were used to partially prepay the syndicated loan agreement by the Company on February 2, 2018, for an amount of up to U$S 1,000,000,000 and with a 12-month tenor (the “Original Loan”). For its part, the disbursed amount will accrue compensatory interest at a rate per annum equal to LIBOR plus the following margin: 4.50 percentage points during the first year as from the borrowing date, 5.00 percentage points, during the second year and 5.25 percentage points from the date that is two years after the borrowing date to the expiration date; and will be payable quarterly, in arrears.

Additionally, as a condition precedent to the execution of the Loan, the Company and the remaining parties to the Original Loan agreed to amend certain terms of the Original Loan, including a mandatory prepayment of an amount of at least U$S 100,000,000 so that the outstanding aggregate principal amount under the Original Loan, after taking into account any prepayment made with the proceeds from the Loan, does not exceed U$S 400,000,000 on the date of receipt of such advances. The aforementioned mandatory prepayment was executed on October 17, 2018.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) Loan

On October 30, 2018, within the framework of its permanent optimization policy for the term, rate and structure of its financial liabilities, Telecom Argentina has accepted a proposal from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the evaluation and mobilization of funds with the purpose of financing investment needs, working capital and refinancing of liabilities for an amount up to U$S 350 million.

*******

Telecom Argentina is the parent company of a leading telecommunications group in Argentina, where it offers, either itself or through its controlled subsidiaries local and long distance fixed-line telephony, cellular, data transmission, and pay TV and Internet services, among other services. Additionally, Telecom Argentina offers cellular services in Paraguay and pay TV services in Uruguay. The Company commenced operations on November 8, 1990, upon the Argentine government’s transfer of the telecommunications system in the northern region of Argentina.

As of November 7, 2018, Telecom Argentina has 2,168,909,384 shares issued and 2,153,688,011 shares outstanding.

For more information, please contact Investor Relations:

Solange Barthe Dennin

(5411) 4968 3752

Luis F. Rial Ubago

(5411) 4968 3718

Nahuel Monsalvo

(5411) 4698 4448

Voice Mail: (5411) 4968 3628
Fax: (5411) 4968 3616
E-mail: relinver@teco.com.ar

For information about Telecom Argentina’s services, visit:

www.telecom.com.ar
www.personal.com.ar
www.personal.com.py
www.arnet.com.ar
www.cablevisionfibertel.com.ar
www.nextel.com.ar

Disclaimer

This document may contain statements that could constitute forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the Company’s expectations for its future performance, revenues, income, earnings per share, capital expenditures, dividends, liquidity and capital structure; the effects of its debt restructuring process; the impact of emergency laws enacted by the Argentine Government; and the impact of rate changes and competition on the Company’s future financial performance. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as ‘believes,’ ‘expects,’ ‘anticipates,’ ‘projects,’ ‘intends,’ ‘should,’ ‘seeks,’ ‘estimates,’ ‘future’ or other similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could significantly affect the Company’s expected results. The risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the impact of emergency laws enacted by the Argentine government that have resulted in the repeal of Argentina’s Convertibility law, devaluation of the peso, various changes in restrictions on the ability to exchange pesos into foreign currencies, and currency transfer policy generally, the ‘pesification’ of tariffs charged for public services, the elimination of indexes to adjust rates charged for public services and the Executive branch announcement to renegotiate the terms of the concessions granted to public service providers, including Telecom. Due to extensive changes in laws and economic and business conditions in Argentina, it is difficult to predict the impact of these changes on the Company’s financial condition. Other factors may include, but are not limited to, the evolution of the economy in Argentina, growing inflationary pressure and evolution in consumer spending and the outcome of certain legal proceedings. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as the date of this document. The Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly the results of any revisions to forward-looking statements which may be made to reflect events and circumstances after the date of this press release, including, without limitation, changes in the Company’s business or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Readers are encouraged to consult the Company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F, as well as periodic filings made on Form 6-K, which are filed with or furnished to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for further information concerning risks and uncertainties faced by Telecom.

Contacts:
Solange Barthe Dennin
(54 11) 4968-3752

SOURCE Telecom Argentina S.A.

Related Links

http://www.telecom.com.ar