Apps

What’s the deal with Mobile Legends?

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Have you been seeing this image on your Facebook feed a lot lately? Wondering what’s the big deal that has your friends actually sharing this stuff online for all their social circles to see? GadgetMatch takes a quick look at Mobile Legends.

So what is Mobile Legends anyway? It’s a multiplayer online battle arena or MOBA. What’s a MOBA? It’s a game where two teams of player-controlled characters, each with special abilities, face off in a large symmetrical level with the goal of destroying the opposing group’s home base, fighting off small AI enemies and toppling turrets in lanes on the way.


Basically, it’s DOTA that you can play on your phone or tablet.

The MOBA problem

Considering how huge DOTA and other MOBAs like League of Legends are worldwide, maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise how Mobile Legends has become so popular. Just apply the formula to a mobile format, and you gotta have a hit, right?

Not exactly the easiest thing to do. MOBAs are super complex!

I actually never got into them even when the genre first exploded circa 2004 with the original Defense of the Ancients, because it was too complicated even for me, a hardcore console gamer. The highly competitive, testosterone-fueled atmosphere of net cafes was intimidating, too, for my awkward teen self back then.

My experience with Mobile Legends has been the complete opposite. Well, for the most part.

Low barrier to entry

The moment you load up the app, it puts you right into a tutorial that walks you through the basic process of a match step by step with a character you can control. I understood the core concept of the game in the short time it took to complete the tutorial, which I wasn’t expecting at all.

In fact, I was kind of surprised to see the game run in the first place, since I have a low-end smartphone that can’t properly play 1080p videos and struggles with modern, graphically demanding games.

No, it’s not buttery smooth, but the performance is mostly stable and the visuals are only slightly grainy. Characters stand out with their striking colors and flashy abilities. I haven’t had much trouble keeping track of what’s going on, even with my average-sized screen.

Conventional and convoluted aesthetics

However, the overall art design is a generic mish-mash of sci-fi and fantasy tropes. There’s no cohesive aesthetic, and it’s got a disappointingly familiar dose of straight male fanservice. If the guys can be pretty boys, ferocious manbeasts, masked cyborgs, and ghost pirates, why do the females have to be mostly busty, scantily clad supermodels?

The menus outside the actual game modes can be a bit much to navigate for the average person with all the numbers, countdowns, in-game currencies, and promotions they throw at you. After your initial run of Mobile Legends, the app always starts at the Events Hall menu, showing you all the things you can buy with crystals and battle points and emblems. It’s free-to-play, so I get the hard sell. Maybe it works for other people, but I find it a bit of a turn-off.

Thankfully, exiting the shop leads you to the Battle menu where the big red Match Up Mode button is right in the middle, so you can get started on a game ASAP.

Snappy and intuitive gameplay

The standard match goes by quickly compared to PC MOBAs. I’ve had games finish in 10 minutes, with none lasting longer than around 20 when both teams are evenly matched. Contrasted with hour-long battles of DOTA 2 and League, this bite-size experience is welcome for busybodies who still like to have engaging fun on breaks.

Each competition has been satisfying, too! Controls are easy; move with a digital joystick, touch or hold a button to attack the nearest enemy, and just tap on your special abilities when they’re available. With my home internet as well as my mobile data connection, it’s been very responsive either way.

The mid-battle upgrade system in MOBAs are so much simpler here, too, since the game just shows one or two ideal options from a preset loadout of items with clear descriptions when you have the gold to buy them. No rummaging through a huge list, wondering which one is the best to get at the right moment. Pick whatever, and your character will be ultimately more powerful!

I’ve tried 9 of the 37 characters available, playing at least one from each class (fighter, tank, support, etc.), and it’s been very easy getting into the role I needed to assume.

A highly accessible mobile MOBA

I can see the intricacy in higher levels of play with actual teams coordinating strategies with optimal character lineups, too. I’ll never put as much time and effort into mastering Mobile Legends as I have with full-priced premium games I like such as Overwatch and Dark Souls III, but I understand now why some of my friends who don’t even play a lot of games can’t help but broadcast to the world how much they’re into it.

SEE ALSO: Persona 5 review: Can style override substance?

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Apps

Google wants to assists users without depending on the Internet

And Google Pay just got more exciting!

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Google is by definition an “internet” company. Every part of its business depends on connectivity, whether its Google Search or AdSense. The company has penetrated every developed market and now intends to grab the untapped markets of India and other Southeast Asian countries.

Google Assistant

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

At its Google for India 2019 event, the company announced the launch of a special helpline that users can call to have their questions answered. We usually use Google Assitant on the go via any Android phone, but it depends on internet connectivity. How do you reach out to a feature-phone user who barely has a 2G connection?


A 24×7 healpline. Teaming up with Vodafone India, users will be able to dial 000-800-9191-000 and they won’t be charged for the call or the service. Early this year, Google also worked with KaiOS to integrate Google Assistant on entry-level 4G phones like the JioPhone.

Google Assistant was launched in India a couple of years back and Hindi is now the second-largest language globally. You can also switch languages by a simple voice command now.

Google Pay

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

Usually, you can use payment solutions like these in the US via NFC. Your cards are saved on the app and a gentle tap to a PoS machine will initiate the transaction. However, in India the app leverages the countries universal UPI protocol to transfer money. Up till now, you had to add your bank account in the app and scan a QR code to send money.

Google has now announced support for NFC cards. This will make the experience much simpler and streamlined. Though your phone needs to have an NFC reader and only HDFC, Axis, Kotak, and Standard Chartered bank are supported for tokenization at the moment.

The company went on to share a few interesting stats about its position in the country. The app handled 918 million transactions a month in the country.

New AI Lab

Courtesy: Bhardwaj

A new artificial intelligence research lab is being set up in Bengaluru to create India-specific products. Google has tied up with state-run BSNL for expanding Wi-Fi hotspots in villages in Gujarat, Bihar, and Maharashtra. They’ve already deployed more than 5,000 WiFi hotspots in partnership with Indian Railways.

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Apps

SIM card vulnerability puts your sensitive information at risk

It’s called the SIMjacker

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SIM cards are very important. However, a new SIM card vulnerability found out by AdaptiveMobile Security might be putting our information at risk. The Simjacker exploit, which was recently found out and still being investigated on, allows malicious hackers to steal sensitive information from your phone through a SIM card.

Mechanism of attack

Infographic explaining the attack using Simjacker vulnerability | Photo by Simjacker.com

How does the Simjacker vulnerability work?


First, a hacker sends a malicious code to your phone through SMS. Then, the malicious code is read directly by your SIM card. The code then causes the [email protected] browser to send sensitive information to an accomplice device through SMS.

According to the report pulished by AdaptiveMobile Security regarding the vulnerability, the [email protected] browser is found on most SIM cards even though its development was abandoned many years ago. [email protected] browser was never updated, so it carries the risk of sending sensitive information to hackers when exploited successfully.

Sensitive information retrieved and transmitted by the [email protected] browser include location and the IMEI of an exploited device. The IMEI is a shorthand for International Mobile Equipment Identity, which is a 15 digit number unique to your smartphone that has some information about your device including its brand and model. As such, hackers can determine your exact location if you have a compromised SIM card, regardless of what device you have.

And the worst part of the attack is that you have no way of knowing that it has already been done since it all happens within the SIM card.

Origin and scope of the attack

The purpose for carrying an attack varies. However, the report traces the origin to an unspecified private company that works with governments to monitor individuals. So, there is a real possibility that it has been used to spy on us. And rightly so, since specific individuals were targeted in a certain country.

The report also warned that over one billion smartphones across all continents could be at risk to the vulnerability — and you could be one of them.

Response to the attack

In response to the discovered vulnerability, industry association SIMalliance has already put up recommendations for network providers to secure their networks. At this point in time, you can’t do anything to secure yourself from the vulnerability, unless you decided to go SIM-free.

But as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t just give your smartphone number like a free lunch. It also pays to update your smartphone once in a while, since some updates are designed to secure your phone from these kind of vulnerabilities and attacks.

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Apple TV+ launches with ridiculously low pricing

It’ll be free for a year for some users

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Apple has announced that it will begin streaming some of its original content for Apple TV+ starting November 1 for US$ 4.99. The subscription price is extremely affordable and meant to undercut rivals like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney.

It will additionally be available through tv.apple.com on the web, select 2018, 2019 and newer Samsung smart TVs, and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future.


Apple TV+ is expected to launch in over 100 countries, with up to six members to share one subscription at no extra cost. To lure more users, purchasing a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV in the coming weeks will get you a one year of subscription for free.

The service is launching with a panoply of star-filled titles, including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in The Morning Show and Hailee Steinfeld’s drama series Dickinson.

Apple named nine total titles that would be available at launch on Apple TV+. “All of these incredible shows for the price of a single movie rental,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday on stage.

Though, critics say Apple’s offering isn’t actually comparable to the competition because they also have tonnes of licensed TV shows and movies. Focusing on original production is just a part of it and brands like Netflix have invested heavily in getting exclusive rights to many blockbuster creations.

Apple TV+ is in-line with the company’s attempt to monetize its virtual offerings. Instead of completely relying on hardware for revenue, Apple is slowly amping up its subscriptions models. Right now, other products include Apple Music, Apple News+, iCloud, and Apple Arcade.

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