Get On Trac: Puma launches new running app

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Do you reckon you run faster on a sunny day? Or that Iron Maiden will always be champions of the definitive early morning run soundtrack? Perhaps you believe you’re at your physical peak during a full moon?

Well it’s time to put these theories to the test with Puma’s new free iPhone app Pumatrac. Thankfully, it’s a hell of a lot more useful than the brand’s previous app Puma Social. Launched almost exactly a year ago, Puma Social was a tool to help grease the wheels of post-game camaraderie, eschewing the brand’s more wholesome virtues in favour of booze-soaked social bandwagon jumpery. Yawn.

Mercifully Pumatrac sees the company go back to what they know best; sports. Running to be precise. And they’ve come up trumps. Like all running apps, the main premise is a training tool that tracks your distance, route and speed. However, here’s the interesting twist; it also takes other elements into account such as your soundtrack (as long as you’re listening to music from the same smart device) the weather, the altitude, the time, the season and even the moon cycle.

Sound gimmicky? Maybe a tiny bit, but they’ve utilised the functionality really well; all these additional elements and conditions are taken into account to provide you with new running stats other apps can’t give you. Such as which soundtrack helps you reach your top speeds. Or the days of the week you execute your best run. And yes, whether you’re at your physical peak best during full moon or not.

The idea is to help inspire you on those all-too-common rainy days when running seems like a bigger chore than doing your tax returns while doing the post Sunday roast dishes and the weekly ironing. As time goes by the app will learn your personal preferences and suggest training sessions that actually suit the conditions. Who knows? Perhaps you actually run faster and train more efficiently in the rain. In this sense it’s the app that keeps on giving; rather than spitting out the same old stats, it constantly evolves, providing you with insights about your training as you run through different seasons, times of the day and playlists.

Check out this promotional video from Puma which shows the product in a little more detail:

Egging you on with notifications that are cheery but not cheesy, it’s user-friendly and fully socialised. There’s also a neat option of adopting new running routes saved by other Pumatrac users. And, of course, a chance to shout about your stats on all the popular social platforms. Released just a week after Adidas and Nokia announced their forthcoming, intuitive miCoach app, it seems sports brands are rebooting their smart device presence with some really interesting solutions. It’s about time.

Pucca Noodle Rush iPhone app review

A someone who has played Get a Better Lover and Go Densha Go! I’m sure you can build a game around most things. But being a waitress? Even I was a little sceptical. But as I watched a whole weekend disappear to Game Dev Story, an engrossing game that simulates people sitting in an office making computer games I was prepared to give Pucca noodle rush a chance.

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If you don’t know Pucca (and take a look at the screenshot above – she should seem pretty familiar) she is the 10-year old niece of three Chinese noodle house owners … and also the face of a multimillion dollar cross platform franchise, originally from South Korea and featured on lunch boxes, pencil cases, tv shows, bill boards and now iPhone apps (and a Wii game which we’ll be reviewing next week hopefully).

The game plot revolves around Pucca trying to save her uncle’s noodle restaurant when a tough rival opens up across the street. You control Pucca who is in charge of customer service, which means seating customers, taking orders, serving up, clearing tables, pocketing the cash and of course chasing away the ninjas hired by meddlesome rivals. Like any time management game, there are numerous split second decisions to make when seating customers: prioritise friends, loyal customers, and take rivalries and thorny personalities into account to avoid trouble.

A host of familiar characters from the Pucca-verse, including Abio, Chang, Ssoso and of course Garu (if you enjoy playing with the game, I’d spend ten minutes boning up on the Pucca-verse) will show their faces along the way, either to lend you a helping hand or to try to throw a spanner in the works.

Seating people, taking their order and collecting their empty dishes is the crux of the game and once you give over to the charming silliness, it’s a cute distraction that is deserving of your £1.79 – especially if you are a Pucca fan.

***Update***
The Pucca app price has just been slashed to 59p. So if you are keen then jump on it.

I am of course, waiting for the game about reviewing iphone apps. Guaranteed 10/10.