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Sep 16, 2013

Pantech Confirms Android 4.4 KitKat Update for Vega Iron

Surprisingly, the first company to confirm that it will update one of its smartphones to Android 4.4. KitKat is Pantech. According to a tweet spotted by UnwiredView, Pantech will push the highly anticipated upgrade to one of its high-end smartphones, the Vega Iron.

The bad news is that Pantech Vega Iron is only available in South Korea, so this won’t have any impact on the international market. The Vega Iron was launched earlier this year with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box and packs a hyper-vibrant 5-inch HD (720p) capacitive touchscreen display and a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.7 GHz.

Although there’s no telling when exactly Pantech plans to deliver the promised update, there’s a slight chance that Android 4.4 KitKat will arrive on Vega Iron devices by the end of the year.

Pantech Vega Iron
Image credits to Pantech

BBM for Android APK Now Available for Download

BlackBerry promised several months ago that it would bring BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to Android and iOS platform sometime in fall, but the Canadian company did no unveil any details on the exact release date.

Although we’ve already seen a BBM for Android demo earlier this month, we’re still not sure when exactly it will be available for iOS and Android users. Even though the company has yet to introduce BBM, it appears that the folks over at XDA Developers have been able to get their hands on the APK file, which will allow Android users to install and run the application.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on an Android device yet, as the application won’t connect to BlackBerry servers. However, you can now download BBM for Android for free, but keep in mind that it’s useless until BlackBerry fires up its servers.

BlackBerry Messenger for Android
Image credits to XDA-Developers

Jolla Announces Sailfish OS Now Compatible with Android Apps and Hardware

Sailfish OS fans rejoice, as Jolla has just announced that its new ecosystem will be fully compatible with Android applications and hardware.

Those who have already pre-ordered the first smartphone powered by Sailfish OS won’t have to wait to install their favorite apps anymore. According to Jolla, all Android applications will now run directly on Sailfish OS without any modifications. Basically, Sailfish OS users will now be able to take advantage of the Android application ecosystem, which is now available through various app stores globally. Moreover, the Finnish company has promised that it will cooperate with some of the most important app stores to make sure that Sailfish OS users will be able to download Android apps just as they would do on any device powered by Google’s mobile platform. “For example, highly popular apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Spotify run directly on Sailfish OS. Also Chinese WeChat – already with over 400 million users – runs on Sailfish OS,” says Jolla CEO Tomi Pienimäki.

There’s more to it, as Jolla has announced that Sailfish OS now runs on common hardware specifically produced for Android, including smartphones and tablets. This means that vendors that are interested in taking advantage of Sailfish OS offering can now develop phones and tablets based on many different chipset and hardware configurations. “We believe Sailfish with Android compatibility is a highly relevant mobile operating system option for major mobile companies in Europe and in Asia. We are already in discussions with several major Asian vendors regarding this opportunity,” says Tomi Pienimäki.

In the same piece of news, the Finnish handset maker has confirmed that the next batch of Sailfish-powered devices will be opened for pre-order sometime this week. “Due to extremely positive feedback and increased demand in the past weeks, we are offering another pre-order opportunity for our second production batch later this week through jolla.com. This will be targeted to Finnish customers who want to express their passion for the Finnish mobile industry,” Pienimäki concluded.

Jolla logo
Image credits to Jolla

Patriot Memory SuperSonic Boost XT 256 GB Flash Drive

Patriot Memory has a lot of competition on the DRAM and NAND Flash industries, which is why it sometimes launches things that really stand out, like the new SuperSonic Boost XT flash drive.

The name alone should be enough to imply what sorts of capabilities the product possesses, but we'll go through them one by one all the same. They deserve it too. Sure, the newcomer is bound to cost a pretty penny, to say the least, but at least it won't seem undeserved. Besides, between getting one of these and buying a portable hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) instead, prospective customers may very well choose the smaller but equally capable flash stick. Of course, if the capacity was any less than 256 GB, we might not have said the same. That's right, the new SuperSonic Boost XT flash drive has 256 GB to offer. This is actually the latest addition to an existing product line, which previously topped at 128 GB.

Thanks to the USB 3.0 interface, it doesn't take long to move large-capacity files, as the top read speed is of 150 MB/s. The writing speed is considerably lower, however. Still, even 30 MB/s are nothing to scoff at, not when USB 2.0 would limit things to 4 MB/s or so. Add to this a rugged standard capped enclosure and there isn't much of a reason against buying this thing. Well, except the price, but we don't know it yet. We do know the exact measurements though, so here they are: 59.7 x 12.2 x 19.8 mm / 2.35 x 0.48 x 0.77 (WxDxH) and a weight of 13 grams / 0.45. The photo up on the left should be an accurate representation. As you may come to agree, that's not the sleekest case we've ever seen, but then rugged things aren't supposed to look fancy, and Patriot tried to add some aesthetic value anyway.

Super Talent SuperSonic Boost XT
Image credits to Super Talent

Nokia Lumia 1520 Gets Certified in China

Although Nokia and Microsoft have pushed back the launch of Lumia 1520, the phablet has just received its certification in China.

MyNokiaBlog reports the smartphone has been recently spotted China’s Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center, though details on its specs sheet have yet to be unveiled. New pictures of Nokia Lumia 1520 have leaked online as well, and show the phone's buttons and the virtual keyboard.

According to the latest rumors, the Lumia 1520 should boast a huge 6-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports full HD (1080p) resolution, as well as a powerful quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. Other highlights of the phone include a 20-megapixel PureView camera on the back with Carl Zeiss lens, as well as 3400 mAh Li-Ion battery and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

White Nokia Lumia 1520
Image credits to CtechCN.com

Dual-SIM Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Leaks with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Inside

Samsung will launch a dual-SIM version of its Galaxy Note 3 phablet, but the company did not unveil any details regarding the phone's hardware configuration.

Dubbed Samsung Galaxy Note 3 N9002, the smartphone was recently spotted in China, GSMInsider reports. Several photos showing the N9002 in action while being benchmarked confirm it will be equipped with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3 GHz. Samsung is expected to launch no less than four different Galaxy Note 3 models in China. Each major carrier in the Mainland will offer its own Galaxy Note 3 variant, such as the N9008 and N9009.

However, aside from the fact that it comes with an extra SIM slot there are no major difference between the N9002 and other Galaxy Note 3 models powered by Qualcomm's chipset.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 DUOS
Images credits to GSMinsider

Sony Xperia Z2 (Avatar) Specs: 5.2-Inch Display and 3GB RAM

Sony has just announced the Xperia Z1, but rumors on the next flagship smartphone are already making headlines. It looks like the Japanese company plans to launch the Xperia Z2 early next year at CES or MWC 2014.

It's a common fact that major handset makers launch their flagship products during major trade fairs that take place in various cities. According to the latest hearsay, the Xperia Z2 is codenamed Avatar and is likely to pack a slightly larger display than the Z1. Although the improvement is not that important, Sony Xperia Z2 will boast a 5.2-inch full HD Triluminous display. Hardware-wise, it will come equipped with a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8974AB processor clocked at 2.3 GHz, as well as 3GB of RAM.

It's unclear yet if Sony will also upgrade the main camera and deliver the Xperia Z2 with a 26-megapixel module or if it will keep the same photo snapper included in the Z1 model. However, Sony Xperia Z2 will be capable of capturing 4K videos. Obviously, we should take the information with a grain of salt, as for now, there are no confirmations whatsoever that Xperia Z2's specs sheet will contain any of the above.

Sony Xperia Z1
Image credits to Sony Mobile

ASUS M70, First NFC Desktop PC

Near-Field Communication chips are, for now, mostly used to help phones/tablets quickly recognize each other so that a Bluetooth connection may form easily. ASUS decided to extend that to PCs.

In this respect, it released the M70 Desktop PC, the first NFC-enabled desktop ever. It should allow owners to log on to the PC and launch applications via NFC, wirelessly back up photos and such from phones with a single tap of a key, and even detect and only back up files added since last sync. And since NFC wasn't about to sell the system on its own, ASUS also gave the M70 a built-in Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), a Core i3/i5/i7 dual-core CPU (Haswell), NVIDIA Graphics (up to GTX 650), and a built-in Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) that activates when power fails. The UPS is there to ensure that sudden lapses in the power grid don't compromise ongoing copy/paste and backup processes. And if the power fails altogether, it will last for some minutes, allowing the tasks to finish and then pushing the HDD into hibernate mode.

Finally, an ASUS Wireless Charger tray is located at the top, for wireless recharging of phones. The rest of the specs are standard, save for the ASUS Universal Storage Module (USM), a hot-swap drive bay twice as fast as USB 3.9. I'll be keeping an eye out for the price of this thing.

ASUS M70 NFC Desktop
Image credits to ASUS

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