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Oct 2, 2013

BBM for Android Now Available for Beta Testers

It looks like it has taken BlackBerry more than a week to iron out all the technical issues it was hit with since the botched launch of BBM for iOS.

The Canadian company did not even have the chance to launch BBM for Android due to a leaked version of the application that was affected by a nasty bug, which stressed its servers more than it should. However, it appears that a new version of BBM for Android is now being tested, CrackBerry claims. BlackBerry fixed most of the bugs in the previous versions and is now sending the application to select few for beta testing.

The new beta of BBM for Android features some tweaks and visual changes, such as a new welcome screen, the option to disable the persistent notification in the status bar, as well as some UI graphical improvements. Unfortunately, there's no telling when exactly the new BBM for Android will be released for the general public, but it shouldn't take more than a couple of days to complete the tests. Stay tuned for more on this.

Blackberry Messenger logo
Image credits to Blackberry

Vertu Vertu Constellation (Android-Based)

This week, Luxury phone maker Vertu made official a new Android-based smartphone, namely the Vertu Constellation, which comes with the usual set of options that one would expect from such a device, but which makes a change in design.

The new mobile phone was launched without the iconic ceramic pillow on the earpiece, but with a large sapphire glass and with a durable calf leather wrapping around its body. “A virtually scratch proof sapphire crystal screen, strong enough to resist the impact of a 200g steel ball being dropped on it from a height of one meter,” Vertu explains on its website. The smartphone was announced in five different color flavors, including dark brown, orange, black, light brown, and cherry, and with a price tag of €4,900 (around $6,630) attached to it. “The Constellation is swathed in luxurious calf leather. Carefully selected for its exquisite feel and natural grain from one of Europe’s oldest tanneries. Designed to match moods, seasons and discerning tastes, Constellation is available in five elegant colors,” Vertu explains.

“Twice as strong as steel, yet half the weight, Constellation’s forged grade 5 titanium case is polished to an immaculate finish.” Vertu Constellation arrives on the market with a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 SoC packed inside, and boasts a 4.3-inch 720p touchscreen display. The handset is powered by an 1800mAh battery. The Android-based smartphone also arrives on the market with a 13-megapixel camera on the back, as well as with a front camera for video calling. It also sports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity. Vertu packed 32GB of internal memory inside the new mobile phone, along with a pin-eject SIM tray, but did not include support for LTE networks out there.

The new Vertu Constellation will be put up for sale in select Vertu boutiques before the end of this month. Those who would like to purchase one unit should contact a boutique first, so as to make sure that the handset will be there waiting for them.

Vertu Constellation
Image credits to Vertu

MSI Radeon R9 280X and R9 270X HAWK Pictured

There's something really interesting about release dates: they don't tend to stick, as I have learned about the availability date for AMD's R9/R7 video cards. Video cards like the ones MSI is customizing.

The folks at VideoCardz were kind enough to post a picture of them. And by “them” I mean the Radeon R9 280X Gaming and Radeon R9 270X HAWK graphics adapters. The photo comes from a PDF intended for distributors and retailers. Apparently, there will be two variants of the R9 280X Gaming, one with reference clocks and one with factory overclocking.

Meanwhile, the R9 270X HAWK will only be overclocked, and quite a lot too. The biggest overclock MSI has ever managed actually, if I'm reading things right. Too bad we have no numbers.

iPhone Game Controller Leaked

An MFi (Made for iPhone) controller from Logitech is about to hit the market, according to a disclosure by @evleaks, which has provided accurate leaks in the past.

A case-controller that wraps around your iPhone, this Logitech gamepad essentially turns any iDevice into a portable gaming console, much like the PlayStation Portable / Vita. If the images are accurate, Logitech will have one of the finest looking iOS game controllers on the market, not to mention the fact that it will reportedly boast its own battery pack. The hardware is said to connect to the iDevice via Bluetooth.

Various similar solutions have already been created, but none have received Apple’s blessing via direct API (application programming interface) support. There’s no information as to when this controller might become available. The leaked images seem to be press materials, so if Logitech has prepped those for release, then the launch of the hardware itself shouldn’t be too far off.

Logitech iPhone controller
Image credits to @evleaks on Twitter

Nexus 5 Almost Confirmed for the Last Week of October

Google and LG might finally be ready to make the next smartphone in the popular Nexus lineup official, and this month could turn out to be the lucky one for enthusiasts.

Supposedly called Nexus 5, the upcoming device is now said to have been almost confirmed for unveiling during the last week of October. In fact, a recent article on TechRadar notes that the mobile phone is also set to start shipping to users before month’s end. This means that Google might put it up for sale immediately after launch, while attaching a rather affordable price tag to it. Apparently, Nexus 5 might hit the market at about half the price that iPhone 5s sports at the moment, though it is expected to feature the same performance capabilities as Apple’s latest flagship handset. This means that the next Google phone out there could be priced at around £275 ($450 / €330), matching Google’s low-price, high-performance smartphone policy.

The one thing that remains to be seen is what hardware specs the device will include so as to be able to deliver the same performance levels as iPhone 5s. Previous rumors suggested that it would arrive on the market with a 5-inch full HD screen, a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, and 2GB of RAM. At the same time, it might also include 16GB of internal memory, an 8-megapixel camera on the back, and a front camera for making video calls. All these would work together to enable Nexus 5 to deliver some of the most appealing performance levels out there, just as a leaked GFXBench test result unveiled recently.

TechRadar suggests that Google and LG might go for the same 64-bit CPU configuration that Apple included in its iPhone 5s device, though we find it highly unlikely. 64-bit processing functionality is expected to arrive on Android devices, but not before the next year. One way or the other, specific details on the matter will be provided only at the end of this month, so stay tuned to learn more on this.

Alleged Nexus 5 leaked photo
Image credits to MacRumors forum

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