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Oct 22, 2013

BBM for iOS, Android Hits Over 10 Million Downloads in Just 24 Hours

Android and iOS users seem to be happy with what BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has to offer up until now, and when BBM users are pleased BlackBerry is pleased as well.

The Canadian company has just announced BBM has been downloaded more than 10 million times in just 24 hours. That's quite an achievement even for a popular application such as Blackberry Messenger. “BBM rose very quickly in the Apple App Store free app rankings in the first 24 hours, taking the number one slot in more than 75 countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Indonesia and most of the Middle East. We have also seen overwhelmingly positive reviews on Google Play and the App Store. In fact, BBM has earned 60,000 five-star reviews on Google Play from about 87,000 reviews, ” said Andrew Bocking, Head of BBM. This is the second time BlackBerry is trying to release BBM for iOS and Android, and it looks like this time was successful.

Although both BBM for iOS and Android are missing some important features that are integrated onto the BlackBerry version, such as BBM Video and BBM Channels, these features will be added soon via updates. “My team is still committed to bringing those features to the BBM on Android and iPhone in the near future. And we’re not stopping there – we have some great new features planned that will build on BBM as the private social network you count on for immediate conversations you can control and trust,” added Bocking.

In the same piece of news, BlackBerry confirmed it has updated BlackBerry Messenger for Android with a new BBM chat widget that allows users to stay engaged in chats without having to open the app. In addition, the iOS version of BBM has been optimized for iOS 7.

BBM logo
Image credits to BlackBerry

BBM Coming Soon to Windows Phone 8 Platform

It's only been 24 hours since BlackBerry resumed the rollout of BBM for iOS, Android and rumors on other versions of the application have already emerged online.

According to BlackBerryScoop, a reliable source in the past, claims BlackBerry is already working hard to bring BBM on Windows Phone 8 platform. In addition, the cited source also claims BlackBerry Messenger will arrive on iPads and Android tablets. Desktop and web version so BBM are also in plan, which seems extremely plausible given the fact BlackBerry officials demoed a desktop version of a BBM only a few weeks ago.

Given the fact we don't have any official confirmation on any of these speculations, we will file it under “rumors.” We will keep an eye out for more details these rumors, so stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

BBM logo
Image credits to BlackBerry

Download OS X 10.9 Mavericks – Apple Official Release

Mac owners using a 2007 Mac (or newer) with OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 and higher can now download OS X 10.9 Mavericks, free of charge from the Mac App Store.

Apple is now officially offering Mavericks as a free download through the Mac App Store internationally, delivering a truckload of new features and enhancements for Mac users worldwide. Mavericks includes iBooks and Maps, two applications borrowed from iOS, as well as redesigned versions of Calendar, Safari, a new Notification Center, Finder Tabs and Tags, iCloud Keychain, and much more.

Mavericks supports multiple displays like no other desktop OS, and includes energy-saving core technologies so you can surf the web longer on a single charge, according to Apple. Previously, Apple used to charge money for OS X upgrades. This marks the first time Apple is offering a new desktop OS for free.

OS X Mavericks on the Mac App Store
Image credits to Apple

BBM for Android Exclusively Available in Africa on Samsung Galaxy Phones

Bad news for iOS users in Africa, as BlackBerry has confirmed, once again, that BBM is not available for them unless they own a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

Apparently, Samsung paid BlackBerry for a three-day exclusive period over BlackBerry Messenger for Android in Sub-Saharan Africa. Under agreement, BBM for Android will only be available to Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners in Sub-Saharan Africa from the Samsung App store. BlackBerry has also confirmed that BBM will be part of Samsung Messaging Hub, “complementing the range of propriety and third party messaging services that customers currently enjoy.”

iPhone users, as well as other Android customers who own devices other than Samsung Galaxy models, will be able to download and install BBM beginning October 25 via App Store and Google Play. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

BlackBerry Messenger logo
Image credits to BlackBerry

Nokia Lumia 1520 Phablet Now Official with 6-Inch Display and 20MP PureView Camera

The first Nokia phablet is now official. The Lumia 1520 has just been confirmed with a huge display and an impressive 20-megapixel rear-facing camera.

This is the first Windows Phone handset announced by the Finnish company at Nokia World 2013, right after the phone maker introduced the new Asha 500, 502 and 503 devices. Previous rumors have suggested that Nokia Lumia 1520 will boast a 6-inch display and Stephen Elop confirmed this on the stage during the press conference. The phablet packs a 6-inch LCD full HD (1080p) capacitive touchscreen display, as well as a powerful quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz. The phone’s huge screen integrates ClearBlack technology, as well as Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coating. It offers LTE cat 4 support, as well as DC-HSPA, WiFi a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. As expected, Nokia has announced that the Lumia 1520 features integrated wireless charging via Qi technology. The 20-megapixel rear-facing camera features PureView technology, OIS (optical image stabilization), Carl Zeiss lens, dual-LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. It is also worth mentioning that the phablet will be powered by a high-capacity 3400 mAh Li-Ion battery, which should provide up to 780 hours of standby or up to 25 hours of talk time. It should also last for 11 hours of video playback or up to 124 hours of music playback.

Nokia Lumia 1520 is only 8.7mm thin and weighs 209g (battery included). The smartphone features a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 64GB). Software-wise, the phablet comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Office, free global HERE Maps and Here Drive+, as well as Nokia Music for unlimited streaming of ad-free music. The Lumia 1520 will be available in Q3 2013, in yellow, white, black and glossy red for $749 (€548) outright. The phablet will be initially introduced in Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States, while China and Europe will get it afterwards.

Nokia Lumia 1520 (front)

Nokia Lumia 1520 (back)
Images credits to Nokia

iPhone 6 on Track to Get 16MP Camera Sensor from Sony

Apple isn’t expected to deploy the iPhone 6 until late next year, but that’s not stopping speculators from discussing the potential upgrades it will harness.

A report by South Korea's etnews reveals (via Patently Apple) that “Samsung Electronics' System LSI Division and Sony will compete in the 16 million pixel complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor market for smartphones.” Since Apple gets its iPhone camera sensors from Sony almost exclusively, and since the iPhone 5s has an 8 MP CMOS image sensor from Sony, it is reasonable to assume that Apple will want to double the pixel count in its next-generation iPhone using the latest Sony sensors available.

Keep in mind that Apple cannot afford to just beef up on CPU speed next year. The iPhone 6 is compelled to have a new design, a bigger screen, a much better camera (or at least new camera capabilities), and more.

Camera module
Image credits to Chipworks

HIS Radeon R9 280X IceQX2 Turbo Boost Clock 3 GB Graphics Card Debuts

Advanced Micro Devices has still not launched the Radeon R9 290X graphics card, but the rest of the R9/R7 collection has already come out, which is why products like HIS' latest creation are also selling.

The new product from Hightech Information System (HIS) is called HIS R9 280X iPower IceQX2 Turbo Boost Clock 3GB GDDR5. The name alone is enough to reveal a couple of the key assets of the newcomers: the card has 3 GB of GDDR5 memory and a high-end custom cooler. Said custom cooler is the IceQX2, with two fans and a noise level of below 28dB, although the noise rises when games and other tough workloads are run and, thus, increase the heat generated by the GPU and memory chips. The cooler is just part of what makes the HIS card unique though. Another asset is the iPower design, which involves a PWM (power regulation module) with nine phases (6+1+1+1) instead of 7 (5+1+1), DirectFET MOSFET, and two 8-pin power ports (vs 6+8-pin).

The extra power allows for the factory overclocking and a greater than usual potential for custom overclocking as well. In fact, HIS made a point of utilizing a PCB with 2 ounces copper layer, the Dynamic Phase Control PWM IC and superior circuitry. It even bundled the iTurbo overclocking software. For those who want the performance number, the GPU operates at 1000 MHz, instead of the 850 MHz of the reference board. That puts the boost clock at 1050 MHz. The memory was left at 6 GHz though. HIS' graphics card also possesses a 384-bit interface and four display outputs (dual-link DVI, HDMI, two DisplayPort 1.2). Sadly, HIS didn't include the price of the R9 280X IceQX2 Turbo Boost Clock 3 GB in its official announcement, but we suspect it is somewhere around $350 / €350.

HIS Radeon R9 280X IceQX2 Turbo Boost Clock 3 GB
Image credits to HIS

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