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Nov 12, 2013

BlackBerry 10.2.1 to Bring Along New BBM Emoticons

Following the official release of the BlackBerry 10.2 OS upgrade several weeks ago, owners of BlackBerry 10 devices are bound to receive some appealing enhancements as part of the next platform upgrade, currently said to be BlackBerry 10.2.1.

The operating system iteration has leaked online recently and it appears to be offering some new BBM emoticons, in addition to various other improvements. As n4bb notes, some of the most notable new additions to the list include rainbow, cheerful clap, pondering, high five, moon, martini, and fingers crossed.

All in all, it appears that BlackBerry 10.2.1 will come to devices as a fairly large update, although it might not be marketed as a major release in the end. Those who would like to get a taste of some of these enhancements can now download the leaked OS that emerged earlier today, though they should take extra caution when doing so.

New BBM emoticons in BlackBerry OS 10.2.1
Image credits to n4bb

Moto G Emerges at More Retailers, Full Specs Confirmed

Tomorrow, mobile phone maker Motorola will make official yet another Android-based smartphone, namely the Moto G, a mid-range device that has emerged online quite a few times before.

Prior to its official unveiling, however, the smartphone made it to the websites of various retailers out there, and it looks like its full specs list has been confirmed. Yesterday, we spotted the device listed at Amazon UK, but it seems that UK retailer Tesco also had it on its website briefly, and that German retailer Phone House made a similar move, as the Unwired reports. In addition to confirming the near release of the smartphone, said listings also offered a glimpse at the full hardware specs list that Moto G will arrive on shelves with. Just as previously rumored, the phone will pack a 4.5-inch touchscreen display capable of delivering a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, and will be powered by a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor. 

Furthermore, the new mobile phone will hit the market with support for quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS/HSDPA frequencies, but it might not include LTE connectivity capabilities, it seems. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS receiver, and the like will also be included in the package. On the back, Moto G will feature a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording videos in HD resolution, paired with a 1.3-megapixel front camera that allows users to make video calls while on the go. The specs list of the new device also includes 1GB of RAM, along with 8GB of internal memory. Unfortunately, the listings do not offer info on whether a microSD memory card slot will also be included in the mix. Moto G will be powered by a 2070mAh Li-Ion battery, will measure 129.9 x 65.9 x 6-11.6 mm, and will weigh 143 grams.

Motorola and Google will launch the new device with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean loaded on top right from the start, though chances are that an upgrade to the newer Android 4.4 KitKat will be provided in the not too distant future.

Moto G
Image credits to GSMArena

Intel Announces “Thunderbolt Ready” Program to Promote the 20 GB/s Interface

Thunderbolt is a scalable interface (currently at 20 Gbps bandwidth) based on the DisplayPort 1.2 protocol but, sadly, rather underused. Intel wants to change that though.

To that end, it has started a new program that will promote the technology. Called “Thunderbolt Ready,” it is an initiative that allows owners of motherboards to add Thunderbolt 2 (20 Gbps). All it takes is for said motherboard to have a GPIO header (general purpose input/output header). From now on, you can check for a “Thunderbolt Ready” logo on your PC if this strikes your fancy.

Even if you have Thunderbolt, it might be limited to 10 Gbps (as if that's not a lot already) so you might want to add a Thunderbolt card anyway. Since USB 3.0 can match Thunderbolt 1 at 10 Gbps (not that many devices use this specification yet), people may go for TB2 just because of that.

An ASUS motherboard with Thunderbolt 2 card
Image credits to Intel

Lenovo Vibe Z Goes Official with 5.5-Inch Full HD Display and Dual-SIM Support

The Chinese handset maker Lenovo announced a few high-end Android smartphones a few months ago, during IFA 2013 trade fair. The Vibe X and S5000 were the company's highlights back in September, but now is the time for new products to be launched.

Thus, Lenovo has just come forward with a new announcement that confirms the upcoming release of a new Android smartphone, the Vibe Z. Lenovo Vibe Z is a dual-SIM smartphone that appeared for the first time in late September at an event that introduced the Vibe X in China. According to Engadget, the Vibe Z will soon be available for pre-order in China for a price that will be announced in the coming days. No word on pricing options or whether or not it will be released in other countries as well. The following statement may hint at a possible launch in other regions though: “Lenovo Vibe Z features dual-SIM support (WCDMA + GSM, CDMA2000 + GSM and LTE + GSM options depending on the market and telecom operator).”

Lenovo did confirm that the smartphone would come with a flip cover similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. However, unlike Samsung's flip cover that comes with S-View, Vibe Z's also features a trackpad that provides users with the option to receive or reject calls without having to open the flip cover. The Vibe Z will ship with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box and packs a powerful 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. It also features an Adreno 330 graphics processing unit and 2GB of RAM. There is no mention of the amount of storage, but we suspect that the smartphone offers microSD card slot for memory expansion.

Last but not least, Lenovo Vibe Z sports a stunning 5.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports full HD (1080p) resolution, as well as dual cameras (13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel secondary camera).

Lenovo Vibe Z
Image credits to Engadget

BlackBerry 10.2.1 Allows Direct APK Installs, Has No Google Play Support

One of the features that the BlackBerry 10.2.1 operating system flavor has been rumored to pack is support for the Google Play Store, but it seems that this is not the case.

In fact, following a flurry of reports on the matter, BlackBerry stepped up and shed some light on the matter, stating clearly that no such feature was planned for the platform. “We can confirm that there is no planned support for Google Play on BlackBerry,” a BlackBerry spokesperson said, n4bb reports. “BlackBerry World remains the primary source for trusted and curated BlackBerry applications and we continue to support open standards and open source tools so BlackBerry developers can continue to create apps on any of the development platforms we support.” The inclusion of support for Google’s portal on BlackBerry 10.2.1 would have allowed users to access a great deal of applications straight from their smartphones, that’s for sure. However, while Google Play Store won’t open its doors to BlackBerry users, enhanced access to Android applications will still be present on upcoming versions of the operating system.

To be more precise, BlackBerry 10.2.1 is said to sport an updated Android runtime, one that would enable people to directly install APKs on their BlackBerry phones. Courtesy of this feature, users will be able to download Android app APKs directly and easily have them up and running, all without having to transform them into BAR files. BlackBerry users will also be able to take advantage of various APK downloaders in order to grab the desired applications, which makes it even easier to enjoy a great deal of software otherwise unavailable for them. Unfortunately, Android widgets won’t work on BlackBerry 10, though this is certainly only a minor issue compared to the possibilities opened by the new Android runtime.

Those who would like to learn additional info on the direct loading of APKs on BlackBerry 10.2.1 devices should head over to this thread on the CrackBerry Forums for that.

BlackBerry 10.2.1 offers support for direct Android app APK installations
Image credits to CrackBerry

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