Another week, another batch of purported leaks for Research In Motion’s (RIMM) first BlackBerry 10-powered Z10. BBin claims to have most of the Z10′s final specs confirmed and it is shaping up to be a powerful device. Rumored specs for the Z10 include a TI OMAP 4470 1.5GHz dual-core processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 for the U.S. and Canada), a 4.2-inch display (1,280 x 768 resolution), quad-band LTE, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, a 2-megapixel front camera, a microSD card slot, and an 1,800 mAh removable battery. On the connectivity side, the Z10 is also rumored to have NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi, A-GPS, a Micro USB port and a Micro HDMI-out port. BlackBerry 10′s January 30th unveiling in New York City can’t come soon enough.
Apple’s (AAPL) stock might be taking a beating, but that doesn’t mean the products dreamed up by Jonathan Ive and company aren’t still hot commodities. On the contrary, Apple products are still so hot that thefts of iOS devices helped drive New York City’s crime rate up for the first time in 20 years, according to The Wall Street Journal. The news isn’t shocking considering the data the New York Police Department released in October, which revealed Apple-related crimes were up 40% this year. Paul Browne, the New York Police Department’s top spokesman told the WSJ, ”Overall crime in the five boroughs is up 3% so far this year, driven by the thefts of Apple products.” Browne said there would actually be a “slight decline in crime citywide” had thefts of Apple products remained the same.
Research In Motion (RIMM) CEO Thorsten Heins recently said during the company’s Q3 earnings call that BlackBerry 7 is still a “strong success” in the Asian-Pacific markets. Despite the company putting most of its weight behind BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 and X10, Heins said RIM will continue supporting BB7 and consumers “might expect us to even build one of the other new products” based on it. Heins suggested on the earnings call new BB7 phones will target entry-level markets with lower price points over its BB10 devices; now, MobileSyrup has posted a photo of a mystery BlackBerry phone sitting next to the BB10-powered Z10 and X10. Could this HTC (2498) Status/ChaCha look-alike be a new BB7 smartphone? It could be, but then again, it could also be a prototype that will never be released or another new BB10-powered QWERTY phone.
Managing Facebook (FB) privacy settings can be a daunting nightmare. Facebook’s new “Privacy Shortcuts” is designed to make sharing items as transparent as possible with always-visible privacy button on the top toolbar. The update also brings “an easier-to-use Activity Log, and a new Request and Removal tool for managing multiple photos you’re tagged in.” The new Facebook privacy controls are rolling out globally starting on Friday and will arrive for all users by the end of the year. For the full details on all of the new changes, be sure to visit Facebook’s Newsroom here.
In recent years, Android has continued to get better and better with new and useful features. At the same time, iOS has become rather stagnant and in many ways has fallen behind. iOS 6 did bring new features, but its subsequent updates also introduced a slew of issues. What’s most disappointing about iOS is that it still doesn’t allow users to quickly adjust basic things such as brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. without having to dive into layers of menus. However, a forum member at The Verge recently mocked up a concept for a redesigned app switcher and managed to get a few developers to help out on a project to enhance iOS multitasking. The result is a jailbreak tweak that improves upon iOS’s current multitasking system in such an intelligent (and elegant) way that Apple (AAPL) should just hire the developers and incorporate it into iOS 7. See for yourself in the video below.
Nokia (NOK) announced on Friday Research In Motion (RIMM) has agreed to pay it a “one-time payment and on-going payments” that will end the patent litigation between the two companies in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The exact details to the patent license agreement weren’t disclosed. Just as the patent wars were beginning to heat up between tech companies, most are now realizing it’s easier to settle and enter into a license agreement than to wage war in the courtroom. More →
Popular cross-platform texting app WhatsApp reduced its iPhone app from $0.99 to free on Thursday. The app now delivers 10 billion messages per day, which is no surprise considering how consumers are choosing to use app-based messengers instead of paying for texting. WhatsApp is so popular, Facebook (FB) is reportedly interested in acquiring it. While it’s true the Android version of WhatsApp is also available for free, that version requires a yearly $0.99 fee after the initial year. Still, WhatsApp’s advantage over Apple’s (AAPL) built-in iMessage is that it works across multiple mobile platforms. At zero dollars, WhatsApp is a no-brainer download if you don’t already have it on iPhone.
Research In Motion’s (RIMM) first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, formerly known as the L-Series and “London” will apparently be called the “BlackBerry Z10″ according to marketing materials obtained by UnwiredView. RIM’s QWERTY BlackBerry 10 device that’s slated for a release sometime between March and June will reportedly go by the name “BlackBerry X10.” As we inch closer to BlackBerry 10′s launch on January 30th in New York City, all eyes are on RIM to deliver a new smartphone and OS that finally catches up to iOS and Android. Most recently, RIM’s Dev Alpha B smartphone running BB10 was spotted crushing the iPhone 5 on iOS 6 and HTC (2498) Windows Phone 8X running Windows Phone 8 in a Web browser speed and rendering comparison test. All RIM needs to do now is deliver compelling hardware and apps to sway users who have long since abandoned BlackBerrys for iPhones and DROIDS.
Apple’s (AAPL) recent iOS 6.0.2 release had one major purpose: to fix Wi-Fi connection issues. But according to TidBITs and many other iPhone 5 and iPad mini users on Apple’s discussion forums, the update is draining battery life quicker than usual. According to TidBIT’s Michael Cohen and Adam C. Engst, the issue may be related to the updated devices now working harder to scan for Wi-Fi access points. It’s unclear how widespread the battery drain issue is. BGR didn’t notice any unusual battery drainage on one of our iPhone 5s running iOS 6.0.2. This also isn’t the first time Apple’s iOS devices have suffered from battery issues after a software update, and likely won’t be the last.
Kodak announced on Wednesday it has successfully sold its digital imaging patents to “12 intellectual property licensees organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation” for $525 million. As Engadget notes, Intellectual Ventures is working on behalf of Apple (AAPL) and RPX Corporation is representing Google (GOOG). The new deal is “one of Kodak’s key restructuring objectives” that will see it emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and end its battle with Apple over patent disputes. Kodak’s press release follows below.
Research In Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry 10 is shaping up to be quite the contender, but does it have what it takes to knock iOS 6 off its podium and prevent Windows Phone 8 from gaining momentum to become the third-most popular mobile operating system? The Gadget Masters recently performed Web browser rendering speed test comparisons between a Dev Alpha B smartphone running BB10, an iPhone 5 on iOS 6 and an HTC (2498) Windows Phone 8X with Windows Phone 8 and was impressed at how fast RIM’s new Webkit-based browser was. And that’s not even a final BB10 phone; only a developer kit. Oddly missing is a comparison with Android’s stock Internet browser and Chrome. RIM will launch BlackBerry 10 on January 30th in New York City. TGM’s Web browser comparison videos can be found below. More →
Samsung’s (005930) Galaxy Camera and Nikon’s (NINOY) Coolpix S800c are just the beginning of a swath of Android-powered cameras. Newly leaked images and specs point to Polaroid reviving its camera business with what could be the world’s first Android camera with interchangeable lenses. With no official name yet, the tentatively named IM1836 camera will reportedly feature a 18.1-megapixel sensor, 3.5-inch touchscreen, pop-up flash, Wi-Fi, HDMI and Android 4.0. More →