bb z5There has been whispers that BlackBerry is going to roll out half a dozen models later this year, so those of you who are BlackBerry fans should find this bit of news to be encouraging if you are thinking of changing your BlackBerry device to a newer model. Sure, the all-touch BlackBerry Z10 has already rolled out, and so too, is the QWERTY enabled BlackBerry Q10, but it seems that BlackBerry could very well be working on a new model that targets emerging markets by dumbing down the Z10, hence calling it the BlackBerry Z5.

Similar to how the BlackBerry Q5 delivers a physical QWERTY experience that is not up to par with that found on the BlackBerry Q10, so too, does the BlackBerry Z5 resemble a downscaled version of the all-touch BlackBerry Z10 model. Chances are pretty high that we will see this particular model snake its way to markets such as India, China and the other parts of Asia. No idea on the kind of pricing that we will see accompany this device, but it should be easy on your pockets, really.

sony experia z review 37 640x426What comes after the HTC One Google Edition and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition? Well, since both of these devices happen to be the flagship models of HTC and Samsung, respectively, it would not be too far fetched to figure out that Sony Mobile too, wants in on the action, and hence rumors of the Sony Xperia Z (read our review) arriving in a Google Edition has started to spread around. Of course, you can also call this the Sony Xperia Z Nexus, whichever floats your boat.

Needless to say, the Sony Xperia Z Google Edition will carry the same kind of hardware as with the current models that are already in the market, although you will find that these will feature a vanilla version of Android, in addition to an unlocked bootloader and quick updates directly from Google, assuming that this rumor turns out to be true. Out of all these models, just which particular smartphone would you prefer to get your mobile communications and computing needs attended by, and why?

sprint logo 1Nearly three years ago, we reported that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse will eventually shut down their iDEN network, but no concrete date was set back then. Well, fast forward to 2013, and what do we have here? Sprint has issued a reminder to their subscribers over the iDEN network that said network would shut down for good this coming June 30th, and logically speaking, June 29th would be the last day you will be able to make use of the iDEN network from Sprint. The network will shut down right after midnight on June 30, and hence Sprint has urged its remaining iDEN customers to make the jump to its CDMA-based handsets, where these will deliver walkie-talkie features thanks to its DirectConnect service.

Apart from this particular reminder, Sprint also announced that it wants to recycle as many of its iDEN networking gear as possible, and the entire gamut would include cables, batteries, rack gear, and even the concrete enclosures themselves. Sprint has already put out an estimate that they will recycle over 100 million pounds of equipment and materials, and when the iDEN network bids adieu, it will be able to pave the way for Sprint to expand its CDMA 3G and LTE 4G services on the now vacated 800MHz spectrum. [Press Release]

bb a10I do know that many of you BlackBerry fans out there cannot wax lyrical enough about the BlackBerry Z10, but since the company is on the verge of a mini revival of sorts, how about hearing word of a possible replacement, or rather, a successor to the recently released BlackBerry Z10? After all, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins did tease the media earlier this year that BlackBerry is working on a new product which he happened to be “really excited about”. Just what could this device be? A new report emerged today that claimed the device which Heins was referencing to would be the BlackBerry A10.

From Z to A, now that would be an interesting twist. I sure as heck hope that BlackBerry would not take the same route that Sony is doing at the moment with their Xperia series, where they have cooked up an alphabet soup of sorts along the way. The BlackBerry A10 could be the upcoming flagship device, where it might see the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 get a bump down to mid-range status eventually. CNEt claims that the BlackBerry A10 will be a full-touch device, which jives with the rumors that this is a Z10 successor. There are also whispers going around that the BlackBerry A10 will be launched during the holiday season via Sprint.

lenovo preorderYou might think that the iPad is the bee’s knees, but here is a newsflash for you – not everyone would think along the same lines as you. In fact, there might be other folk who would prefer a far more affordable Android tablet for their computing needs, as long as it can go online, that is all that matters. Well, if you happen to fall into that particular category, you might be keen to know that Lenovo’s IdeaTab A1000 and A3000 that are available to order in the US will go for $189 and $229, respectively.

Regardless of whether you pick up the IdeaTab A1000 or IdeaTab A3000, they are pint-sized 7” tablets that carry 1,024 x 600 resolution displays, with each of them running on the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system. The IdeaTab A1000, however, will come with a dual-core 1.2GHz MediaTek MT8317 processor while the IdeaTab A3000 should plod along a wee bit slower due to its single-core 1.2GHz MT6575 processor. Other shared specifications include 1GB RAM and 16GB of internal memory, while a microSD memory card slot allows you to expand that even more.

kindle dxIt seems that the powers that be at Amazon figured out that their Kindle DX tablet has some life left in it, hence resurrecting this 9.7” e-ink display e-reader without a formal announcement. Just in case you were wondering, the Amazon Kindle DX which was first introduced to mainstream consciousness in 2009, was discontinued on the quiet sometime in late 2012. To bring it back certainly underlines the faith that Amazon has in it, and while it does not remain visible on Amazon’s main Kindle page, it is up for sale again over at Amazon. Are they trying to clear out their inventory? Perhaps, considering how the price of the resurrected Kindle DX now stands at $299, which is a good $80 cheaper than last year’s price.

Other Kindle options include the $79 6” Kindle as well as the $214 7” Kindle Fire, but if viewing real estate is what you are after, the Kindle DX is hard to beat at 9.7”. Maybe Amazon is targeting the late summer back-to-school season, hence offering this e-book reader without much fanfare.

odinYou might not think much on behalf of the visually impaired, but this special group of people sure have to work in overcoming their fair share of obstacles in everyday life, where navigating around itself could prove to be quite the challenge. We have seen our fair share of walking sticks for the visually impaired in the past, conceptual or otherwise, but how about the world of smartphones? Odin Mobile is a new carrier who wants to be the first in the US to target the visually impaired market. Odin Mobile will piggyback on T-Mobile’s network, where the kind of mobile devices that they offer will boast of accessibility features for those who have limited vision, in addition to delivering the kind of customer service which is specially catered for visually impaired customers.

Guides for customers will come in Word and HTML formats via e-mail, and its support team will also be trained to know about the myriad of accessibility options which are available in smartphones. Not only that, Odin Mobile intends to donate 2%tof its voice and text revenues to organizations which offer assistance to the visually impaired. The first smartphone to roll out this July would be the RAY Huawei Vision which was specially constructed for eye-free operation. It will be powered by the Android platform, sports a 4” 800 x 400 display, a 5-megapixel camera, 12GB of internal memory, run on a 1GHz processor, and carries a 1500mAh battery. The RAY Huawei Vision will retail for $300 a pop.

amd androidIt seems that chipmaker AMD has decided to make a break from offering Windows-powered devices on an exclusive basis, as the company has now taken up the cause of the Android and Chrome operating systems. For AMD to open their door in order to design and manufacture chips to are powered by Google’s Android and Chrome OS, which are commonly found in tablets and other mobile devices, is seen by many as a step in the right direction. These chips would be based on x86 and ARM architecture, and the uptake of both the Android and Chrome OS ought to be able to deliver flexibility for third-party chip design as well as integration.

While AMD remains extremely committed to Windows 8, they hope to increase their bottomline by working on the Android and Chrome OS markets. This is a turnaround from AMD’s previous stand where they did not carry any interest in Android, but I would say it is a good turnaround. There is no mention on when these AMD-based Android tablets would finally hit the mass market, but we do know that AMD is currently working alongside developers on Android applications for AMD chips.

google keyboardHear ye, hear ye! Google has just rolled out the default keyboard in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (or better) as a standalone app. The app itself weighs in at just 15MB, so there is no need to hook up to a Wi-Fi network as your 3G or LTE connection should be able to do the job just fine. It has the makings to shape up as a potential contender to the likes of Swype or SwiftKey, but a lot of it will be determined by the market take-up rate. In fact, a post over on Google+ did mention that the Google Play Store’s app debut will deliver “Gesture Typing”, allowing you to drag your finger from a single letter to another so that you can form the words of your choice, as the artificial intelligence itself will help you get the job done.

Other features include next-word suggestions, auto-complete, voice recognition, as well as the support for 26 languages, but do bear in mind that right at this moment, the keyboard remains English-only, although this is set to change in due time. As long as your Android device runs on Ice Cream Sandwich and more, you are good to go with the Google Keyboard app.

ios 7 square icons

Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote address takes place on 10th June. The company has confirmed that it will be focusing on iOS 7 at the event. Much has been rumored about the upcoming design changes in iOS 7. The yet to be announced iOS update is reportedly going to tout a ‘flat’ design. Some developers have reportedly noticed that their app icons are being displayed as square and don’t have the conventional rounded edges. This is believed to be a subtle sign of the design changes which will be introduced in iOS 7.

Developers normally uploaded app icons that have sharp corners, the rounded edges affect would automatically be applied by Apple’s system. Apparently the system which used to do this has been pulled out less than a week before iOS 7 is to be unveiled, rounded edges of app icons are no longer being displayed in the developers portal. Apple recently released the official WWDC 2013 app, it has some flat design aesthetics. The new app is also being considered by some as a subtle hint of iOS 7 design changes. The fact remains though, you just never know it with Apple. The company will officially take the wraps off iOS 7 next Monday, only then we’ll know for sure what sort of a design the upcoming update has. [Image via AppleInsider]