Camera Filters and Creative Effects Shown on BlackBerry Z10 on Video
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Camera Filters and Creative Effects Shown on BlackBerry Z10 on Video

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Another day and another leak. This time, the unannounced BlackBerry Z10 all-touch smartphone running the BlackBerry 10 operating system is shown off on video with Instagram-like filters and some creative effects. The video shows a pre-production BlackBerry Z10 smartphone with just 1 GB of RAM (production version will have 2 GB of RAM) with non-final software running on it. Gadget Masters is showing the smartphone with some post-production photo editing.

In the video, after you take a photo, you can apply any number of filters to the picture similar to how Instagram works. It’s unclear if the camera will allow for live photo effects where you can apply the photo in real time to the scene before hitting the shutter button to give you a preview of how the resulting image with the photo effect will look like before you even capture the image. The feature was once present in Instagram but the service eventually removed this feature.

In addition to filters, Crackberry is reporting that there are also a number of borders and overlays.

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In particular, there is an overlay that is shown with a pattern of repeating pink dots. That overlay was shown on a photo posted on Flickr that we had reported about yesterday.

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It’s unclear if Instagram will be one of the many apps that will be launching alongside the BlackBerry 10 OS, but it does look like RIM is making its camera as fully featured as possible to attract users to its service. If Instagram doesn’t launch on BlackBerry 10, users won’t have access to the Instagram social network, but they can still post their images and share on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr with the effects that RIM is preloading the camera with.

We expect to know more about BlackBerry 10 when that OS launches later this month on January 30.

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Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Date: What Not to Expect

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With a Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release date all but confirmed for early November, we want to take a look at what we do not expect from the Nexus 10, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop release date from Google.

Google’s Android L update was first announced as Android 4.4 KitKat’s successor back in June at Google I/O. At the event, Google did not confirm an Android L release date or name though it did outline many of its features and release a pre-release version to Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5 users. In the weeks after that early release, we’ve seen features teased and release dates rumored and earlier this week, Google finally spilled the beans on Android L.

Google’s Android L update, as expected, is called Android 5.0 Lollipop. The update will be accompanied by two new Nexus devices including a Nexus 9 from HTC and a Nexus 6 from Motorola. Both devices will help usher in a new era for Google and its Android operating system. Problem is, Google still hasn’t confirmed a specific Android 5.0 Lollipop release date.

The company confirmed several Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for arrival including updates for the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10. Earlier this month, we learned that the Android 5.0 deployment could start in early November for Nexus users. Google still hasn’t confirmed the timing outright and may not.

With that in mind, we want to help paint a release picture for Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10 users. This will outline what we know so far about the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Nexus devices and delve into our own expectations. These expectations are based on Google’s history and our own gut feelings about Google’s upcoming release.

Here are 10 things you should not expect from Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 release for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10.

Nexus Lollipop Release Outside November

At this point, do not expect any Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release dates to fall outside the month of November. Google’s official line is “coming weeks” but we fully expect the company to deliver the Android 5.0 Lollipop update next month around the time it delivers the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 to consumers around the world.

Android Police recently released a document that not only points to an Android 5.0 release in early November but also points to specific release dates for two Nexus devices. The site is very reliable and the information, while not official, should be treated as credible. The document suggests that the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 Wi-Fi only Android 5.0 updates will arrive on November 3rd. This is the same day that Google plans to release the Nexus 9 on shelves.

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The document suggests that the Nexus 5, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 LTE will all get their updates after the initial Android 5.0 push. No specific dates are mentioned but we simply cannot see them getting released in December. That’s too close to the holidays. Keep in mind, the Nexus 5 is still on shelves as a budget Nexus smartphone option and Google’s not going to want to head into Black Friday with the Nexus 5 missing a key component like Android 5.0.

Look for all of these updates to start pushing in November not December. Similar to what Google did with last year’s Android 4.4 KitKat update that emerged in mid-November. There should not be a wide gap between all of its Android 5.0 release dates. We don’t expect anything other than a three week release window for this upgrade.

Predictable Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Time

While Apple releases its iOS updates in an around 10AM PST, Google’s Android update release times are unpredictable. That is to say, it doesn’t stick to a schedule. In the past, we’ve seen updates released in the morning and we’ve seen Android updates for Nexus devices released in the late in the afternoon following an announcement.

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This is an element of the release that Google probably won’t confirm ahead of time which means that users are simply going to have to sit by the device, waiting for the upgrade to pop up. This applies to post-release as well.

Google’s staggered OTA roll outs typically arrive at random, unpredictable times. We’ve seen Nexus updates pop up late at night, we’ve seen them pop up early in the morning. It’s a random process and one that you shouldn’t lose sleep over.

Widespread Installation Problems

Unlike Apple, we typically don’t see major day one installation errors for Nexus Android updates. This is probably a product of Google’s staggered roll outs as opposed to Apple’s immediate push for all compatible devices. Apple’s servers typically crumble under the load of iPhone and iPad users trying to install. Google’s servers typically hold up well because it uses an OTA approach.

We might see some updates get stuck or fail but we should see a majority of updates go off without a hitch. Google’s servers are typically very strong not just on release day but during the entire Android update roll out. Don’t expect to encounter much difficulty here. You should be able to install it right off the bat without any headaches.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Leaks

Do not expect the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to leak for Nexus devices in the build up to the official release. Android updates have a habit of arriving ahead of their release date, often in the form of test builds, but Google and its partners have managed to clamp down on leaks over the years. And with just a few short days to go before a release, we’re not expecting anyone to come up with a surprise Android 5.0 Lollipop leak for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, or the Nexus 5.

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You should expect to have to wait until Google issues the update to the public. Sure, there will be ways around the OTA upgrade but Google’s official manual update option should be the only way to get your hands on Android 5.0 Lollipop before it’s pushed from Google’s servers.

Every App to Match New Look

Finally, do not expect every single Android application to match Google’s new Material Design that’s coming with Android 5.0 Lollipop. We should see some of the bigger applications provide updates that mirror the look and feel of Google’s new Android release but there will be many apps that simply miss the initial boat.

It’s similar to what we’ve seen with Apple’s iOS 7 (a major design overhaul) and iOS 8. Developers took weeks to release apps that mimicked the look of iOS 7’s new design and developers are still pushing out updates to match the look and feel of the iOS 8 upgrade and Apple’s new big screen iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

For more information about Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 Lollipop update, have a look at what we expect from it. This will outline many more key Android 5.0 Lollipop details for Nexus devices.

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New BlackBerry 10.2.1 Update Puts Windows Phone On Notice

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Since its inception BlackBerry 10, the operating system that BlackBerry hoped would return it to relevance in the age of the iPhone and Google’s Android, has had to contend with Windows Phone, Microsoft’s mobile operating system. However, that could all be changing. Microsoft’s success so far has been based on two-factors. One is that its hybrid partner model allows hardware makers to create their own devices with Microsoft software. The second has been that Windows Phone users enjoy a much larger selection of quality applications than they’d get if they purchased a BlackBerry device.

It’s that second advantage that BlackBerry is aiming to take away from Windows Phone with its release of BlackBerry 10.2.1 today.

Following the update owners of BlackBerry 10.2.1 devices are finally able to install applications made for Google’s Android operating system seamlessly – or at least more seamlessly than they could with the prior version of the operating system. So far, early reports indicate that following the update users of the BlackBerry Q5, BlackBerry Q10 and BlackBerry Z10 can install Android and run apps without those apps having to go through the somewhat cumbersome conversion process they once did.

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In fact, the process is so seamless The Verge reports that it’s only had issues installing Google-made applications. While the report doesn’t give any reason for why that it is, it’s likely the issue with Google made apps stems from BlackBerry 10 not supporting the native Google Play functions that are ubiquitous on devices built to run Android natively.

Simply put, it’s a huge advantage for BlackBerry. The company’s smartphone fortunes with consumers might not ever recover but as long as it’s stuck battling Microsoft’s Windows Phone for the third-largest ecosystem spot it needs all the help it can possibly get. For comparison, the Google Play Store boasts 1 million applications, many of which BlackBerry owners will be able to install and use. Windows Phone recently passed 200,000 apps.

Read: Thanks to Android, BlackBerry’s App Ecosystem Could Leapfrog Windows Phone

BlackBerry didn’t stop there either. The BlackBerry 10.2.1 update also includes automatic software updates, a battery monitor, a offline reading mode that will allow users to read articles without an internet connection, a refined phone interface and support for FM radios. Unfortunately for BlackBerry Z10 users, only the BlackBerry Z30, BlackBerry Q10 and Blackberry Q5 have FM radios already built-in.

Blackberry says that users in the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America with BlackBerry 10 devices should begin getting the update once their carrier approves it.

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Apps

Thanks to Android, BlackBerry’s App Ecosystem Could Leapfrog Windows Phone

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One of the problems with Windows Phone and BlackBerry is that the selection of apps for both platforms have been more limited than what is available on rivals iOS and Android. However, thanks to a rumored change to the BlackBerry 10 platform, BlackBerry could soon open up to native Android apps and this would allow BlackBerry to leapfrog the selection of apps available for Windows Phone.

Though BlackBerry 10 has supported Android apps that are ported and operated in an emulator on the platform, this latest change would allow native Android apps to easily work on BlackBerry 10. Developers who create Android apps for Google’s Play Store, for example, could change a few lines of codes to have the very same app work natively on BlackBerry 10.

New-BlackBerry-Q101“These developers need do nothing more than make BlackBerry World profiles and submit icons, screenshots and app descriptions for their existing Android apps to appear in the BlackBerry 10 app ecosystem,” TechRadar reported.

Good e-reader and a few Android app developers reported that they were approached by the Canadian smartphone manufacturer about porting their existing Android apps, published in APK format, to submit those apps directly to BlackBerry World, BlackBerry’s app store.

Though these apps may not benefit from all the gestures and UI interactions that are supported by native BlackBerry 10 apps, the ability to run native Android apps would solve a huge problem for BlackBerry in growing the ecosystem and make devices like the BlackBerry Q10, BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry Z30, and BlackBerry Q5 more attractive to consumers who had shied away due to more limited content available on the ecosystem.

This isn’t too surprising given that we had reported previously that BlackBerry may be working with Google to bring the Google Play Store to BlackBerry to run Android apps. However, if Good’s report is accurate, then BlackBerry won’t be hosting Google’s Play Store on its hardware, but the smartphone manufacturer will just be asking Android app developers to submit their APKs to BlackBerry World. This strategy, while still similar to what was rumored before, is more beneficial to BlackBerry as BlackBerry could do a direct revenue share with app developers, rather than get cut out if Google Play was the storefront on BlackBerry phones.

It’s speculated that the ability to run native Android APK apps could arrive as soon as the BlackBerry 10.2.1 release, though Good claims that this won’t happen before BlackBerry 10.3. Whatever the case may be, this could help BlackBerry gain more attention as it could potentially have the same robust collection of apps available to Android users if those developers submitted their apps to BlackBerry World.

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BlackBerry

Dead Before Arrival: BlackBerry Kills Two Smartphones Prior to Launch

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Struggling Canadian smartphone-maker BlackBerry has killed two new and unannounced smartphones even before they launch. Announcement of the canned launch was discovered by the Wall Street Journal and was buried in the company’s recently published third-quarter earnings report published last week.

The company announced that it had made the decision to “cancel plans to launch two devices to mitigate the identified inventory risk.”

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The two devices were known internally as Cafe and Copi and the Journal reported that these devices would be targeted at the entry level market.

The move was made as the smartphone-maker reported huge declines in smartphone sales leading to a stockpile of unsold inventory.

Under a new direction, BlackBerry new interim CEO John Chen had also announced that Foxconn will be partnering with BlackBerry to manufacture low-end smartphones. The first phone to be designed by BlackBerry and made by Foxconn would be arriving in April 2014 and carries the code name of Jakarta.

Despite pulling development over Cafe and Copi, BlackBerry is still said to be working on high-end devices. Those phones carry the code name of Ontario and Windermere. These devices would likely replace current flagship phones like the keyboarded BlackBerry Q10 and the all-touch BlackBerry Z10. BlackBerry also has a mid-range Q5 and a larger BlackBerry Z30 all-touch model on the market as well.

Eventually, though, if Chen has his ways, BlackBerry would outsource manufacturing production of even its high end phones to Foxconn.

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Android

Angry Birds Go Brings Mario Kart Gameplay to Mobile Gamers

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Mobile gamers looking to get their fix of Angry Birds have a new title to download and play.  Angry Birds Go, the arcade racer that promises to take on genre kingpins like Mario Kart, is available for free on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

Announced earlier this year, Angry Birds practically borrows from Nintendo’s entire Mario Kart playbook, allowing users to choose their favorite birds and custom abilities to race against friends.

Overall, there are 50 of these bird-driven soap box cars to earn and choose from — by earn I do mean pay for. While early reports of the game indicated that users could expect the game to include small micro-transactions to encourage users to pay for cars and other small trinkets, early reaction to the game’s final version indicates that Rovio, the game’s developer, might have went a little too far in attempting to solicit money from users.

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In fact, most of the game’s extra purchases were priced at $9.99 in the iTunes Store, users could also exchange real money for in-game currency to purchase more karts. Users are also encouraged to purchase physical toys, or what it call’s Telepods. These telepods unlock even more characters in the game. The Angry Birds Go Deluxe Telepod Multi-Pack Play Set is available on Amazon for $22.99.

That is a shame since the game’s graphics and play mechanics are excellent. Users can choose between controlling carts with their smartphone’s accelerometer or with touch, making it easier for users to adopt the play-style that best fits their established habits. To celebrate the Angry Birds Go worldwide launch, Rovio has added a new launch trailer to its website for users to enjoy.

As of today, users with an iPhone, iPod touch and even iPad can enjoy the game. The Android version of the game is also compatible with phones and tablets alike. Unfortunately, there isn’t a version of the game for Windows RT, leaving Windows Phone 8 owners as the only users who can enjoy the game in Microsoft’s ecosystem.

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