BBM for Android, Motorola is Back, LG's Phone is Odd, Black Ops DLC coming, plus: Google Conference review

By Matthew de Neef | Indeterminate Blog Team

The past few weeks have been fairly busy in the tech world. Here's what went down; from BBM heading to Android, Motorola's new phone, LG's new flagship, COD BO2's DLC, to Google's new Nexus 7 and Android 4.3.

Moto X: is it X-ceptional?
You'll probably remember the big el 'Goog bought Motorola about a year and some back, and everyone lost their minds about how Google had the chance to make an uber-phone. Well now, it's finally here, being announced sometime back: the Moto X. It's not packing a quad core CPU or a zillion GB's of memory, nor a 1080p screen, actually. Because of this, everyone dismissed it as "last year's device." But Google and Motorola say it's not all about cores and raw speed (they're right, actually.). It's actually a multicore device but its really really smart. It's got a dual core Snapdragon CPU, quad core graphics, and 2 other cores, one specifically for understanding how you talk, and the other to let you do stuff with gestures instead of touches on your screen. Like if the phone is on your desk, asleep, and you tilt it toward you, it recognises you just want to check the time, so it turns on only the part of the screen for the clock and notifications. It's a lot more fancy but what I worry about is that people judge devices by spec alone, so they might give the Moto X a wide berth. Time will tell. SA availability? No idea, yet.




LG's G2: G-nius?

I'm not sure of any other reason for this phone's launch other than LG's attempt to keep up with what Samsung and HTC have got going in the Android world. The new G2 smacks of "flagship" with a typically large 5.2" panel, sporting a "usual" 1080p panel, with a 13MP main camera. A thrashing quad core beating heart with 2GB RAM joins Android 4.2 under the hood. That's all well and good (very good, I know) but what's interesting about this phone is where the volume and power buttons are, on the back below the camera. LG reckons people rest their index finger below the camera on the back, and that might be nice for the power button. So wait, if you put your phone down on the desk, won't the power button get pushed? SA availability isn't known.




Call of Duty Black Ops 2 DLC 
Original story from ITNewsAfrica

Anyone keen on Activision's latest shooter, Black Ops 2? If you've been religiously mashing buttons perfecting that trickshot in multiplayer, you'll be happy to know the game will go out with a bang, before the release of November's "Ghosts", with a Apocalypse DLC coming August 24 for XBox, followed by PS3 and PC later. ITNewsAfrica has this to say about details of the content coming to gamers later this month:  “Apocalypse contains four multiplayer maps and the zombie campaign Origins. The fours maps consist of: Pod, a derelict Taiwanese modernist compound; Frost, a snowy European villa; Takeoff, a close-quarters focused remote launch site on an island; and Dig, an adaptation of World at War’s Afghanistan-set map Courtyard.” Activision says the DLC will set you back about R490 if you've got the DLC Pass or about R150 on its own.

BBM Heading to it's Green Robot Friend
Originally featured on  DigitalStreet SA

In a move that's got most Android users smirking, Research In Motion, uh, I mean, Blackberry Ltd as it's called now, seems to have realised it's dying market share needs something to pick it up, and the software route seems the only way. Although the BlackBerry Z10, keyboard-based Q10, and cheaper 9320-upgrade-esque Q5 (which is heading to our shores, see below) are getting to the modern-level of iPhone and Android, they aren't selling as well as BlackBerry are hoping. So it seems logical that BlackBerry's only real feature, BBM, or BlackBerry messenger, is heading to Android and iOS soon. Samsung phones in South Africa have been rumoured to be getting access to the app from the Samsung Hub first, followed by all other devices on the Play Store. We'll keep you updated on this story as it develops. 

(Kind of) El-cheapo BB10 Goodness in the BB Q5


People loved the BlackBerry 8520 because it was so cheap. Now, people like the new BB10 OS but they just don't want to part with so much cash to get their hands on it. That's changing with the release of the cheap and (hopefully cheerful) Blackberry Q5 which released recently in South Africa. It's got fairly middling specs, with a 3.1" touch panel flanked below by a physical keyboard. This little chap is powered by a dual core 1.2GHz CPU and 2GB RAM, and has a 5MP camera along with the goodies found in BlackBerry 10. It'll set you back something like R289 pm on Vodacom's Smart S or Cell C's Straight Up 100. If you're a stickler for a physical keyboard but wouldn't mind a touch screen to go with it, but aren't wanting to blow R400pm for it, this might be a good choice on your next upgrade.

Google Talks Nexus, Android 4.3 (still Jelly Bean)


Google at the end of last month strutted their stuff announcing a new version of Android, 4.3, still named Jelly Bean, to go along with their mid year hardware release, namely the "new" Nexus 7 tablet (not sure if you can call it the Nexus 7 2013, FHD, "II" ,whatever). Last year's sweet 7" tablet (the original Nexus 7) was so good in that it packed a quad core CPU and a really nice display into a tablet that retailed for only R3500. Meanwhile, that price has now dropped to R2999 in SA. Anyway, the new Nexus 7 packs a much more powerful quad core, an extra GB of RAM making the total 2GB, a full HD 1920x1200 display (apparently the highest-res 7" panel in the world) and a rear 5MP camera, which the old one lacked. It seems compelling, launched in the US for $230 for the 16GB model, but SA pricing and availability isn't known. If you're eager like me, you can order the new Nexus 7 from Amazon for R2600 but the shipping and import duty pushes that to R3600. When I get my hands on it, I'll get back with a full review of both Android 4.3 and the tablet itself.

That should help you get back on track with what's happened in tech lately. Thanks for reading, share us on Facebook, and comment on what you think of these devices!