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Hardware Round-up: Google Edition S4, BBM for iOS, and a new Nexus 7?
By Jonathan Morris 17 May 2013
Game Name: Mobile News Round-Up | Format: Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Mobile, iPad, Windows Phone
Welcome to the second of our weekly round-ups of news in the mobile industry.

It's the place to keep up to speed on the smaller news stories, updated rumours, special network deals, plus the occasional quirky news story.

There's also a bit of opinion thrown in too from time to time, but it's your thoughts that we value the most, so please get involved in the comments below!




Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition

On paper, the Galaxy S4 is the best smartphone out there, but thanks to Samsung installing so much phone-slowing bloatware, plus strong competition from HTC and Sony, it didn't quite meet our expectations.

But, then Google sprung the announcement of a 'Google Edition' on us at it's annual developer conference, Google I/O, and - to quote Apple - changed everything.



Although only due for a US release for now, and only in a 16GB form, this is great news and means the pressure needs to be put on Samsung and Google to let us get what could be the ultimate Android smartphone.

A Nexus in all but name, the Google Edition will offer prompt OS updates and none of the extra apps that can't be switched off or removed. After a recent TV lambasting on BBC Watchdog for allowing over 6GB of space to be taken up with bloat, this would be heaven.

The Galaxy S4 Google Edition is selling for US$649, which roughly equates to £430. Given a SIM-free 16GB S4 here will set you back nearer £600, please be nice to us Google.




Vodafone's Nokia 520 deal brings Windows Phone 8 to the masses

Nokia's entry-level (but certainly not low-rent) Windows Phone 8 handset is now available from Vodafone for under £100 on Pay as you Go.

The Nokia Lumia 520, available in black or white, will set you back £95.84 and also earn you Freebee Rewardz when you top up, including a chance to enter a daily £1,000 cash prize draw between now and the end of May.

The more you top up, the more times you can enter the draw. Other prizes are also on offer. Alternatively, points can be saved up to put towards discounted upgrades in the future.



Customers will benefit from the free HERE Maps service, with photos and reviews of nearby places and turn-by-turn navigation at no cost, plus Nokia Music that gives free and unlimited music streaming from your favourite artists.

Despite its price, the Lumia 520 is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and has a 4-inch 480x800 pixel display, 5-megapixel camera with HD video recording, and a 1,430mAh battery with up to nine hours talktime.




Phones 4u stocking the Q5

After BlackBerry failed to give much information about the new Q5, it was up to Phones 4u to spill the beans on its own website – which is now open if you fancy registering your interest in this new phone.



Turns out the Q5 hasn't been significantly crippled for its lower price point, with a 5-megapixel camera and flash, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and a 2,100mAh battery.

We already knew the phone had a 3.1-inch screen, but now it's confirmed as having a 720x720 pixel display, coming out at a cool 329 pixels-per-inch.

Hardly the low-spec device we thought it would be earlier in the week, but probably not as cheap either.




New Nexus 7 outed in video?

Besides a stripped-down Samsung Galaxy S4, Google didn't announce any new hardware at Google I/O. Or even news of Android 4.3.

Now it seems the company might be planning a cheeky spoiler ahead of, or even during, Apple's WWDC conference next month.

Meanwhile, some more 'proof' has arrived of an updated Nexus 7, with the appearance of an unknown tablet in a Google+ Hangouts video designed to show off the service that replaces Google Talk.

In the video, for a split second, you can see what appears to be a Nexus 7 with a blue notification light flashing to show a new message received. The current Nexus 7 has no light, so there you have it – cast iron proof. Maybe.


UFO spotting: That's Unidentified Flat Object

It could of course just be artistic licence, but rumours of this and an updated Nexus 4 aren't going away and it's pretty obvious that Google will still have to do something for its next OS update, so keeping us waiting a little longer seems like a good idea.




BBM comes to Android and iOS

Just as BlackBerry announced the Q5, news also came out that the company is now going to be offering BlackBerry Messenger to Android and iOS users.

In theory, this is great for BlackBerry to stave off competition from WhatsApp - but we have to wonder: is it a little too late?

Assuming people have now become pretty good at using on-screen keyboards, it could in fact lead to users that are currently clinging on to their existing BlackBerry for BBM will now be free to jump ship to Apple or Android, without fear of becoming an outcast by losing their BBM friends.

BBM for iOS and Android will support multi-person chats, photo and voicenote sharing, and BBM Group access.

Although getting on to Google's Play store shouldn't be too hard, BlackBerry has pointed out that its iOS app is still subject to approval. Good luck with that.
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