Hardware Round-up: Samsung's new Android camera, LG to drop Optimus name, and Nvidia's Shield becomes a home console

Keep your finger on the pulse

Hardware Round-up: Samsung's new Android camera, LG to drop Optimus name, and Nvidia's Shield becomes a home console

Welcome to another round-up of the latest news in the mobile industry.

Reading this article is the best way to keep up to speed on the latest handset-related rumours, special network deals, and Apple speculation.

With E3 and WWDC taking place this week, it's been relatively quiet in the mobile world.

Well, bar Apple's reasonably newsworthy iOS 7 unveiling, of course. Oh, and Samsung announcing yet another phone. Not THAT quiet, then, really.

This is the news...

Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom: phone or camera?

Earlier this week, Samsung finally confirmed its second Galaxy camera / phone hybrid, the Android-powered S4 Zoom. With a 10x protruding zoom, it's essentially a camera first and a blower second.

But is that such a bad thing?

With its 16-megapixel sensor, Xenon flash, optical image stabiliser, and clever rotating Zoom Ring, the Galaxy S4 Zoom has suddenly become the smartphone of choice for budding photographers.

When flipped over, the Galaxy S4 Zoom looks much like any other Galaxy smartphone. And with a 4.3-inch screen, dual-core processor, and the latest version of Android Jelly Bean on board, the Galaxy S4 Zoom isn't underpowered by any means.

Samsung plans to release the Galaxy S4 Zoom later in the summer, with Phones 4u already taking pre-orders.

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LG to drop Optimus name. Will anybody notice?

Thanks to some impeccable modern-day marketing by Samsung, the word 'Galaxy' is pretty much synonymous nowadays with 'Android superphone'.

The same probably can't be said about LG's attempts at turning 'Optimus' into a household name.

Much to the annoyance of journalists who regularly use LG's smartphone brand name to slip in a Transformers pun (this being a Prime example), the South Korean multinational electronics giant is planning to ditch the Optimus moniker in regards to its high-end devices.

That means LG will now have to go away and think of a new name for its next line of flagship devices.

Might we suggest 'Universe'? You know, as a way to one-up Samsung.

Big-screen gaming on Nvidia's Shield made possible with some new accessories

Nvidia's recently renamed Android-powered gaming console Shield may not even be available yet, but California-based Nyko Technologies has already announced a bunch of accessories for it.

If Shield is going to be taken seriously as a hardcore gaming device, it needs some travel protection.

Luckily, Nyko has it covered (literally). Yep, the firm has unveiled some soft and hard cases for Nvidia's forthcoming micro-console.

Although Shield is designed to be a portable gaming device first and foremost, Nvidia has been wise enough to include an HDMI output on it.

Guess what? Nyko has taken full advantage of this, too, with two additional accessories.

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Via Nyko's Shield dock, you can both charge and connect Shield to any HD TV.

Furthermore, the peripherals firm's new Playpad Media wireless controller enables you to carry on playing while Shield gets a break from your sweaty mitts.

Nyko hasn't revealed the prices and availability for all of its Shield accessories yet.

As always, though, we'll let you know as soon as Nyko lets us know.

Jonathan Morris
Jonathan Morris
From starting out as a games tester for Mastertronic, Virgin and Sega in the late 1980s, it may seem odd to then ditch everything to write about mobile phones that, at the time, lasted 20 minutes between charges. He always had a hunch mobiles would become quite popular, but possibly didn't realise how powerful (and, ironically, returning to 20 minutes between charges). Jonathan's job is to continue advising on the best hardware to buy, in order to enjoy games that have advanced considerably since those long days and nights testing Double Dragon on the C64.