This past week was pretty eventful as there were a few rumors and launches taking place. Sure, it wasn’t as fruitful as the CES week or any other major event week, but we certainly got to see some fancy new devices. To begin with, Sony unveiled its fancy new tablet the Xperia Tablet Z which we spoke about a few days prior to the device’s launch. I guess it’s one of those cases where the device is leaked right before its official announcement. Regardless, it was good to have this launch which seems like it’s limited to Japan for now on NTT DoCoMo, but we should see Sony shed more light on its availability by next month at the MWC event. Now let’s move on to other big stories of the week.
HTC M7 Render Leaked
Right at the start of the week, we were treated to what appeared to be a render of the upcoming HTC flagship which is known in the rumor mill as the M7. Some were very quick to judge and claim that the device is merely a fan made render of the smartphone, as the render wasn’t coming from HTC. While this is true for the most part, we can’t think of a reason why HTC wouldn’t want to go with the same design shown here. But as with any rumors, there are doubts and we have taken this with a grain of salt until we have something more substantial coming from HTC. The design here looks very similar to the HTC 8X, which can partly explain the suspicion. But HTC is always known to make its devices look similar, so we can’t rule this out entirely. Further, we saw some images of the Sense 5.0 user interface leaked out in the following days. This UI is believed to be running on the next HTC flagship. You can find those images in the gallery below. It is being said that HTC will unveil the smartphone in London on the 19th of February and not during the MWC in Barcelona later that month. This could be a ploy to garner more attention from its flagship, much like how Samsung handles its smartphones.
LG Optimus G Wider Global Rollout:
The next major story of the week was with regards to the best LG smartphone on the market right now. Yes, we’re talking about the ever so popular Optimus G. The smartphone was finally made available in global markets (50 countries in total), although LG didn’t give out the specifics. It goes without saying that countries of Europe and Asia will be the regions to get it now after the smartphone’s partially exclusive availability since its launch in fall 2012. The bonus for these new countries is that the Optimus G will come packed with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, while everywhere else it’s still running on Android 4.0.4. That being said, it shouldn’t be long until LG makes the update available for the existing users of the Optimus G. While this is fairly good news for fans of the smartphone, they will be stuck in a dilemma when smartphones like the Sony Xperia Z, the upcoming HTC flagship and LG’s own 1080p droid arrives in the coming months. So the timing might be a little off by LG.
Samsung’s Roadmap for the First Half of 2013:
Samsung is never too worried about keeping its devices under wraps, as evidenced by the tons of leaks we see every day. This one too was one of them, as it was coming straight from Samsung. Luckily for us, a few of these devices were confirmed in the days after we reported on this. Strangely, this roadmap for the first half of 2013 didn’t reveal the existence of the Galaxy S III successor, which we believe is deliberate as Samsung wants to maintain the mystery until the very last minute with regards to the next flagship. As for this roadmap, it made some pretty explosive revelations. For starters, we heard of mid ranged and low end handsets like the Galaxy Pocket Plus, and the Galaxy Young. Then there was the Galaxy Xcover 2 which is the successor to the original Galaxy Xcover – an IP67 certified smartphone with water and dust resistance. But the big revelation was the Galaxy Note 8, which was said to be an 8-inch Note device with HSPA+ and S-Pen capabilities as expected. Almost three of these were confirmed in the following days in a very convincing manner.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Poses for the Camera:
As we said above, some devices from Samsung’s first half 2013 roadmap were confirmed. This one however was a biggie, as it could well be the next big thing in the tablet industry. The Galaxy Note 8 was spotted in action by a sneaky camera apparently, and its existence was instantly confirmed. The reveal also told us that this tablet will come with the capabilities of a smartphone, as evidenced by the front speaker grille on the top half of the smartphone clearly visible in few of the images. The images also revealed what seemed like a slot for S-Pen on the bottom right of the device along with a rear camera without flash. All in all, the device seems like a good way to lure in potential buyers, and since it packs all the standard bells and whistles of a Note device, we should expect this to sell well. It is believed that Samsung will formally unveil the device at the MWC event next month along with the rest of its lineup for the first half of 2013.
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 Unveiled Rather Quietly:
Samsung officially announced the arrival of the Galaxy Xcover 2 in its presser on Friday. This was one of the smartphones mentioned in Samsung’s leaked 1H 2013 roadmap. The Xcover 2 strangely was the only device from the roadmap that was officially announced by Samsung, even though we saw the Galaxy Note 8 leak in all its glory. The Galaxy Xcover 2 is the successor to the widely popular nature proof phone the Galaxy Xcover. This one too comes with IP67 certification being water and dust resistant, meaning you can have a shower with it and it will still work like a charm. From a roughly technical perspective, the Galaxy Xcover 2 can last up to 30 minutes when submerged in water (up to 1 meter). It also packs a 4-inch WVGA display (480×800), 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a dual core 1 GHz processor and a 5MP camera on the back with a VGA front facing camera as well. The smartphone comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, which is great. Powering the whole thing is a 1,700 mAh battery pack. Sadly no word was given on the availability and the price of the smartphone which we believe is reserved for the MWC 2013 event. So we’ll have more info then.
These were the top five Android stories that caught our attention last week. Sure there were plenty others, but it’s hard to mention them all here. If you thought we missed out on something, make sure you let us know in the comments box below. The links for these stories have been listed below.