As Phil mentioned in this week's column, the next two weeks in the smartphone world are going to be particularly crazy. We've got events from HTC and Sony next week, and Mobile World Congress starting the following weekend. (And we have a feeling March is going to be even more action-packed.)
So in the run up to these events, there's been plenty of international news to report from all the major manufacturers. Head past the break to find out what's been stirring these past seven days with the rumored HTC "One," Galaxy S4, Optimus G Pro and Sony Xperia Z.
Sony Xperia Z launch nears
It seems like it was just yesterday that we laid eyes on the Xperia Z at CES, but already Sony's 5-incher is nearly ready to hit stores in Europe. In fact some countries are getting an early look at the new Sony flagship. In the UK, demo units have started to appear on Phones4U store shelves from Feb. 15, and Germans will actually be able to buy the device from the Sony Store in Berlin from Feb. 21. Stay tuned to AC in the days ahead, as we'll have lost more coverage as the phone approaches release.
First look at the new HTC One?
The week's biggest story arguably came from HTC -- or, more accurately, via prominent Twitter leaker Evleaks. Often the first with new, unauthorized images of upcoming phones, Evleaks dropped an apparent render of the HTC "One" -- supposedly the marketing name of the phone codenamed "M7" -- on us this week. The first shot, leaked on Monday, claimed to show the white version, while a second leak on Friday appeared to show a black variant. The shots show a relatively minimalist design, along with what seems to be a significantly redesigned version of HTC Sense. We'll have to wait and see whether this matches up with what HTC shows us next Tuesday. In any case, we'll be live from London and New York on Feb. 19 to bring you full coverage.
Fresh Samsung Galaxy S4 rumors from Korea
It was also a week of Galaxy S4 rumors, with some clues about what Samsung might be working on coming from the local press in company's native South Korea. The latest rumors to come from Korean newspaper DDaily suggest that Sammy's next big thing will sport a similar design to the Galaxy S3 -- that's to say curved and nature-inspired -- along with the three-button setup that you may or may not hate with a passion. The newspaper also suggests the S4 could hit stores as early as the end of March, following an announcement event in mid-March. So if these rumors are to be believed, we could be seeing a refreshed high-end offering from Samsung sooner rather than later.
LG unmasks Optimus L II series and a 5.5-inch Optimus G Pro
Finally, LG went and pre-empted some of its Mobile World Congress announcements this week, blowing the lid on the Optimus L3 II, L5 II and L7 II, as well as the Korean version of the Optimus G Pro. The L-series phones offer modest spec upgrades over their 2012 counterparts, while the new Optimus G Pro gets some minor upgrades over the Japanese variant. The biggest of these, both literally and figuratively, is the larger screen -- the Korean version packs a 5.5-inch 1080p panel, up from 5 inches on the Japanese model. We don't yet know whether the Optimus G Pro will venture outside of Asia, but with high-end specs coupled with a massive display, we suspect there'll be plenty of interest if it does.
That's it for this week's round-up -- keep watching AC in the week ahead for full coverage of HTC's new hotness and the start of MWC! If you've got news, tip us at the usual address.