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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.

 

Reader comments

International roundup: HTC One and Galaxy S4 rumors, new LG phones and an early Xperia Z launch

29 Comments

All these new phones look great. But nobody ever mentions battery specs. I'm sure the "M7" is a beast. But I wouldn't touch the thing if it has one of HTC's notorious 1800mAh batteries. Same goes for other manufacturers. With the bump in hardware and to be able to use gps and Google now comfortably. These companies should be looking for new battery technology. If not, every new phone should put something in their phone that the Razr Maxx's have. Btw where are those googarola phones @ anyway...

the M7 HTC "New" One has an identical case that looks just like the iphone, WTF??!!
Seriously, they are branding their phones to copy the iphone, no thanks.

The Optimus G Pro, $900 phone, why are phones still more expensive than Tablets?

I'm betting after the wind dies down of all these new devices that most people are going to want the Motorola X phone, also rumors are out that it will be called the Nexus X that will share the Nexus name but not the branding, plus Google says it will be a "game changer" with new innovation that no other companies have.

Now that Google has their own platform, they can implement new ideas that they can make money off of instead of giving it away for free with Android. So now they can benefit from their ideas with Motorola and also create innovation with their android partners too. Plus Motorola was the First cell phone company making the first cell calls, who knows what 75+ years of patents and ideas Motorola has, maybe just been waiting for technology to catch up.

How does the HTC have an identical case like the iPhone....??? If they're identical, then I guess all phones look the same to u lol.

I 2x agree with your comment about better battery technology. I don't think bigger batteries are the answer, though; that solution seems to be a stop-gap measure at the moment. The technology has to be more refined to cope with increased demand from the software, radios, applications, and ultimately the end-user.

I absolutely agree with Masheen on this. I love all the new technology, but it's worthless without a better battery. Every new smartphone packed with a sh*tload of technology goodness should have at least a 3.000 mah battery or something better (different technology or more capacity with less space/weight).

That should be a real focus point of the manufacturers...Motorola did indeed do something special with their RAZR Maxx (HD).

let's hope they have expandable memory or nobody will be getting my money. I'm looking forward to Qualcomm/ HTC's new 600/800 chips but not at the expense of storage. Id get a sgs4 if I had to, but not first choice. Samsung's software is never as good, and the octo core is no big deal. it's not an octo core anyways, it's 2 separate quads that won't be on at the same time.

So am I. My original EVO is showing its age since there's some apps that require ICS or JB. I know I can flash to an ICS/JB ROM, but I need features missing on those. If even half of the rumors are true about the X phone, I'm sold!

The words that stood out to me is the Sony handset being available in Europe soon. Sony will never, ever gain any ground on Samsung or any other vender so long as they continue to snub the U.S. market.

S4 for me, considering a switch to T-Mobile from Verizon to shave a few bucks off my budget.

Most phones do not launch in the US as it is an unhealthy phone market. Where Europe and Asia are very healthy.

I hope Samsung stick with off-screen buttons. Having moved to a Nexus 4 I'm finding on-screen buttons a pain - always there, always in the way, pretty ugly, too easy to hit playing games. Really think Sammy got this one right.

I'm really liking the LG Optimus G Pro, great specs, battery size, full HD screen and 32GB onboard storage + microSD card slot. Could be a great upgrade from my Samsung Galaxy Note, only concern is LG won't provide more than only one software update...

Love the competition these companies are having but my next phone gotta be long lasting battery awesome screen memory card slot period missing one the phone will never be in my pocket

This is exactly why I favor Samsung over HTC, Samsung listens to the market, HTC doesn't. I'm talking about user-accessible/expandable batteries & memory cards.
Samsung said this in an article on BGR:

“We get most of our ideas from the
market,” Samsung EVP Kim Hyun-suk
told Chen in an interview. “The market
is a driver, so we don’t intend to drive
the market in a certain direction.”

http://bgr.com/2013/02/11/samsung-apple-rivalry-analysis-nyt-324592/

I'd (along with many) prefer a lager built in barrery, a la Motorola. If I could get the razr maxx battery with the new sony or htc cameras, i'd be sold everytime.

Storage, as long as the internal is 32gb or higher, I'm ok.

If only we could CTO phones like computers. *sigh*

The Xperia Z is supposed to have a 2300chance mAh nater, waterproof, and a sd card slot. There's a few minutes ideas of people testing the waterproof and you could more or less go swimming with it.

OK,

People, battery life is not an issue on many devices that people complain about batteries on. First off, I have had a GSIII, Note 2, HTC EVO 4G LTE, Droid DNA, HTC Thunderbolt, HTC Inspire and Galaxy Nexus. None of them had bad battery life. Sorry, if you are going to use the phone like a laptop and constantly on it 24/7 then your battery is going to seem terrible. All of these devices have lasted my 18-24 hours or longer with moderate use. I don't know what the problem is, if the phone is used to play games, text, constantly text, surf the net, play videos, stream music, etc then it is not the batteries fault. Just my rant.

WRONG! What people use their phones for has changed... and battery tech needs to change along with it. Phones should at least be able to get you thru a day with heavy usage before you can accept it as being "really good".

Sorry dude...I get your point but I'm still gonna have to say its still a phone...not a laptop or tablet.

You Right,, we can do almost everything we do on a tablet,,,on Cell phones so we should expect "A Super Awesome Battery Lol

You Right,, we can do almost everything we do on a tablet,,,on Cell phones so we should expect "A Super Awesome Battery Lol

I effin hate my S3 and cant wait to see what HTC drops tommorow. and if it even comes close to being what i need from HTC, then im sold...my contract is up next moth and that will determine what iget, i refuse to goto LG always have, and ever since my first Samsung phone on Verizon, i refused to go back, at least until Sprint forced this S3 on me. GO HTC...

Thats a shame. I dont think I've met anyone yet who hates their S3. I wouldnt write off LG so quickly. Yeah their product support has been terrible in the past but they publicly acknowledged this and said the will focus more on offering updates to thier products. Not to mention the OG is a beautiful and blazing fast phone (I own one) and LG has already started rolling JB out for Korean users. Shouldnt be too long before we get it.

Same Design "cheap" Again plastic "cheap" bomb price for plastic

disappointment !

The Camera software is a lame version of Htc zoe

IR Remote also sounds familiar from the Htc one

Htc is the One for me,