What a week we’ve got ahead of us. In the next seven days we’ll have seen the HTC One launch in Europe, and the unveiling of the Galaxy S4 at Samsung’s big event in New York City. But before we launch ourselves right into yet another smartphone silly season, there’s just enough time to look back over the past week’s international news.
And there’s been a lot to talk about. Retailers and carriers in Europe are preparing for the launch of the HTC One. We got what looks like our first legitimate screenshot leak from the AT&T Galaxy S4. And we gave you our first impressions of the Sony Xperia Z, including a camera comparison with Sony’s earlier flagship. Check out this week's international roundup after the break.
Samsung Galaxy S4 leakage
Samsung’s wall of secrecy around the Galaxy S4 hasn’t quite broken down just yet. But this week GSM Israel posted screenshots from a “very reliable source” claiming to be from the AT&T Galaxy S4. The shots show a slightly tweaked TouchWiz UI, though nothing a million miles away from what Samsung established last year on the Galaxy S3. Notable changes include freshened-up icons, a transparent notification bar on the home screen and a redesigned settings area, including references to new features like “smart scrolling,” which was also rumored this week.
The New York Times claimed that the Galaxy S4 would feature the option to have the phone automatically scroll by tracking users’ eye movement. So, for example, when you reach the bottom of a page, the phone would automatically scroll to reveal the next few paragraphs. The emergence of screenshots showing a similar option would seem to back up the Times’ claims.
Whatever Samsung unveils next Thursday, we’ll have a crack team of Mobile Nations editors on the ground to bring you the very best coverage of the big launch.
HTC One launch prep
The HTC One is almost upon us -- in Europe, at least -- and the carriers are getting ready for one of the year’s biggest launches. In the UK, EE is offering the chance to win Champions League final tickets with each HTC One pre-order. As the UK’s only 4G LTE provider, EE’s prices remain sky high. But if you’re already on-board with the idea of an HTC One from the carrier, the chance to win tickets to the final should sweeten the deal.
Over in Canada, Rogers also put the HTC One up for pre-order, saying it’ll cost C$149.99 with a three-year contract. Order before Mar. 22 and Rogers will also enter you into a prize draw to win a Sharp HDTV and HTC Media Link accessory.
And if you're after a taste of HTC One on your current device, you can now pick up a pack of leaked wallpapers from the upcoming phone.
Keep watching the site over the next few days -- we’ll have much more HTC One content for you very soon.
We get stuck into the Sony Xperia Z
Sony was first with its 2013 flagship this year, and the Xperia Z looks to be the best Sony handset in a couple of years. With glass-backed design, a 5-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel Exmor RS "stacked sensor" camera and a UI that’s not too far off vanilla Jelly Bean, the Z has impressed us over the past few days.
We’ve already published our initial review, which gives our first impressions of the handset. And we’ve also got a gallery of sample images from that 13-megapixel rear shooter, which is among the best we’ve tested. That feature’s also got some side-by-side comparison shots with the Xperia T, which used Sony’s last-gen Exmor R tech.
Look for more Xperia Z goodness in our full review in the next couple of days.
Google Play gift cards finally hit the UK
The cards are available in £10, £25 and £50 denominations from Tesco and Morrisons, and just like their U.S. counterparts, they can be used for apps, movies, music, books and magazines, but not hardware.
Google has a long way to go before its cards will be anywhere near as widespread as Apple’s iTunes gift cards. But it’s put up a search utility to allow Brits to track down stores near them that are stocking the cards.
LG's Optimus G Pro gets mini-reviewed
We brought you our first hands-on impressions of the Optimus G Pro at Mobile World Congress, along with a demo of the Photosphere-like VR Panorama feature. This week we bring you our mini-review of the Korean version of the phone. The verdict? It takes more than a little inspiration from Samsung's Galaxy Note 2, but there's a lot to like about the G Pro in its own right, including speedy software, a capable rear camera and a super-sharp 1080p display. Check out the review for more.
That’s it for this week’s international roundup. If you’ve got news, be sure to tip us at the usual address. And make sure you stick with AC over the next week for the tidal wave of awesome content that’ll be making its way onto the site.