We're two weeks out from Mobile World Congress, and just over a week away from learning what HTC's been cooking up for its 2013 flagship device. That means there's plenty of international Android news to talk about this week, as we await the arrival of new devices from some of the biggest manufacturers around.
Starting with HTC, we've heard a couple of interesting rumors doing the rounds this week surrounding the company's upcoming "M7" flagship phone. Earlier in the week UK blog Pocket-Lint claimed to have details of new image sensor technology at work in the phone's camera. If the reports are to be believed, HTC's next big thing will pack a new 4.3-"ultrapixel" setup that uses a multi-layer image sensor, with one layer for each primary color. Supposedly this new tech will produce more accurate colors and superior fine detail, though as with any new camera tech, we'll have to wait to get our hands on it before we know for sure. (In the meantime, HTC's teasing a "new sound and camera experience" this year, so it sounds like there may be something to these rumors.)
Days later we had the first indication of what the "M7" might actually be called when it arrives on store shelves. This Friday the usually reliable @evleaks tweeted that HTC would bring the M7 to market as simply "HTC One." No letters, no punctuation, just HTC One. As we pointed out at the time, using the HTC One brand would keep things simple, while ensuring that HTC doesn't waste the "HTC One" brand awareness that it built in 2012. Again, we'll have to wait and see what HTC shows us on Feb. 19.
HTC's next major handset may remain a bit of a mystery, but the same can't be said for LG. The Korean firm's upcoming high-end offering, the Optimus G Pro, is already available in Japan, and now it appears it may be heading to the company's home market with a tweaked spec sheet. Leaked images obtained by PhoneArena in recent days seem to show an Optimus G Pro running on the LG U+ network with some new hardware onboard. Specifically, the Korean version seems to be getting bumped up to a 5.5-inch 1080p display (up from 5.0 inches), along with a slightly larger 3140mAh battery (up from 3000mAh). The Korean model is also said to support up to 64GB of microSD storage.
We'll likely see more of the LG Optimus G Pro at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month.
In carrier developments, there was good news for Three UK customers this past week, as the operator announced it won't be charging a premium for 4G LTE services when they're rolled out later in the year. EE, the country's largest carrier, has so far been the only network to launch LTE in the UK, but it's been criticized for its high prices and limited data allowances. Three has assured customers that they'll get the LTE upgrade as standard on all existing plans, which start as low as £12 per month for a SIM-only package with unlimited data. That might just give prospective EE switchers pause in the months ahead.
And finally, if you're looking for a last-minute Valentine's present in Taiwan, then Samsung's got you covered. Just like the Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note before it, the Galaxy Note 2 has arrived in pink just in time for the 14th. The pink plastic slab comes with a silver trim and matching pink S-Pen, (All that's missing is a Hello Kitty TPU case.)
We're just about to launch right into another smartphone (and tablet) silly season, so stick with Android Central in the run up to MWC for awesome coverage of awesome devices. If you've got international news, you can tip us at the usual address.