We've hit the ground running after CES, with a wealth of Android news from around the world. And although that show gave us plenty of new devices to prepare for, the focus of much of this week's news was rumored devices expected to emerge in the months ahead. (Our money's on most of these being unveiled at Mobile World Congress in late February, by the way.)
Let's start by breaking down some of the rumored devices, then we'll get to some of the other international stories to break this week...
Sony Xperia Tablet Z, Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, LG Optimus G Pro, HTC 'M7'
First up came the news that Sony could be about to launch a re-vamped 10-inch Android tablet in the week ahead. Reports from Japan suggested that local carrier NTT Docomo hold an event where we'd see the "Sony Xperia Tablet Z." Rumored specs include a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a 1920x1200 display, 2GB of RAM and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. That'd make for a sizeable upgrade over the previous Tablet S, a Tegra 3-based slate that shipped with ICS.
There were Samsung tablet rumors afoot this week too, with sources for SamMobile claiming to have unearthed evidence of an 8-inch Galaxy Note tablet, aptly dubbed the Galaxy Note 8.0. According to the reports, we're looking at Galaxy Note 2 internals -- a 1.6GHz Exynos 4 Quad CPU, 2GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of storage -- inside an 8-inch tablet chassis. Interestingly, the site also says the Note 8.0 will ship with Android 4.2, which would make it one of the first non-Nexus tabs to run the latest version of the OS.
But that wasn't the end of the device rumors, as Samsung's local rival LG looks to be preparing a re-vamped version of the Optimus G. The so-called "Optimus G Pro" cropped up in a spec list on a Japanese blog, and in a promotional image leaked to Engadget. Spec-wise, we might expect a 5-inch, 1080p screen, a faster 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, a 13MP camera and a whopping 3000mAh battery. Oh, and the G Pro will supposedly be the first non-Nexus LG phone to run Jelly Bean out of the box.
But we're still not done with rumored devices, as an alleged image of HTC's upcoming "M7" flagship emerged via @evleaks and UnwiredView. Supposedly part of a support animation shown when the device first powers on, this one is a little less clear-cut. It's designed to shown new users how to install a SIM card, not to show off the design to the press. That means that although it's a legitimate leak, we suspect the final design of HTC's new baby will look a little different to what we see here.
LG ramps up Nexus 4 production, looks to release Optimus G in Europe this March
LG Mobile France director Cathy Robin revealed some interesting details of what's going on behind the scenes at the Korean manufacturer in an interview with French publication Challenges.fr. Firstly, she was quick to rubbish rumors that LG was cutting back on Nexus 4 manufacturing, saying that production was actually ramping up, and predicting a fresh influx of stock by mid-February. On Nexus 4 Play Store shortages, Robin says these were down to initial sales estimates by Google -- based on earlier Nexus phone sales -- being well below the actual demand for the phone. Elsewhere in the interview, Robin reveals that the Optimus G should be hitting European store shelves this March.
EE launches the HTC One SV, kills off some retail locations
The HTC One SV might not be the most well-known device in HTC's line-up, but if Jerry Hildenbrand's impressions of the U.S. version are anything to go by, it's one of the best-built HTC devices of the past year, and a worthy mid-range LTE offering. The device launched this week on British 4G operator EE, and is available for free on all of EE's (still expensive) price plans. In other EE news, the carrier swung the ax at 78 of its retail locations, saying the move would affect locations with two or more EE stores in close proximity. This comes after T-Mobile and Orange stores were re-badged with EE branding late last year, leaving many British towns and cities with multiple EE stores within a few yards.
Google's new £1bn UK headquarters
Finally, Google is to move its UK operations into a new London headquarters as part of a £1 billion ($1.6 billion) deal that'll see the company occupying a 2.4 acre plot of land. Construction on the new site, located next to Kings Cross railway station, is scheduled to begin by the end of this year, with staff moving in sometime in 2015.
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