Happy New Year! CES is literally days away from us now, and with Alex en-route to Las Vegas as we speak, it falls to me to round up the weeks international Android news. CES leaks and rumors have dominated the headlines as we might expect since we returned from the holiday break, but there's been plenty to talk about since our last international round up.
Firmly away from CES, in the UK no less, we posted our full review this week of Kobo's latest Android tablet, the Arc. We first clapped eyes on it back at IFA 2012 in Berlin, and the short version is this -- if you want the best Android tablet, you buy the Nexus 7. But, the Arc is a perfectly capable tablet, and with a 64GB version out there, somewhere, could meet certain needs.
We also got some more information on a couple of pretty eagerly anticipated accessories from Samsung and Asus respectively. Samsung's OEM Extended Battery Kit for the Galaxy S3 received its first availability date in Germany -- of today no less. The 3000mAh power pack comes with a specially designed replacement battery door that doesn't seem to add much to the overall thickness of the phone. Asus' Nexus 7 dock meanwhile has been dated to arrive some time in mid-January in Europe as well as the U.S on Jan 10.
There were a couple of HTC related pieces that emerged in the UK this week too. Firstly came the SIM-free release of the HTC One SV. The One SV is a mid-range LTE capable device previously seen in other international markets. At £349.99 it becomes one of the more cost-effective ways of getting onto the UK's emerging LTE network, EE, without breaking the bank or signing into a lengthy contract.
O2 UK began pushing out their Android 4.1 update to their HTC One X this week too. The international Jelly Bean update has been around for a few months now, but it's great news that patient O2 customers can finally experience Project Butter and Google Now. The update is rolling out in batches, so not everyone will get it right away, but it's out there.
Staying in the UK, and the arrival of Google Play gift cards edges ever closer. High Street retailer Phones4U is offering a free £20 Google Play gift card with the purchase of any new Samsung smartphone. They may have missed the holiday shopping season, and still be M.I.A. in terms of actually purchasing them, but this latest news is a definite indicator that they can't be far away.
It's also been leak central of late, with five devices comprehensively leaked before their expected CES unveilings, and one specifically bound for China. Better still, we'd expect to see all of them reach international markets. ZTE has has a pair of smartphones leaked, the 5 inch, 1080p Grand S, and the China bound 5.7 inch P945. The tradition of Sony devices being seen pretty much in their entirety ahead of a trade show continues, with the Xperia Z being seen in leaked photos, press renders, and now even some slides from an apparent promo video too. We'll be live from the Sony press conference at CES to bring you it all as it unfolds.
Acer and Huawei also joined the leaky fun, with Acer's budget Jelly Bean tablet, the Iconia B being given the full review treatment by a Bulgarian blog ahead of its expected appearance at CES. The specs wont light the world on fire, but if it launches at the right price point could turn a few heads. Huawei meanwhile has been showing off their massive 6.1 inch smartphone, the Ascend Mate, themselves with an executive no less pulling it out at a Huawei store in China. In addition to the Ascend Mate, we've also seen the 5 inch, 1080p D2 in some leaked photos. Make no mistake, CES is going to have plenty for us to play with.
And, on that note, we bring this weeks international news round up to a close. The next 7 days are all about CES. Be sure to keep it locked to Android Central for all the latest and greatest as it happens. Keep an eye out for our special CES Lloyd logo to help you identify all the breaking news from the show, and keep checking back to our CES landing page. And of course, representatives from all the Mobile Nations sites will be on the ground in Las Vegas, so if it happens, and its mobile, you can bet we'll be there to bring it to you.