Phil Nickinson

​It's been in with the "old" and out with the new for me this week. The Samsung Galaxy S3 review units are going back, and I've put my AT&T SIM back in the HTC One X. It's always a good thing when I pick up a phone after a couple months away and find myself in a familiar place -- and don't want to put the phone down. And that's been the case for me with the One X.

I've had other reason to pick up the One X again -- HTC changed the way it handles the on-screen menu function. Jerry's not crazy about it, but I think it's a decent compromise. I'm probably most in favor of on-screen buttons, like on the Galaxy Nexus or the new Motorola Atrix HD, with HTC's capacitive buttons coming in second. I'm definitely over the physical home button Samsung's still in love with. (And I don't see Sammy killing that off anytime soon.) Oh, and AnandTech got HTC to say that the change in menu options will be rolling out to other Sense-based phones. Makes, erm, sense.

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Also making the rounds the past few days has been talk of an HTC One X+, with a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor. A few thoughts on that:

  1. Argh. We're as guilty of it as anyone, but we all really need to stop using the number of cores as a major descriptor for these platforms. 
  2. Same goes for megahertz. If you can tell the difference 200 MHz makes on a reworked architecture, well, more power to you. But most people can't. It's just more mindless repeating of specs.
  3. NVIDIA's Tegra 3 roadmap has been public for some time now. Coming up is Tegra 3+ (aka "Kai"). That'll be followed by "Wayne" and "Gray," and finally by Tegra 3 with the Icera LTE modem. This is all old (but welcome) news.

So, yeah. New stuff is coming. A lot of it, in fact.

And now, a few other thoughts. ...

Samsung ramping up ...

We're slowly edging our way into the fall release cycle. So far, we're pretty sure we're going to see the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 get some release love on Aug. 15 in New York City. Yeah, we saw the Galaxy Note 10.1 for the first time at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In late February. And I'm willing to bet whatever it is we see in New York next week will be subtly different, either in hardware, or software, or both. There's precedent for such changes, but it still makes us wonder why the hell a device is announced months ahead of release, only be see changes along the way.

Have we (the trade-show-goers) become the new focus groups? Unlikely. But it's still a little odd.

Then there's the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which we should see at IFA in Berlin at the end of this month. What's a Note 2 going to have that the original Note lacks? Good question.

Another question, which our pals at TmoNews asked, is what the impending announcement of the second-generation Galaxy Note will do to sales of the T-Mobile (USA) GNote, which should begin any time now. Only, it's a misguided question.

The original Galaxy Note was announced on Sept. 1, 2011 at IFA. We didn't get it on a U.S. carrier until Feb. 19, 2012 -- more than five months later. It's certainly fair to question the timing of TMOUS releasing the original Galaxy Note nearly a year after it was announced, with a successor on the horizon. Then again, you take what you can get. And while it's possible Samsung will attempt a worldwide launch of the next Galaxy Note like it did with the Galaxy S3, I don't think it's going to happen. We're probably a few months away (at least) from seeing the next Galaxy Note hit the shelves.

Fun fact ...

The indoor volleyball you've been watching at the Olympics is taking place at Earl's Court -- the same venue we were at in May for the Galaxy S3 announcement.

The long slo​g of patent trials ...

So Samsung (and, yes, I'm getting tired of writing about Sammy in this column) and Apple are having their days and days in court over patents. It's important stuff. And interesting stuff. And, yes, ridiculously tedious. And I have absolutely no desire to rewrite someone else's account of it. 

Instead, I recommend you read the stories from folks who are actually in the courtroom. It's still not the same as being there -- the nuance and body language and subtleties of court can be difficult to translate to print -- but it's as good as it's going to get in this case. (And I have a feeling everyone has nailed their descriptions of Judge Koh's displeasure.)

The process is either fascinating or mind-numbinly dull, but this one has some major ramifications. The usual game of blogger telephone should be avoided. (Worse is that I'm seeing third-hand information. Reblogging reblogged stories.) Me? I'm reading All Things D, The Verge and Reuters.

But if you'll allow me this one bit of armchair quarterbacking: Anyone who thought Judge Koh was going to grant Apple an outright win over the release of already-public docs ... well, it was never going to happen.

Google Play links

Android CentralYou might have noticed that we've simplified the way we're linking to apps in the Google Play store. And, frankly, we should have done this a long time ago. Just look for the "Get it from Google Play button. Click it, and you'll be taken directly to the app, either on your phone or in a web browser.

Google Play's made it so easy to install an app, we're getting rid of QR codes. Just click, and install.

TTFN. Catch ya'll this week.