A word on the latter, even though it's not Android: There's been a lot of media speculation about how the iPad mini is going to affect the Android tablets currently on the market, some of it my own. Briefly, my take is that it's tough to say for certain how Android tablet sales will react, since there are a host of factors at play. Yes, it'll sell a gazillion units within the first 10 seconds of retail availability, because it's Apple, but it's also considerably more expensive than the top Android 7-inchers and doesn't really have a differentiating factor other than the aforementioned "because it's Apple."
Apple gained its reputation - which it more or less deserves - because it continually made products that were simply better than the competition for a long time, justifying the premium prices. Given that neither the iPhone 5 nor the iPad mini are anything like revolutionary products in their respective markets, it's reasonable to wonder how much longer "because it's Apple" will be enough to move devices on its own.
So yes, the Android world hasn't made a lot of show-stopping headlines of late. It'll be a different story next week, however, with Monday's big honking Android announcement that everyone already seems to know everything about.
However, if you haven't heard, it's more or less generally agreed that Google's going to roll out the LG Nexus 4 smartphone, which will be based heavily on that company's impressive Optimus G. What's more, it'll run Android 4.2, though this is thought to be a smaller update that will maintain the Jelly Bean designation. Not everyone, however, agrees. (Sources also differ on the potential release of a new Motorola Razr Nexus device.)
HTC's supposedly getting ready to bring its Butterfly J smartphone - which boasts Jelly Bean out of the box and show-stopping hardware - to the U.S. as a Verizon exclusive called the HTC DLX, according to Android Central.
This seems like a distinct possibility, though I have to raise what regular readers will recognize as my two standard quibbles with HTC - there's never any rhyme or reason to their naming convention and why, oh why do they never make these great-looking phones available on more than a single carrier?
Rumors also have Sony getting ready to release the Xperia C650X Odin at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January, though little is known for sure about the design. If, as GSMArena suggests, it does have a 5-inch display with almost no bezel, it could be a real step forward for Android flagships, which have been getting increasingly outsized of late. Being able to pack an enormous display into even a marginally smaller package might be an important differentiator.
It also looks increasingly likely that Google will release a full-size Samsung Nexus 10 tablet - hard on the heels of an impressive refresh of the regular iPad, no less. Pictures posted on a Korean website seem to show a user's manual for the Nexus 10, which is rumored to outdo even the iPad's Retina display in terms of screen resolution.
It also seems fairly certain that new versions of the Nexus 7 - featuring options for 3G data and 32GB of storage - will be released at Monday's event. It's also possible that Google will show off a super-cheap $99 Nexus tablet of some sort.
Beyond that, reports differ - there will be a host of new Nexus phones, Android 4.2 will actually be called Key Lime Pie instead of being folded into Jelly Bean, etc. etc. Who knows - Sergey Brin might have a troupe of guys skydive and mountain bike to the stage again.
Bendable screens? They could be coming with the Samsung Galaxy S4, which Android Geeks reports is rumored to be on the way next year. Possible specs could include a 2GHz Cortex A15 processor, 32GB of storage, and 2GB of RAM, according to the report.
Samsung's flexible screens were first seen at CES 2011, but have not yet made it into the hands of consumers. However, a recent leak from Korean news site ETNews puts the deployment date of the technology in 2013 - similar to that of the purported Galaxy S4. Fascinating, though all of this is far from being confirmed.
Also, nobody seems to like the fact that Verizon stuck its logo on the home button for the Galaxy Note II. Can't imagine why.
Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.
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