White version of the Galaxy Nexus photographed, headed to Europe ‘in the coming weeks’

It seems with any smartphone announced these days, users are yearning for a white version of the device, and two prime examples are the iPhone and Galaxy S II. Of course, it is not any different when it comes to the newest flagship Ice Cream Sandwich handset out of Google and Samsung, the Galaxy Nexus. Italian publication HD Blog had the chance to photograph the white version of the Galaxy Nexus. As you can see in the gallery below, the back and sides are completely white, while the front keeps the black look. The previous flagship, the Nexus S, follows the same formula.

Specifications for the white version of the Galaxy Nexus will remain the same and still ship in both a 16GB and 32GB version, HD Blog said. The white version will land in Europe (GSM) sometime in the coming weeks. It is not clear if there will also be a white version on Verizon Wireless, but there is always a way to get it in the United States through other channels. Looks good, eh?

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Coby offers new suite of ICS tablets, prices range from $179 to $299

Coby Electronics unveiled its first Android 4.0 tablet at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Well, its first of many Ice Cream Sandwich models anyway, and they each have a first-quarter launch planned.

The tablets creating the most noise include the 7 inch MID7042 for $179, 8 inch MID8042 for $299, 9 inch MID 9042 for $259, 9.7- inch MID9742 for $279, 10 inch MID1042 for $289, and the 10 inch MID1045 for $299.

The upcoming units are certainly less pricey than other Android tablets on the market, but some have questioned the quality of specs available across the lineup. According to a press release, the prototypes at CES 2012 feature 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU, capacitive multi-touch screens, up to 1GB of RAM, expandable memory up to 32GB, Wi-Fi and HDMI 1080p output, and a front-facing camera.

“Overall, Coby has streamlined its features to address the core applications including: browsing the web, playing games, email and viewing one’s favorite media,” announced the Lake Success, N.Y.-based consumer electronics manufacturer.

Showcase videos for a few models are available after the break.

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Microsoft to sign up Pantech in Android licensing agreement

Microsoft is not stopping on its mission to sign patent licensing agreements with just about every Android vendor around from Samsung to Acer, and over 10 others. As of its latest agreement with LG, the company now collects royalties from over 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the United States. According to a deal with HTC inked in May, that figure could be as much as $5 per device sold. Now, Microsoft is apparently in talks with Pantech, South Korea’s third biggest smartphone vendor, for a similar licensing agreement.

Pantech confirmed the discussions to Yonhap News (via The Next Web):

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Android has leapt ahead of iOS, says Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak

UPDATE [Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 7:35am ET]: Steve Wozniak commented on the original article on Facebook, saying he’s been misinterpreted (again). His full comment can be found at the bottom of this article.

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak never shied away from admitting that he uses Android phones on a daily basis —in addition to his iPhone. The famous geek even received the Galaxy Nexus before the rest of the United States (although he likes the Motorola Droid Razr better). Given that Wozniak, a vocal critic of today’s smartphone design, has been misquoted in the past, you may want to take this one with a few pinches of salt. According to reporter Dan Lyons’s story published by The Daily Beast, Woz said Android beats Apple’s iPhone:

My primary phone is the iPhone. I love the beauty of it. But I wish it did all the things my Android does, I really do. [...] If you’re willing to do the work to understand it a little bit, well I hate to say it, but there’s more available in some ways.

The Woz is a long-time friend of Andy Rubin, the head of the Android project and former board member of Danger, Rubin’s previous startup behind the Sidekick smartphone…

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Report: FTC includes social network Google+ in antitrust probe; EPIC urges FTC to watch search changes

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expanding its antitrust probe of Google to include the inspection of social network service Google+, according to Bloomberg.

The publication sourced two people “familiar with the situation,” and cited “competition issues raised by Google+” as the primary aspect of the FTC’s investigation into whether the globally popular search engine gives preference to its own services. The FTC is also inquiring whether such practices violate antitrust laws, according to Bloomberg, who could not identify its sources due to the investigation’s nonpublic status.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company rolled out “Search, Plus Your World” to its search engine Jan. 10 and dubbed the revision a “personal results” feature that displays Google+ photographs, news and comments when user’s conduct Web searches. The Electronic Privacy Information Center promptly called upon the FTC on Jan. 12 to investigate the recent search changes in a letter posted on its website…

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Google ‘mortified’ over client poaching scandal, caught harvesting Mocality database information

The CEO of Mocality, a Kenyan business directory startup, took to the Internet today to vent about Google poaching clients after discovering the search engine accessed his company’s database without permission to obtain sensitive sales lead information.

In the “Google, what were you thinking?” blogpost, Stefan Magdalinski claimed Getting Kenyan Business Online, a Google-backed initiative that offers small businesses free websites for one year, systematically accessed Mocality’s database to leach information. The CEO said the operatives harvested sales lead information to contact Mocality customers and pitch Google’s alternative service.

Magdalinski, after noticing the breach of security, set up a sting operation. He swapped a few clients phone numbers listed in the database with Mocality’s own call center phone numbers, and then waited patiently. Magdalinski said he was able to record calls from Google operatives in both Kenya and India. GKBO said it had a partnership with Mocality during its sales pitches, but as Magdalinski pointed out, no such partnership exists…

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Google tweaks how AdSense renders ad units across platforms

Google’s AdSense team is tweaking the AdSense adverts’ rendering process on desktop and mobile devices, according to a blog post by the AdSense team. As part of the change, the company noted AdSense would automatically optimize how ad units are displayed on computers, tablets and smartphones. The AdSense backend will sense the type of device a website is being viewed from and it will optimize for the given platform. This includes reducing the number of ads per ad slot and increasing the size of the text to make them more legible and noticeable. In addition, an AdSense advert now features a big button that helps a user select it on tiny screens.

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TI debuts first ICS OMAP 5 reference design demo at CES 2012, VP says it’s ‘way ahead of Apple’

Chipmaker Texas Instruments placed its OMAP 4 application processors in many smartphone, tablet and e-reader devices last year, but the company debuted the first reference design demo running its latest OMAP 5 chip and Android 4.0 at CES 2012, and Texas Instruments’ Vice President said it is “way ahead of Apple.”

The device is a chunky reference design, but its responsiveness while swiping through the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system is impressive (as seen in the video below). The demo’s video playback is fluid, and Texas Instruments said the OMAP 5 could push 1080P content at 60 frames per second or more.

Read below for more information.

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Android 4.0.2 begins to roll out to the Galaxy Nexus OTA

Android 4.0.2 began to roll out to the GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus last night in an over-the-air update. For those with the GSM version, you can head into Software Update to receive it. The update weighs in at 8.8MB, and has “important bug fixes.” The Verizon Galaxy Nexus has version 4.0.3, leaving the GSM version with a little catching up to do. Let us know how it goes in the comments below.

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Google adds VMware’s cofounder Diane Greene to its board of directors

Google announced that it added VMware’s Cofounder and former CEO Diane Greene to its board of directors, which becomes effective today. Google’s Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt said, “Diane is a special person who combines a sharp business acumen with a brilliant technical mind. We know she will be a great contributor and we are grateful to have her insight.” Greene will also serve on Google’s Audit Committee.

After founding the company, Greene was the CEO of VMware from 1998 to 2008 until she was fired from the job and replaced on VMware’s board of directors. Greene knows her way around Silicon Valley, having taken part in many companies in the area.

You can read Google’s full statement after the break:

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Google launches new style guide for Android 4.0 with ‘Android Design’ site for developers

Google launched a new website for Android developers called Android Design that it described as the “the place to learn about principles, building blocks, and patterns for creating world-class Android user interfaces.” Starting today, you can visit the website to get Google’s advice on the “Creative Vision,” “Design Principles,” and “UI overview” of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Google also launched the Android Training website last month for more in-depth tips on working with the Android framework.

Director of Android at Google Matias Duarte just sat down with The Verge and explained the new website is part of a style guide for Android developers that will continually be updated.

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Google rolls out improvements to Gmail offline Chrome app

After being introduced in August, Google just announced improvements to its Gmail offline Chrome app. The first improvement, which the Chrome team called their favorite, is the ability to choose whether you want to synchronize 7, 14 or 31 days worth of mail. The second improvement includes attachment support, keyboard shortcuts, and enhancements when it comes to performance. You can download the Gmail offline Chrome application in the Chrome Web Store.

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