Samsung and AT&T to announce US Galaxy Note at CES 2012

Reports flew yesterday that Samsung’s 5.3-inch Galaxy Note would make its United States debut sometime in early 2012. The rumors came from accessory maker Anymode who sent out the CES Media Alert below confirming the device would be “available in the United States in early 2012 through AT&T.” While Anymode later retracted its statement, we have heard separately that Samsung and AT&T will officially announce the U.S. Galaxy Note at CES 2012 set to kick off Jan. 10.

Anymode provided the following retraction since issuing the media alert  (via Engadget):

Anymode Introduces First Accessories for Samsung Galaxy Note” contained inaccurate information pertaining to AT&T and the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note. The information was not provided by Anymode, AT&T or Samsung , nor did Anymode, AT&T or Samsung approve it. The issuing party apologizes for the publishing of the inaccurate information and any inconvenience it may have caused.

Samsung recently announced it shipped over 1 million Galaxy Notes worldwide since the device first launched abroad in November. 9to5Google will be bringing you live updates from the floor at CES 2012 Jan. 10 to Jan. 13 in Las Vegas.

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LG now onboard to develop Google TV, Sony and Vizio will demo new hardware at CES

Did you think Google TV was only going to be in-style for 2011? That is not the case. Google outlined some of its plans for this year’s CES, where it will show off the next Google TVs to come out this year. Most notably, Google announced that LG would be added as a hardware partner. In LG’s press release (available after the break), the company said it would use the new Cinema 3D FPR technology, along with the new Magic Remote QWERTY in its Google TV lineup.

LG Google TV’s most attractive feature is its ease of use, thanks to the combination of its Android-based user interface and the Magic Remote Qwerty designed by LG. LG Google TV’s user interface and main screen have been designed for convenient browsing and content selection. Multi-tasking is also possible, as the search, social networking and TV functions can be run simultaneously. The user interface can be accessed using the Magic Remote Qwerty which combines the user-friendly benefits of LG’s Magic Remote with a QWERTY keyboard.

Equipped with LG’s own CINEMA 3D technology, LG Google TV provides a home entertainment experience that is immersive, comfortable and convenient. Based on LG’s own Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) technology, CINEMA 3D glasses are battery-free and lightweight.

Google also said that along with LG, both Sony and Vizio would demonstrate new hardware at CES. We are looking forward to next week, where we will be live on the show floor. Stay tuned! (via Engadget)

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Sprint ad for the Galaxy Nexus appears, boasts LTE, 1.5GHz processor; launch coming soon?

An advertisement for the Galaxy Nexus popped up on Cnet (via Engadget) showing off the Galaxy Nexus, which was rumored to launch on Sprint for months. The ad shows off the Galaxy Nexus as having LTE, which Sprint debuted today. The ad also revealed that the Sprint version would boast a 1.5 GHz processor, rather than the 1.2 GHz processor that the HSPA+ version currently sports. Sprint will be holding a press event at CES Monday, Jan. 9.

A listing for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus appeared on Ebay yesterday. We posted it, but quickly retracted it —thinking that it was most likely a mistake. With today’s developments, however, that listing could have certainly held some truth.

We will probably hear more official news from Sprint next week.

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Google drops Chrome Beta release with pre-rendered pages and security enhancements

Google announced on the Chrome Blog today that the latest Chrome Beta release rolled out with a number of new improvements to speed and security. When it comes to speed, the beta release of Chrome will now pre-render pages you visit most often. When typing a URL into the omnibox, URLs that auto-complete will now also start loading before you hit enter.

To get you where you want to go even faster, Chrome will now start loading some web pages in the background, even before you’ve finished typing the URL in the omnibox. If the URL auto-completes to a site you’re very likely to visit, Chrome will begin to prerender the page. Prerendering reduces the time between when you hit Enter and when you see your fully-loaded web page–in some cases, the web page appears instantly.

The release also includes a number of security improvements including updates to Chrome’s Safe Browsing feature that allows executable files, including “.exe” and “.msi”, files to be scanned after downloading. If the file is found to be malicious, Chrome will warn the user to delete it. Google further explained the matter below:

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Samsung announces white Samsung Galaxy S II, available Jan. 8 for $199

After waiting for months, Sprint customers were finally graced with the white Galaxy S II. Samsung announced the news in a press release today (available after the break), and said the device will be available online and in-stores Jan. 8. The white variant will be priced the same as the black for $199 on a two-year contract. Man, she is gorgeous…

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Motorola announces two new devices, both cheaper and feature MotoSwitchUI

Prior to the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show starting next week, Motorola announced two new devices: the Motoluxe and Defy Mini. Both of these devices will see some action at CES (we will try to get a hands-on), and they will see a summer launch in Europe, Latin America, and China. While these devices are not comparable to a Droid Bionic when it comes to specifications, they are definitely pretty solid. The Motoluxe features a 4-inch touchscreen, 8-megapixel rear-camera, VGA front-camera, Android 2.3 with MotoSwitch, and a 1400 mAh battery for up to 6.5 hours of talk time and 19 days of standby time.

On the other hand, the Defy Mini is both water and dust proof, and Motorola dubs it “life proof”. Specifications for the device include a 3.2-inch Gorilla Glass display, 3-megapixel rear-camera, VGA front-camera, Android 2.3 w/MotoSwitch, and a slightly larger 1650 mAh battery for up to 10 hours of talk time and 21 days of standby time.

So, what is the MotoSwitch you are hearing about? It is Motorola’s revamped MotoBlur that is preloaded as an overlay on top of Android. It provides social media widgets and more, whether you like it or not. (via Android and Me)

Check out the full press release after the break:

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Acer’s 10-inch Iconia Tab A200 hits US Jan. 15 for $329.99, ICS upgrade due February

Acer America announced Jan. 5 that it would launch the 10.1-inch budget-friendly Iconia Tab A200, equipped with Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system, in the United States for $329.99.

The titanium-gray A200 weighs 1.5 pounds, but the hefty tablet comes with a high-definition multitouch display at 1280-by-800 resolution. Nvidia’s Tegra 2 dual-core mobile processor and GeForce GPU power  the device that features Acer’s Ring interface. With such a large screen, touted processing power and graphics processor, Acer is calling it an ideal gaming tablet.

“Made especially for multimedia enjoyment, the A200 packs hardware and apps for loads of fun,” said Acer in the announcing press release. “The Iconia Tab A200’s fast gaming experience is also supported by a six-axis motion sensing gyroscope, essential for high-precision gaming so actions and animations are more correctly performed.”

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Google releases Galaxy Nexus ad showing off panorama mode

Google just dropped a new Galaxy Nexus advertisement on the device’s official YouTube page that carries on with the aesthetic of its original “Calling all” video, which featured a small snippet from the new ad. The new ad (above) shows off the device’s panorama mode as part of Android 4.0. We found the device to be half decent, but not great, in our review. Google dropped two other Galaxy Nexus ads last month, showing off Google+ Hangouts and Face Unlock. If you missed them, both ads are available after the break.

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Barnes & Noble reports record Nook Sales, looks to create spinoff and separate Nook division

Barnes & Noble reported record holiday sales today for its Nook business, including devices and digital content.

“During the nine-week holiday period ending Dec. 31, 2011, Nook unit sales, including Nook Simple Touch, Nook Color and the new Nook Tablet, increased 70 percent over the same period last year,” said the bookseller in a Jan. 5 statement. “Digital content sales also grew briskly during the same nine-week period, increasing 113 percent on a comparable basis.”

Content sales include digital books, digital newsstand, and the company’s apps business. The retailer of digital media and educational products is doing so well, as of lately, it is even considering a spinoff.

The company announced on Thursday it is embarking on a “strategic exploration” to separate the Nook division. The retailer also wants to report Nook-related sales as a separate business segment, and it is communicating with potential partners to expand the Nook’s presence abroad…

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AT&T expands 4G LTE network to eleven new markets including New York, Los Angeles, and San Fran

We reported last month that AT&T was beginning to roll out LTE to parts of Los Angeles and today the nationwide expansion continues with 11 new markets getting access to the carrier’s 4G LTE network. President and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions John Stankey announced at Citi’s 22nd Annual conference in San Francisco that the New York City metro area, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in addition to eight other markets now bring the total number markets with AT&T LTE access to 26. Stankey commented in a statement earlier today:

“We’re building a 4G LTE network that’s blazing fast, and we offer dual layers of 4G technologies to provide customers with a more consistent speed experience. Our network, together with our unsurpassed 4G device portfolio and innovative applications, will give our customers an industry-leading mobile broadband experience.”

The 11 new markets include: New York City metro area, Austin, Chapel Hill, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. This adds to the 15 markets previously with access, including:  Athens, Ga.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Oklahoma City; San Antonio; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Washington, D.C.

The devices AT&T currently offers that take advantage of the network include the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, HTC Vivid, Galaxy Tab 8.9, and a handful of other Android devices. Our tests in Los Angeles showed about 18mb/s up, 5mb/s down on the Galaxy S II Skyrocket.

The full press release is available after the break.
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Google looks to Marvell to lead its GoogleTV transition to ARM and 3D

Marvell could not quite wait for Consumer Electronics Show 2012 to spill the beans this on its huge GoogleTV win. The ARM-based processor company will have its Armada 1500 chipset at the heart of upcoming GoogleTV 2.0 solutions.

Most of the processor details are below, but the big news is that Google is going with low cost/low heat ARM processors for its next-generation set top boxes rather than Intel, who dropped out of the set top box market.  With Marvell, Google should be able to compete on price with Roku, AppleTV and the other players in the market, and more importantly, it should be able to persuade TV manufacturers to include the low cost chips into hardware designs.

Marvell boasts that the Armada 1500 does 1080P 3D, as well as Flash – even though Adobe’s long-term plans outside of the desktop market are murky at best.

It does not appear that Google will build its own devices (although, the image above makes for interesting conversation), but it will continue to OEM out Google software. In a statement, Mario Queiroz, VP, Product Management Google TV said: “The Google and Marvell teams have been working closely together to bring our combined software and chipset technologies to market to grow the Google TV ecosystem of manufacturers and devices. Marvell-powered Google TV solutions will enable powerful products to be brought to market at attractive prices.”

Eric Schmidt recently said Google hopes to have GoogleTV embedded in the majority of SmartTVs by the summer of 2012, so this is a very aggressive rollout plan.  We expect to hear much more at CES, where most consumer electronics companies release product plans for the upcoming year.

Another interesting tidbit: GoogleTV appears to be fully underneath its YouTube wing with media contacts listed for YouTube press people. The full press release is available below. Read more

AT&T to announce waterproof Pantech Element tablet at CES

BGR obtained leaked information about Pantech’s upcoming tablet that will land on AT&T, and it will be announced at Consumer Electronics Show 2012. The Pantech Element is very unique, because it is ‘waterproof for life.’ At least that is what AT&T’s documents said. Besides the fact it is waterproof, specifications for the Element include a 1.5GHz processor, an 8-inch touchscreen display, Android 3.2 (Honeycomb), 5-megapixel rear-camera with 1080p HD capture, 2-megapixel front-camera, advanced “Piezo Motor” haptic feedback, 4G LTE, and 16GB of internal storage.

Sadly, it does not seem like the Element can be submerged in water, rather it can just receive a small splash. BGR said the Pantech Element should land on AT&T Jan. 8 for $299 on two-year contract and $449 off contract.