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Summary:

Few major Android devices debuted at this month’s CES, but next month’s Mobile World Congress is looking up when it comes to hardware. And some old devices got new software this week.

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Samsung didn’t have any major new Android devices to show at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show, but it may make up for that at February’s Mobile World Congress event. Reported specifications for a Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet appeared on the web this week, which would give Samsung a product that competes directly against Apple’s iPad mini.

Depending on which Samsung processor is used — that information isn’t yet available or speculated — the cost of the eight-inch tablet could undercut Apple’s small slate. That would add appeal for cost-conscious shoppers. I also think the addition of Samsung’s S-Pen and supporting software are differentiators too; something I didn’t value greatly until I used the combination on my Galaxy Note 2.

Based on the limited, and unofficial, data so far, the Note 8.0 is expected to have a 1280 x 800 Super Clear LCD screen, 2 GB of memory, and be available in both Wi-Fi and 3G models. The device will reportedly run Android 4.2 with Samsung’s TouchWiz software interface.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1Other Samsung slates gained an Android update this week but not to version 4.2. Instead, the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 2 each received Android 4.1. The software is specific to the Wi-Fi models of the two tablets.

Both will get the performance boosts of Google’s Project Butter effort as well as improvements in the user interface and notifications. The larger of the two slates also gains Samsung’s Premium Suite, adding greater functionality for the S-Pen and multi-window support.

Among other leaks and expected devices at the MWC is LG’s Optimus Pro. A rendering and spec sheet for the device appeared on Engadget, showing a 5-inch Android Jelly Bean handset with 1080p display. Other hardware bits include a 13 megapixel rear camera, 2.4 megapixel front sensor, 2 GB of memory, 32 GB of storage and a 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chip for the LTE device.

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  1. Wow, love the specs of Optimus Pro.. Can’t wait to hold one actually.

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